Name: Derrty Entertainment
Mixtape: Derrty Entertainment Presents J-Midwest Rocka Volume 1
Hometown: St. Louis
Joints to check for: "Godzella-n-Da Trunk" by King Jacob; "Think About It" by the St. Lunatics; "If I" by Brandy featuring Shaheed Tha Poster Boy; and "Look So Good" by Mya
Previous mixtapes: N/A
The 411: It took a minute, but the mixtape scene is finally hitting the Midwest in a big way. Chicago DJ Mike Love has been hitting the streets consistently with his compilations, and now none other than St. Louis' Nelly wants in on the game. The MC's Derrty Entertainment has put out its first mixtape in conjunction with record spinner J-Nicks.
Rather than clamoring for music by the same old mixtape staples like 50 Cent, D-Block and the Diplomats, Nelly and company take time to showcase music from their own camp, up-and-coming talent, and tunes by some of their peers.
The main objective seems to be starting a buzz for St. Lunatic Murphy Lee, who's working on a solo debut. Nelly's young mic accomplice is featured throughout the CD, first on "3 of Those." On the bass-infused track "The School Boy," Lee rhymes about meeting women in the club and having a night of wild romps.
The libidinous lyrics are scrapped in favor of rougher b-boy bragging on the St. Lunatic group collaboration "Think About." Instead of Midwest funk, the collective vies for the down South thump of beat all-star Jermaine Dupri.
Nelly uncharacteristically drops the charm and Derrty comes dirty rapping his lyrical foes
"You n---as so, so weak/ I'm on a So So beat/ Expert 'cause my pockets so, so deep," Nelly declares. "Slappin' n---as with my right, my left, my straight hand/ Second album came dissing these n---as like [Michael] Strahan."
The work of another production heavyweight is heard via Mya's "Look So Good." The singer finds herself in a nasty little jam — she's in a relationship with a guy who treats her so poorly that she seeks psychiatric help, but the crooner doesn't want to break up because her man is too sexy. "One day I'm gonna wake up and find the strength to leave your ass behind/ ... I know you never gonna treat me right," she sings.
Murphy Lee said the Lunatics aren't going to let up from the mixtape craze. Now that they have finally caught on to what other parts of the country have been indulging in, there are plenty more CDs from their squad in the works.
Mike Love also adds to the Midwest mixtape flavor this week with Outlaw, hosted by 50 Cent.
Name: DJ Storm
Mixtape: World War 3
Hometown: Staten Island, New York
Joints to check for: "He's a Rebel" by Inspectah Deck; "How Many" by Icarus; "Our House" by Cappadonna featuring Lounger Lo and Solomon Childs
Previous mixtapes: The Verrazano Villain, The Verrazano Villain Returns and Double Homicide.
The 411: Talk about gangsta — yes, that is Wu-Tang's Cappadonna singing along with a sample of Crosby, Stills & Nash's "Our House": "Our house is a very, very fine house/ With two cats in the yard/ Life used to be so hard." Don't get twisted, though — Cap never had a yard, he grew up in the projects. After a long hiatus, the unpredictable swordsman pops back up to detail the struggle he had growing up. His mother did drugs, he and siblings were forced to steal from the neighborhood supermarket, and their house was so infested with roaches that the insects would make their way into the family's boxes of cereal.
As we heard on the Wu's "C.R.E.A.M.," his cohort Inspectah Deck didn't grow up too much easier. Life as an adult isn't exactly all roses, either. On "Big City," he comments on the hardship of the urban jungle: "We pray for a better day/ Glocks and Berettas spray/ Every day, 'How did I survive yesterday?/ I can't call it/ Cops shot the alcoholic," and that's just in the first few bars.
Living in Staten Island seems to have helped Storm create his own niche. He's cornered the market on music coming out of that borough from both upstarts and of course the legendary Clan from Shaolin, who put their 'hood on the map.
For a full-length feature on mixtape culture and the role of mixtapes in making a rapper's career, check out "Mixtapes: The Other Music Industry."
For other artists featured in Mixtape Mondays, check out Mixtape Mondays Headlines.