Mixtape Mondays: DJ Green Lantern, Dame Dash, Talib Kweli

Em's DJ teams up with Busta Rhymes, Jadakiss, Young Gunz.

Artist: DJ Green Lantern & Dame Dash

Mixtape: Countdown to Armageddon Part 2: Back to the Lab

Representing: The Lab, of course (Rochester, New York, if you really must know)

The 411: The DJ with the name that's synonymous with the color of money is keeping cats aware that his Armageddon LP, due in September, is coming down the pike. Once again he has an all-star cast of MCs, including Busta Rhymes, Jadakiss and Young Gunz, to provide freestyles and new songs. This time, however, he also brought along the millionaire with a penchant for tooting his own horn, Dame "Captain Cakeaholic" Dash. Among the new batch of epiphanies Dame unveils on the CD is that he wants to be called the chairman of the board instead of CEO, and that he's out to make $250 billion — Mwuuuuh-hahahaha!

Joints To Check For:

  • "Watch the Hit" by DJ Green Lantern featuring Notorious B.I.G. and Styles P - Listening to old Biggie verses is both a gift and a curse. A gift, because he was so gifted that lyrics he recorded close to a decade ago still sound so innovative and slicing you'd swear he laid them down yesterday. But after hearing the late, great Christopher Wallace speak his peace, we're reminded that, as fans, we are forever cursed to never hear how advanced he would be today.
  • "American Psycho" by D12 featuring B Real - Eminem and his crew of head cases rhyme about what they know best: being crazy. How fitting that they use the man who sang about being "insane in the membrane" on the hook while hip-hop's best producer, Dr. Dre, provides the beat.
  • "Where I'm From" by Jay-Z featuring Beanie Sigel - Green is so sick here: The DJ puts Jay-Z's lyrics from the original "Where I'm From" with a freestyle verse from Beanie Sigel over the beat from Anthony Hamilton's "Coming From Where I'm From," and then he blends in vocals from 50 Cent. Don't get too caught up in Green's skills and overlook Beanie's lyrics about being in jail — so surreal.

Don't Sleep: Other Notable Selections This Week

  • Talib Kweli's Beautiful Mixtape (see below)
  • DJ Whoo Kid's G-Unit Radio: Motion Picture Sh-- and Spring Bling
  • Cutmaster C's 60-Minute Shootout Part 2
  • DJ Finesse's R&B Takeover 2K4

'Hood's Heavy Rotation: Bubbling Below The Radar

  • 213 - "Dolla Dolla Bill Y'all"
  • Cam'ron featuring Jaheim - "Lord Knows"
  • Nina Sky - "Move Ya Body"
  • Shawnna featuring Ludacris - "Shake That Sh--"
  • Ja Rule featuring Lexy - "Caught Up"

The Streets Is Talking: News & Notes From The Underground

Talib Kweli is slowly but surely stepping out of the box that some people have put him in, proving that he can rep for the streets. He is one righteous soul brother, a deep thinker — and yes, he's always going to stay true to his underground roots — but the BK native has much more to offer.

"That's how dangerous the perception is, because I'm an educated person," he says about how people have labeled him. "I love hip-hop. I do this for a living. But still, I can fall victim to the misconception from paying attention to media. I have to be smarter than that, and I have to challenge my audience to be smarter than that."

Please allow him to reintroduce himself. Perhaps a listen to Talib's upcoming Beautiful Mixtape (out this week) will help people free their minds. Not only does Kweli rock with members of the backpacking society like Jean Grae, Kanye West, Common and Black Thought, but he branches out and wrecks shop with such notables as Fabolous, G-Unit's Game, Styles from the LOX and the "Super Freak" himself: "Bitches, this is Rick James ... the real Rick James!" an indignant voice says as the CD opens. "One of the baddest mutha-----s you've ever seen. ... It's a celebration!"

Turns out the "real Rick James" is actually Dave Chappelle reprising his now legendary impression of the funk singer, but it also turns out that having the star of "Chappelle's Show" is actually funnier than having the actual R.J. — Cooollld bloodaaaaad!

Talib is still working on his upcoming official release, Beautiful Struggle, due June 22 (see "Talib Kweli Lets Music, Not Words, Drive His Beautiful Struggle"). Due to an early leak, Kweli had to head back to the studio and devise some new material for the opus. Next week, Talib and his guest Mary J. Blige will shoot a video for the album's first single, "I Try," in New York.

For other artists featured in Mixtape Mondays, check out Mixtape Mondays Headlines.

For a full-length feature on the role of mixtapes in the music industry, check out "Mixtapes: The Other Music Industry."