T.I. Producing Tracks For Rick Ross' Next LP; Tha Dogg Pound Get Gangsta 'Grizz-ills,' In Mixtape Monday

Plus: The Kidz in the Hall aren't old-school, but they like their '90s rap.

Artists: Tha Dogg Pound

Representing: LBC and the whole West Coast

Mixtape: Gangsta Grillz: Dogg Pound Edition

411: He wouldn't be DJ Drama if he took breaks. Mr. Thanksgiving's latest Gangsta Grillz is not the G-Unit jump-off, but one from another legendary crew, Tha Dogg Pound. Snoop, Daz Dillinger and Kurupt are gearing up to mash through the second half of 2008.

"It's Dogg Pound Gangsta Grizz-ills that we're doing with my boy Drama," Kurupt said, sitting in Snoop's L.A. offices. "We put it together real proper. Me and Daz just got in the studio and started smashing out on some of the records that we liked. Really a lot from the new records that came out [and] records from a couple years ago. Me and Daz were just talking about it. We went and got Drama. So, you know, we're just really trying to touch on a certain circuit here to show 'em that Tha Dogg Pound, we're still fire, ya heard?"

"Working with DPG was the truth," said Drama, who's also working on mixtapes for Snoop Dogg and DPG affiliate Terrence Martin. "[They're] pure veterans in the game! I grew up watching Kurupt, Daz and Snoop destroy the game so it was an honor to have them part of the legendary Gangsta Grillz brand. It's about time the series came to the West."

"Feds can't stop this!" Daz offered. "I learned a lot from Jermaine Dupri. He does a lot of the mixtapes. Me, I'm an observer. I take the formula, switch it up, crumble it, make it my way, ship it to the next person."

The DPGC's next LP, 100 Wayz, is coming out later this year. Swizz Beatz, Krayzie Bone, Hi-Tek and Daz's 10-year-old daughter, Dazmine, all contributed to it.

"We've got another album, West Coast Aftershock, that's just hard-core," Daz said. "You know, we just keep dropping albums. We might make songs, we might make 12 or 13 albums' worth of songs. It's just hard trying to put them together. You got to make album-cover pictures. ... Digitally, I'll be dropping records. I got a digital distribution company for all young artists, so y'all just hit me up on the computer. Y'all know what time it is. I'll be in your city cooking grits and eating bacon."

Kurupt is also planning a solo LP called N----race Presents: Kurupt the Kingpin, which will be executive-produced by Snoop Dogg, Teddy Riley and DJ Quik. Kurupt co-stars in the independent film "Vice," starring Daryl Hannah and Michael Madsen, which just premiered in Hollywood. Meanwhile, Daz is producing a straight-to-DVD film called "Make It Rain," as well as putting a soundtrack out with it.

Joints To Check For

» "D.O. Double G. P.O.U.N.D." "That was real groovy," Daz said about using Shawty Lo's "Dey Know" instrumental. "That's banging."

"That's basically what it's like," Kurupt added. "How we flip the whole course on him, and then just went real fly. Daz is real fly on those South beats, so I just follow his lead."

» "I Don't Care." "That be knocking on some hard-core MC bass, produced by yours truly," Daz said. "I took it back to the old-school hip-hop. It was just marinating, going to the crates and taking it back to hip-hop. Shout out to MC Lyte and Audio Two for the sample. Giving back to hip-hop."

» "My Hood" with Capone-N-Noreaga and the Clipse. "It's the first real CNN and Dogg Pound record," Kurupt said. "It's for Nore and Capone's album, so they let us give a little feature on there, give a little piece of it. Dogg Pound, CNN and the Clipse, wow! You did that, Nore, you heard me! What! What!"

'Hood's Heavy Rotation: Bubbling Below The Radar

» LL Cool J (featuring Lil' Mo) - "I Cry"

» Plies (featuring Janet Jackson and Ne-Yo) - "Bust It Baby (Part 3)"

» Plies (featuring Jamie Foxx and The-Dream) - "Please Excuse My Hands"

» Nas - "N.I.G.G.E.R. (The Slave and the Master)"

» Robin Thicke - "Magic"

» John Legend (featuring Andre 3000) - "Green Light"

» V.I.C. (featuring Big Kuntry, Polow Da Don, Jermaine Dupri, Bun B, E-40, DJ Unk and Pitbull) - "Get Silly" remix

Celebrity Faves

With groups like the Cool Kids, Pacific Division and even teen favorite Teyana Taylor gaining buzz for their retro style, there's been a '90s hip-hop revival going on lately. While the Kidz in the Hall are flattered by the comparison, they don't necessarily like the label.

"That's kind of where we were influenced to start our own progression into this art form, but the reality is, what we're trying to do is make music for the year 3000," Naledge, one half of the group, told Mixtape Monday.

A couple of weeks ago, Ledge and his partner, Double-O, talked to us about some of their specific influences, such as Gang Starr and Pete Rock & CL Smooth. The Chi-Town twosome, who just dropped their LP The In Crowd, walked us through J&R Music World, rummaging through CD bins, showing off the classics they hold dear to their hearts.

"I grew up on this," Naledge said, holding Common's Resurrection. "This was, like, the album that made me start rapping." They also cited Nas' Illmatic and A Tribe Called Quest's The Low End Theory, which is referenced in their single, "Drivin' Down the Block."

Despite their reverence for early-'90s hip-hop (and let's be serious here, who doesn't love early-'90s hip-hop?), they said they want to make their own mark.

"If a baby starts walking, it might be learning the first few step from watching its father, but at some point in time it's going to have a different step than its mother and father," said Naledge. "After a while, you've got to kind of branch out and do things on your own."

Don't Sleep: Other Notable Selections This Week

» DJ Spinatik and Blood Raw - Street Runnaz: The Hood Edition

» DJ Premier - Rare Play Volume One

» DJ Famous - Bang Bang Boogie Vol .1: The Machine

» DJ L-Gee and DJ Lo - Mary J. Blige: Americas Favorite Singer, Part 1

The Streets Is Talking: News & Notes From The Underground

Speedboats are whizzing through the water in this upper-upscale Atlanta community, but their passengers have to acknowledge the King of the South. Passersby yell, "Heeeeeeeeyyyyyy!" or "T.I., what's up?" as they spot Tip, sitting on his deck overlooking the lake by his house. And you thought T.I. would be the noisy neighbor, not the other way around.

"T.I. ain't making no noise," the calm King said with a smile.

T.I. gave us a preview of some of the tracks from his Paper Trail album last week, and without exaggeration, we can tell you the material was excellent. The project really has the potential to be his best since Urban Legend. Look out for a heater he has called "I'm Illy."

Last week, while Tip was celebrating the birth of his sixth son, Major, his nemesis Shawty Lo was getting at him on the Internet. Shawty showed the world Tip's high school picture from what he claimed to be a place of learning outside of Bankhead, Georgia. But the CEO of Grand Hustle Entertainment continues to laugh off L.O.'s jabs.

"I never looked to gain acknowledgement or recognition by mentioning another person's name," he said, explaining that he sees his and Lo's career paths as being totally different. "If it was an issue between me and another person, it was an issue between me and another person. It wasn't a publicity stunt or marketing tool."

Tip reiterated that a back and forth with another rapper is the last thing on his list of priorities.

"That's nowhere near my train of thought right now," he explained. "Back when that was my train of thought, we didn't have those problems. Since it's well known that that's not what I'm on right now, then it's easy to make those comments or take that approach."

When asked if he considered Shawty competition, Tip laughed loudly.

"I'm sorry," he said. "Compa-who? Man, that was funny! Nah, man. [Lo going at me], it's a cry for attention, dog. At the end of the day, Units in the City in stores right now! Go get it! That's what's that's for. I never felt I was in a position where if this person don't mention my name, I will just die. I went for mine and made people say my name. That's the separation [between me and him]."

Tip is also distancing himself from a lot of other MCs by fostering his talent for making beats. He's been in the lab lately making tracks for the Bawwwssse.

"I was in the Grand Hustle studio. We sat down. [Tip] told me he wanted to produce five records for me," Rick Ross said of his work on his next LP, Deeper Than Rap (due at the end of 2008). "I was like, 'Wow. It's all good.' We sat down, and he played some beats for me. It was one of those special moments, 'cause I got so much respect for him as an artist, as a lyricist, as a CEO. Now he reeled me in as a producer. Real talk. I'm not saying he's gonna sell them [beats] to everybody, but he laced me."

T.I. is humble about his turn as Track Master. "It's absolutely an honor and a pleasure people would even consider allowing me to produce for them," he said. "I take it very seriously. I enjoy it a lot. It brings me outside my comfort zone. It makes me sharper. With rapping, I feel I can do anything. With producing, I'm real meticulous."

Tip and his co-producers like to sit down with his collaborators in the studio, rather than just sending beat CDs. He might also throw a hook on an instrumental as well.

"It kinda depends on the artist," he said of his sound. "We can get real pretty, real clean. I think most of our music, they say, sounds like it has real broad sound to it. When you hear 'T.I.'s making a beat,' and you hear what I do, you don't really get what you're expecting. You don't get the trap music. For some reason, we concentrate real hard on that. The things we do, it sounds like somebody who's been doing music for a minute is supposed to be on there. Not everybody can just pull off the things I do."

Tip has just added onto his Grand Hustle roster with upcoming MCs Young L.A. (Tip and Dro appear on L.A.'s new record "Ain't I") and B.O.B., whom we all know from "Haters" (we see you, T.J.!).

Meanwhile, Rick Ross is getting his Maybach Music Group in line. He has singer Masspike Miles, as well as his group Triple C. He and the Birdman are recording their duet LP, H, and the Boss has a brand-new mixtape called The Victory Lap out right now. (Also, he's been watching people tangle with wild animals on video shoots.)

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