Nas Calls For Unity In Hip-Hop: Mixtape Monday

Plus: Saigon, Statik Selektah make album in a day; Crooked I gets serious.

Artist: Saigon and Statik Selektah

Representing: The Yard

Independent Album: All in a Day's Work

411: Twenty-four hours to live? Nah, 24 hours to create. The musical vibe between Statik Selektah and Saigon was so potent, they made an entire album in one day — the aptly titled All in a Day's Work.

"This ain't my real album that everybody is waiting for," Sai clarified, distinguishing this project from his long-awaited Just Blaze-produced project, Greatest Story Never Told. "This is just a project I did with a up-and-coming dude, Statik Selektah. I know a lot of people heard of him. He's from the Bean. We came in to do a song for 'Grand Theft Auto.' We just vibed and clicked. Next thing you know, we had six, seven songs done.

"First I was like, 'Let's do an EP,' " Sai continued. "Then we got up to eight songs. I was like, 'Two more, you've got an album.' This is the first time somebody has put together an album in a day and put it out in a week.  It was top three on the hip-hop charts on iTunes. We put it out all digital. I'm trying to get people accustomed to buying my music digitally ahead of time. I got ratings higher than dudes with real albums."

Saigon said that for the most part, he wrote the songs right there on the spot, but for a couple of records he got his Dr. Frankenstein on, taking a verse he already had in his book and piecing it together with another one he had lying around.

"What really inspired me with Statik was that East Coast feel that's been gone away for long," Gon told. "He brought me back to the hip-hop that I grew up on — that whole Wu-Tang era, the slow samples, the sped-up samples. Everything started flowing from there."

Saigon's album with Just Blaze still doesn't have a label, but the two are still working. "We just keep upgrading and upgrading," he said. "We're trying to keep it up to par. I don't have a home for it because hip-hop is going through a transitional phase. I put a lot of work into it, so I just don't want to throw it out there and it don't get the support it deserves. I'm just waiting, that's why I did All in a Day's Work."

Saigon's next mixtape, Warning Shots 2, is due in July.

Joints To Check For:

» "Lady Sings the Blues."  "I liked the sample," Saigon said about the track. "It sounded like she was sad. I took away from the sadness and added my element to it. I think the record came out hot. The worst thing I did to a woman to make her sing the blues was I f---ed my girlfriend's aunt. The aunt was young, the aunt was poppin.' My girl was saying, 'My aunt wants to meet you. She's a fan.' I was expecting it to be a regular aunt. The aunt is usually older.  I met her aunt, she was hot. The aunt threw me the wink, I slipped her the number. It went down from there. I confessed [to my] girl. I can't lie too good. I'm a bad liar.

"I said, 'I'm gonna do a few tracks for the ladies [on this album],' " he added. "I did a breakup song called 'Lose Her.' If you don't want your girl no more, just lose her. Get rid of her. Just play the song for her and she'll get the message."

» "The Rules." "We snatched up the sample from [[artist id="1043"]Busta Rhymes'[/artist]] 'Woo Hah!! [Got You All in Check]' on there," Sai explained.  "It's talking about nowadays in hip-hop, you don't have to pay no dues to shine. Like I said, a lot of dudes come in on other dudes' backs and they get thrown right in the spotlight. When we came up, you had to grind. Even if you knew somebody, you had to prove yourself as being dope. You couldn't come out with one dope verse and people say, 'He's that next dude.' My number one rule when it comes to life is probably treat people how you want to be treated. Respect everybody, try your best to be positive and righteous."

» "The Reason." "I'm talking about how the game flipped over from it being about talent to guys just chasing the ladies," the Yardfather said. "I think hip-hop is reflective of life. It used to be a time when females used to try and follow what we did. Now it's like vice versa. When dudes go in the studio, they're thinking, 'What are the girls gonna like?' Even to the point where men are wearing purses and tight pants. Like we're almost morphing into females. I feel sorry for the generation after us. I know it's stylish and all that, but where are the warriors? Where's the next generation of young strong men? We're gonna miss that if we don't keep it the way it's supposed to be."

Don't Sleep: Other Notable Selections This Week

» Maury Povich - I Am Not The Baby's Daddy

» Rich Boy - Pacc Man

» Lil Wayne & Juelz Santana - My Face Can't Be Felt

» LA the Darkman & Willie the Kid - Certified Hustler

» DJ Koolaid & B.B.E. - Street Radio Vol. 10 Welcome 2 SwaggaVille 2009

'Hood's Heavy Rotation: Bubbling Below The Radar

» [artist id="1163822"]Jadakiss[/artist] featuring Styles P. - "One More Step"

» [artist id="2815934"]Shawty Lo[/artist] featuring [artist id="1938028"]Gucci Mane[/artist]  - "Put Em Up"

» [artist id="502126"]N.O.R.E.[/artist] featuring [artist id="1244867"]Nina Sky[/artist] - "Shoulders Move"

» [artist id="2000082"]Rick Ross[/artist] featuring [artist id="1230523"]Kanye West[/artist] and [artist id="1225081"]T-Pain[/artist]  - "Maybach Music 2"

» [artist id="3061469"]Lady Gaga[/artist] featuring [artist id="1746755"]Chamillionaire[/artist] - "Poker Face" (unofficial remix)

» [artist id="1236911"]Beyonce[/artist] featuring and Kanye West - "Ego" remix

The Streets Is Talking: News & Notes From The Underground

Nas!!! Rocking that Mets gear, repping for Queens. Esco is about to go on tour and put out an album with Damian "Jr. Gong" Marley called Distant Relatives in June. Meanwhile, the QB rap legend is sounding masterful on guest appearances such as Rick Ross' "Usual Suspects" and Jadakiss' "What If."

On the Jadakiss record, Nas raps, "What if I was just another corny rapper?/ What if I went first instead of Notorious?/ Who would tell my story after?" It's both a morbid and provocative question. We asked [artist id="1000"]Nas[/artist] to answer it himself.

"You never know [who would talk about my legacy]," he said in L.A. during the Rock the Bells press conference. "That's why we make a song like that."

Nas also said that he and Marley picked their album title because "we're all related. We're all in the human family. We gotta act like family sometimes. It's good to acknowledge your family. It's a crazy world out here. Sometimes it gets separated, it gets segregated. We gotta remember what this is about." ...

After coming within an eye-blink of death, Crooked I says he has renewed sense of urgency to put out music, and the material has to have deep messages. So much so, it seems plans for the group LP featuring Crooked, Glasses Malone and Bishop Lamont have been put on hold.

"We were going to do that," Crooked recently told MTV News of the project. "There are some things going on with that right now."

The project, named No Country for Old Men, was supposed to take aim at some West Coast legends whom the trio felt were trying to thwart the rise of up-and-coming talent such as themselves.

"You've got people like [artist id="9619"]Ice Cube[/artist], [artist id="1133"]Snoop Dogg[/artist], [artist id="1061"]Dr. Dre[/artist]. You've got all these people on the West Coast," he began to explain. "The 'Men' stands for 'mentality': No country for this old mentality. We don't want to deal with this mentality that says we can't like each other, we can't unify. That's why I like the South, because the South unites.

"Whether they feel each other or not, I see them on the video together. I see them on songs together. I see huge stars reaching back into the community of newcomers and pulling them up. You don't see that on the West Coast. It's because of the Crip and Blood mentality.  Growing up with the gangbanger mentality, I cannot like you and never had met you. You live over here and I don't like you. It's easy to bring that mentality into the industry. They're like, 'I'm not messing with that dude.' Why don't you? It would help your business. We look at the O.G.s in the industry like you laid down the foundation, now we're left here stranded and we don't have no country."

"There's a lot of blocking that was going on," Crooked said of some elder West Coast MCs. "The new West movement was fed up. We're trying to wake them up."

Despite the sour feelings, Crooked said that after assailants tried to shoot him a couple of weeks ago, he wants to go in a completely different direction.

"After this stuff, man, I've been really thinking. That [album is] cool. That's something that needs to be said. But right now ... I've been in these [life-threatening] situations before. Last time I was in this situation, my brother got shot. You can only cheat death but so many times.  Old people say you get three signs and you're outta here. I'm working on my fourth or fifth sign. I'm like, 'If I die tomorrow, I'm gonna say some real things today.'

"My focus now is if Ice Cube, Snoop, Dre, none of them dudes wanna reach down and help the new dudes, that's fine. Maybe I'll call them and have a healthy conversation about it and move on. I'm not in that zone no more. I want to leave a body of work behind that matches a Biggie or Pac. God is good. If I would have laid on that pavement and stayed there — no disrespect because I love Bishop and Glasses — but all I would have is No Country as my most recent body of work. I can't go out like that right now. Right now I need to focus on something that's gonna be around forever."

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