Artist: Clinton Sparks
Mixtape: White Chicks Like Mixtapes Too
The 411: "Spider-Man 2" and "Shrek 2" may be the summer's biggest blockbusters, but the "White Chicks" are killing them in the category of street cred. Marlon and Shawn Wayans are the hosts, and if you thought they were raunchy hosting the VMAs a few years back, listen up here.
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Reggae wild man Elephant Man, who just completed a new track with Will Smith and is gearing up to shoot a video for an "All Night" remix with Janet Jackson, says he loves to be loved. "My favorite mixtape DJ is Mister Cee because he plays a lot of Elephant Man, he keeps it down to earth. He doesn't forget where it's coming from and he's hardcore. Mister Cee, keep on doing what you're doing. Keep it jiggy, good to go!"
The Streets Is Talking: News & Notes From The Underground
Akon is no dummy. As a singer, touching the streets isn't always the easiest thing to do, especially if nobody has heard of you, so Akon called one of the most street-credible MCs for a little help: Styles P.
"My secret weapon," Akon said of the guest star on the remix of his 'hood favorite, "Locked Up." "I already knew if I could get Styles P. on this record, being that he just got locked up the same way I did, it'll be a wrap. ... He'd heard the record and he already loved the record, so it was just a matter of finding each other. He was looking for me and I was looking for him, so it was meant to happen."
Although Styles shared Akon's vision, the singer's own record label, SRC, wasn't necessarily the cut's loudest cheerleader initially. "Man, we been telling them [about 'Locked Up'] forever," Akon said. "They just didn't want to listen, so we went to the streets to do it ourselves. I said, 'Let's contact every mixtape dude in the city, every mixtape dude in every city surrounding [New York].' We just kept doing that until we went to Florida. Then we took a flight to L.A. and did the same thing there. Once the street buzz came, DJs just started playing it in the club. After that, the radio picked it up, then the label got behind it and it was a wrap."
Akon also pushed his song with an unconventional tour. "We did a penitentiary tour because I was trying to get the bottom of the streets," he explained. "I've been there, I know how these cats think in there, because these are the cats that's really living it."
Living that life cost Akon a couple of years of his life and more than $500,000 in legal fees, but he did have one thing going for him when he got out of jail: his bloodline. Akon happens to be a cousin of choreographer Divine Stevens (Usher, P. Diddy). Seeing that Akon wasn't pursing his singing career with enough drive, Stevens broke into Akon's studio, stole some of his records and began shopping Akon's demo. He eventually caught the ear of SRC CEO Steve Rifkind.
"He flew down to Atlanta to the crib," Akon recalled. " I didn't even know who Steve Rifkind was. So I'm looking out my window like, 'Yo, who's at my door?' We're right in the middle of the 'hood and all I saw was two white guys in black suits and another guy in plain clothes. So I'm thinking the feds are coming to question me about something that they might have overlooked."
Akon's Trouble was released June 29.
For other artists featured in Mixtape Mondays, check out Mixtape Mondays Headlines.
For more on the role of mixtapes in the music industry, check out the feature [article id="1474726"]"Mixtapes: The Other Music Industry."[/article]