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Hip-Hop Fridays: Industry and Street Notes...April 12, 2002


1 week later, industry execs, artists, radio DJs, well, "everyone" is still talking about Ashanti's almost unbelievable commercial impact, with the debut female artist scanning over 500,000 units of her album, "Ashanti", in its first week of release! But true to "Hip-Hop" form (she is styled as the "princess of Hip-Hop and R&B"), the second-week sales tally has fallen off, from what retailers tell us, possibly by as much as 60%. For the record, Tweet came in at 194,000 scans for her first week. That much-hyped R&B titanic battle between Tweet and Ashanti looked like Ali vs. Frazier, on paper, but ended up like Mike Tyson vs. Michael Spinks, in reality...

...We finally have a N.O.R.E. sighting. The more vocal half of Capone-N-Noreaga (CNN) is slated to ship his new Neptunes produced single, "Nothing" in mid-May. The album, Nore's first on Def Jam, is loaded with production from the Neptunes and Swizz Beats...

...Speaking of Swizz Beats, the Ruff Ryders' resident producer has teamed up with Lil' Kim on the new track "Delirious"...

..two magazines that have the streets and industry buzzing are, Felon, and F.E.D.S. Both magazines that focus more on the rarely-spoken of aspects of streetlife, are gaining popularity by the week, it seems. They both have new issues out. F.E.D.S. has Vol. 2 Issue 9 out with a cover story on the legendary underworld figure, Clarence "Preacher" Heatly and Felon Magazine http://www.felonmag.com/ has put out Issue #3 Spring 2002 with a cover shared by "Men of Respect" - Fat Joe, Irv Gotti, Gene Griffin, Jalil Mantaqim, Pee Wee, and Benzino. The feature interview with Irv Gotti is particularly interesting, as it captures Gotti's first-hand account of the circumstances surrounding his evolving friendship and business relationship with Suge Knight...

...Foxy Brown has eyebrows raised with her impressive freestyles, like the one she recently ripped on FunkMaster Flex's show on New York City's Hot 97. her new one, "Stylin'" is ample evidence that Foxy's last album, the critically acclaimed, Broken Silence, was not a fluke. She is currently in the studio working on her next album. At present there is no date on the release of the project, insiders tell us it probably will not be until next year...

...The drought is over. Just when it looked like D.J. Clue had left the mixtape business in an early retirement, he has come back with an impressive compilation, "Grand Theft Audio II". The highlight of the 22-track Desert Storm Mixtape is "B.Q.E." by AZ featuring NAS. It sounds alot like the classic Ghostface Killah and Raekwon efforts, with the back and forth between the two. In a way it is sad to see how AZ's career has gone as a result of his misfortunes at record labels over the years. As a result we have all been deprived of not only a brilliant, consistent solo career but great collaborations with Nas, like "B.Q.E." and "The Flyest" on Nas' Stillmatic. I (Cedric) remember a conversation that I had with Nas in the summer of 1994 when he expressed his disappointment over AZ's signing to EMI...

...Speaking of Nas, Nature has created a buzz with his witty response to Nas' dis of him in "Destroy and Build". The comeback, called, "Nas Is Not" is Nature at his best, metaphors, and play on words to boot. He uses several of Nas' beats in order to make his point...

...For a few weeks some people in the industry and on the streets have been wondering what Sauce Money was referring to with his recent mentioning of both Nas and Nature on a couple of freestyles that he dropped for D.J. Kay Slay. Well, the answer to that and more, can be found in the previously-mentioned Felon magazine in a previous issue that featured an interview with Nas. Here is the excerpt at http://www.felonmag.com/msg8.htm that may also get to the root of the tension between Nas and Jay-Z (we have edited the expletives only):

"Nas also recalls a recent conversation with Jay Z - It was about a year ago - at Steve Stout's party. We were kickin' it and he told me that he's better than Biggie now. I looked at him like he was crazy. Then, he started telling me how Memphis Bleek was a fan of mine and that I shouldn't go at him. He predicted that Beanie Siegel would never sell more than 600,000 copies. He said that Source Money was to him what Nature was to me. Then, he really got crazy. He said that Tupac and DMX were not lyricists - they just had the hungry, starving street niggas coppin' their sh-- but me and him had all the money niggas buying ours. I told him that I disagreed with him - that Tupac was the greatest ever -period, and that DMX really brought that street sh-- back into the game. Then, this slithering snake goes and does that Summer Jam bull----...

...DJ Clue's premier artist, Fabolous, will be headlining the fifth annual College Hip-Hop Fest this Saturday (April 13) at Paramount's Kings Dominion amusement park in Doswell, Virginia. Fabolous is shining these days with his collaboration with Bathgate, " Just Don't Stop"...

...One of Hip-Hop's favorite R&B/soul artists, Musiq's single "Halfcrazy" is over 2,100 BDS spins/26 million audience and climbing nicely. His video for "halfcrazy" is MTV Buzzworthy.
He tapes the Carson Daly show on 4/13 and Soul Train on 4/20. Musiq embarks nationally on a live, small-venue performance tour on 5/1 at
New York's B.B. Kings. We spoke to Musiq in an exclusive interview that will run soon at http://www.blackelectorate.com/. Stay tuned...


Cedric Muhammad and John Chambers

Friday, April 12, 2002

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