The Greatest Mixtape...

"Show Me The Money"
DJ Clue - 1997
My take on the greatest mixtapes ever made...

You can never predict history. The first time I was ever featured on a mixtape, it was this DJ Clue tape. It was 1997, "The Glory Years", the #KeepItReal era. I was barely legal enough to cop a beer, running the streets figuring out where the fuck my life is going. Remember, this was a time when if you were coming up in the rap game, the ONLY way you were heard was on a mixtape. You couldn't record a song, shoot a video, and put it on YouTube yourself. It was all about getting accepted by a DJ, and them dropping it on their tape. If Clue put your joint on his tape, you made it. Bottom line. There were no payoffs, no nothing, it was talent OVER everything. See, when you were accepted by the streets, you earned your respect, and mix tapes were the streets. Clue used to come looking for us for joints. He was grinding the same way we were.

I was living with Styles P and my crew in a hood ass apartment in Yonkers. I couldn't even explain what went on there, but I'll tell you one thing, a lot of legendary verses were written in 142 Woodworth Avenue. (Benjamins, Money Power Respect, Ni88as Done Started Something, just to name a few). Kiss lived down the block, so he would be there on the reg. Ma$e frequented the crib a few times a week, this was when the Bad Boy family was bubbling heavy. Foxy came through, with the same outfit she had on in one of her videos. I'll never forget that big ass hat she had on. All the little rug-rat kids from our block rushing her as she got into a cab. We had BIG's mob hat chilling in the crib, (I don't know how it got there, ask Kasino, he's the one who brought it home), Puff's Versace shirt (which I have on in pic below). 


This one night I'll never forget. Styles and Kiss didn't want to go to the studio, Puff had them there recording every night, so they just wanted to just chill at home and relax. A (212) number kept calling the crib, that was Daddy's House number (Puff's music studio). So they were like, "Geno, answer the phone and say we're not here." I'm like cool. I'm thinking one of Puff's assistant's would be calling the crib, or maybe Dee or Wahh from Double R, but when I answered the phone I heard two cute voices on the other end. One I knew was Lil' Kim, you can't misplace that voice. The other I couldn't figure out. So the one who I didn't know asked if Styles or Kiss were there, I said "Na they aren't here." The female on the other end was like, "Well, tell him we are looking for them to work on a song tonight." I said, "Ok cool, who's this?" She said, "It's Aaliyah, tell them we called please." I hung up, bugging out that these two cats are ducking Aaliyah and Lil' Kim. I will never forget that shit!

I have hundreds of stories from that era, when my book drops next year, all of them will be told. DJ Clue's Show Me The Money Part 1 was one the most legendary mixtapes ever. In my opinion, as well as many others, it's the top of the food chain. Clue set the standard high, he had all the new music before any DJ did. The freestyles from artists were made specifically for him. I will always feel like it was a great accomplishment to have two songs on this jewel. Every artist on this mixtape was more or less from NY. I'm going to break down each song with some insight, analysis, and some of the best bars. Enjoy!

Side 1 - (yes there was a side 1, and it was called "For Da Niggaz Side", and yes this was originally released on cassette)

Show Me The Money Intro - Starts off with Clue checking his voicemail. Listen to it closely, it was when you had a to put a code in to listen. Jay-Z leaves a message saying to send a few mixtapes down to the hotel. He was down in Jamaica shooting the "Feeling It" video. Jay had a couple classic freestyles on this tape as well.

"Chest to Chest" Freestyle - LOX - (original beat was Showbiz & AG "Next Level") - Produced by Premo - I still feel this is one of the best LOX songs ever done. They spit so hard, was pure magic.

Best bars: Kiss - "You ain't got chips, fuck the world, you got chips, you can fuck the next mans girl." "No diploma, weed aroma, ni88a half coma." "Y'all ain't ate shit till y'all taste the life, had my Mom screaming Jay don't waste ya life." "Lace ya Nike's, you see narcs jet, I'll meet you in the mornin' in the park doing sets." Styles P - "I'm the crack in ya tape deck, I'm the burner on ya waist that a get the place wet, I'm the money in the safe that a get the case dead, I'm the jewels on ya neck that a make dime bitches give head, I'm the blunt 3 in the morning that you take to the head, I'm the car that you snatched when you first got bread, I'm the spot that you got when you running from the Feds, I'm that heart of the page of that book that you read, I'm the ground that absorbed all the shit that y'all bled." (Serious bars,smh). Sheek - "Respect come not from techs, it come from ni88as who write checks, to get y'all little ni88as outta big debts." "Scared to move, leaning like you looking for change, but no dollars down there it's that sack fuckin wit you." "This year I need 97 gats, 97 cars, this year I need to fuck 97 stars."

"Top of Queensbridge" Freestyle - Nature - (original beat was CNN's "T.O.N.Y") - Jungle talking on the intro. Nature killed this. Delivery and bars were top of the class back then. Me and Nature ended up recording a joint soon after this tape dropped. Our managers at that time were fam, so I made numerous trips to QB. Met the founder of the "thun" language. Also was introduced to who as Nate and Killer put it,  "The best b-ball player to ever come out of QB". Guess they were right: back pack, skully, dribbling a ball, mad focused. This would be Ron Artest, AKA Metta World Peace. Most of all I can't forget driving into QB for the first time in my life, seeing a kid with a hoody, chilling mad hard by the entrance grilling us heavy. I asked Killer who was that, he said, "Oh, that was Mega, he be there all day." I was like this kid is hard for the streets. Can't lie, Mega raps what he lived.

Best bars: Nature came in with this classic line, "41-06 to this, thought it was hopeless, motionless, focus on ways to escape the vultures." "Chauvinistic, never too old to hold a biscuit, I watched the livest fold with the quickness." "Only greed can change a grown man, can make ya change ya style, flip on ya own fam." "The Firm clique, you don't know, you better learn quick, we bubblin', while ni88as sniff coke and vote republican."

Hypnotize - BIG - Produced by: Derric "D-Dot" Angelettie  - (Clue had this song before anyone, any DJ, any radio cat, anyone). I never forget I was chilling in the crib a few weeks before Clue dropped this on his tape and my boy Kasino had a rough version of the song. Styles, him, and I must have played it over 30 times straight, just analyzing every line. I'll always remember BIG's smile in the video and Puff driving backwards while BIG was rapping. Takes me back to a classic time in HipHop. Frank White.

Best bars: We can basically put the whole song in here but I will pick a few that I love. "Pink gators, my Detroit players, Timbs for my hooligans in Brooklyn." "I put hoes in NY to DKNY, Miami-DC prefer Versace, all Philly hoes doe and Moschino, every cutie with a booty bought a Coogi." "I can fill you with real millionaire shit, escargot, my car go, 160, swiftly, wreck it buy a new one, ya crew run-run-run, ya crew run-run."

Crush on You - Lil Kim x Lil Cease - Produced by Fanatic - As we know now this song was written by Cam, I didn't know that when it dropped, as most didn't. You can hear Cam's flow and style all through Cease verses. BIG loved Cam tho, wanted him to be a part of a new Junior Mafia he was working on before he passed. I was actually asked by BIG to be a part of the new JM as well, he couldn't believe my real name was Genovese. It was a blessing to have been able to meet him, chill, and see how much love he had for the LOX and my peoples. Sad he passed away before we could really sit down and talk business. That was one good dude right there, genuine. Anyway, back to the song. I remember the vid with all the different color minks, Kim killed it. Us in Yonkers were hype that Sheek had a nice cameo in it.

Best bars: Cease - "Cruise in my Lexus Land with no mileage, while you walk the streets until ya feet get callus." Lil Kim - "Hey yo shorty want you go get a bag of the lethal, while I'll be undressed in a bra all see thru." "Heat up the clutch, 750 deluxe, then we speed down the Hutch, breaking trees in the Dutch, I'm not the one you sleep wit, to eat quick, you want a cheap chick then go down to FreakNik."

Love or Lust - Kasino x Genovese x Mo Money x Richie Thumbs - Produced by: I-Witness - For 3 unknown rappers from Yonkers, and another from the east side of Harlem, to have the 6th song on this mixtape was a huge accomplishment. We sampled the Prince classic and spit mad bars on this, Clue heard it once and loved it. None of us had a deal at this point. This was actually my first time appearing on a mixtape. Saying that, nobody outside of my hood in Yonkers knew who the hell I was. I met Mo Money through the Diehard Records fam, that was the indie label we were all messing with at the time. Mo grew up with Ma$e and Cam, they all played HS ball together. Thumbs would eventually sign with Elektra, Kasino to Jive, and I ended up on Universal. When this joint dropped, my life changed. I realized rap could be a job, not just a dream. I still say to this day Jay Z and Jermaine Dupri took the idea for their, "Money Ain't a Thing" hook from this song. If you listen to the part when they say, "Y'all wanna floss with us...", sounds so much like the hook we used on this song, same harmony and melody. Who knows, but it wouldn't be the only time Hov jacked a track from me.

Best bars: Kasino - "Y'all starting 5 couldn't fuck with our bench, y'all talking money, y'all didn't get it yet." "Y'all got that, we gone start it off where you stopped at, blow the doors off rap for the ni88as on the block trapped." Genovese - "We gon' take this rap game to another level, like we took the crack game, move over the decimal, say 3 places we love dem zeros, Genovese, ya home town hero." "Die by the words that we all should share, if we all make it there, then there's more to spare." "Some spit verses, others clip purses, choose ya own, I choose the streets cause it's home." Mo Money - "You know how the game go when the chips are at stake, the rich get rich and all the weak links break." "Old time retirement is rare, it's all in the air, a ni88a gotta get it while he here."

The Case - Foxy Brown x 4Dolo - Fox was the illest at this point, I can't lie when I heard her on that "I Shot Ya" remix, I thought she was a dude. Her flow and voice was impeccable. On this song Foxy came in hard with that Nas choppy flow, spitting that Firm biz throughout the verse.

Best Bars: Foxy - "Heard these dreads had a hit on Escobar and Meg, word on the street Sos' pumps mad coke, the Firm baby…" Then comes with this, "My ni88a Pablo push the money green Monte Carlo, I be on tour rockin' Claiborne draws." What the deal is! I love when Fox said that shit!!  The cat 4Dolo was wack, I have no idea who he was. This was the only joint I ever heard him on. Once he said, "I used to choke ni88as with car jumper cables.", I was done with him. smh

Well, Well, Well - The Lox x Kasino - Produced by: I-Witness - I was supposed to be on this joint but I was out of town when they recorded it. We were all living together at this point and we were all knee deep in the rap game, among other things. Kasino was always at the crib, his older brother Phats (RIP) lived with us, and plus he went to HS with the LOX. A lot of heads to this day think I'm actually on this song because Kiss says my name in the intro. The hook on this song is so legendary, a video should have definitely been done for this, a classic!  

Best Bars: Styles P - "LOX bars deeper then the bitches in the cars, when Styles hits the scene start twistin' up the La', but only Allah will I fear while I'm here…" "My attitude towards you, I feel I oughta sword you, I'm in the whip playin' ya shit, I fast forward you." Kiss - (Came in louder then Styles, nobody really mixed these records, all rough) "Aint no money like it used to be back in them days, dark blue 840 convert with the MK's, 2 for 5's come freak honies try to pimp Jay, so I kick em to the curb like a Sansei, flow been there ever since the Rakim days, ask Maria how I blew it down Mad Wednesdays." (Mad Wednesdays was a event hosted by Maria Davis in the 90s). Sheek - How many ni88as you know that can go Platinum and sell 3, million and recoup, each 9 for the group." "Reminder ni88a we the real mccoys, with a little twist of pumpin' crack, quick to bust ya warriors, and we keep our bo-bo-bo-bones (Bone Thugs voice), up in yo main bitch when you don't be home." Kasino - "Scared money don't make money, I got courage I take money, God don't like ugly, but he got to love hungry." "And I admit, I did a lot of bad things, to get where I'm at, but I always gave back."

Dead or Alive Part 2 - Jay Z x Sauce Money - (Its Murder, Dead or Alive) This was aimed at Pac, either way you look at it. I always thought Jay and Sauce sounded dope together. Jay comes in on the intro poppin' shit.

Best Bars: Jay-Z - "I makes the whole city hot, lick 50 shots at idi-ots." "Train of thought derails like Amtrak, my grands stack, hands free in the 6, dippin', jam packed, me, my crime-ies, and a couple of dime pieces, a bunch of rolexes, unlimited credit line Visa's." "To each is own, y'all can eat this chrome." "Leave him speechless when the led reaches his dome, life aint nothin' but beaches and homes." Sauce - "Harshly brung, ungodly slum, cough up a lung, where I'm from, Marcy son." (classic line that would become famous many years later) Jay-Z - "Gangsta shit, no thanks to shit, ni88as selling a million records more banks to split." "On the celly bumpin' Macavelli I hold no grudge, you diss me, I diss you what, love is love." Sauce - "His body was too hot to get near it, to late to hear it, 2 slugs waiting to awake his spirit." (thats deep!) "I take a phrase in God we trust, its a must, live by the gun die by the same shit you bust." "Thoughts hating sober, intoxicated minds are taking over, conjure own ways to escape closer."

Freestyle (Benjamins Beat) Jay-Z x Sauce Money - Weird how Clue put back to back Jay and Sauce freestyles on the same tape but this was the beginning of Clue and Roc-a-fella rocking together.

Best bars: Sauce - "Lets be, for real, if you know you aint gon' bless me, bite ya tongue like Epilepsy." "I be relaxing with ya wifey with the lights on, while you still in the dark rapping, holding mics wrong." "When I bust off ya lucks lost, thought you was Chinese the way you duck Sauce." Jay Z - "I never lack, forever pack, the lever back and squeeze, for the simple fact when ya lungs collapse its hard to breathe."

Im Coming Out - BIG x Ma$e x Puff Daddy - Produced by Stevie J - This song would go on to be one of the classic joints of the 90s. Later the title would be known as, "Mo Money, Mo Problems". I can listen to this song now and know its hotter then anything on the radio. I wish BIG got to be in the video, but it was still a classic with Ma$e and Puff killing it with the shiny suits and throwing rollies in the sky. Besides that tho, BIG like always would demolish the commercial singles. His gift to kill a hit record or a grimy album cut was so unique. Just an out of this world musical talent. Also, Ma$e was no pushover, he was a heavy spitter, obviously he could make pop joints but Ma$e came from that Children of the Corn (COC, Big L, McGruff, Bloodshed) West Side Harlem camp. When I first met Ma$e, he was "Murda", had the ill grimy apt in Harlem. Dee from Ruff Ryders always had him around the Mart on 125th. Always had love, and always will for Mr. Betha. Oh, and I will always love the Puff Daddy bars over Diddy's.  

Best bars: Ma$e - Even though his first few bars were spit unique and not really rhyming, they will forever be classic. "Now, who's hot, who's not, tell me who rock, who sell out in the stores." "If they didn't know me in 91, bet they know me now, Im the young Harlem ni88a with the Goldy sound, Cant no PHD ni88as hold me down, Cooter schooled me to the game, now I know my duty, stay humble, stay low, blow like Hootie, true pimp ni88a spend no doe on the booty." #barz Puff - "I call all the shots, rip all the spots, rock all the rocks, cop all the drops." "Now what you gonna do with a crew that got money much longer then yours, and a team much stronger then yours, violate me, this a be yo' day, we don't play, mess around be DOA, be on yo' way." BIG - I can put the whole fuckin verse, but these are fav lines. "B-I-G, P-O-PP-A, no info for the DEA" (Thats just really stupid to come in that ILL). "My team supreme, stay clean, triple-beam, lyrical dream, I be that." "Gats in holsters, girls on shoulders" (Only BIG can put those two lines together, nobody else would take that chance and sound so cool). "Step on stage girls boo too much, I guess thats cause you run with lame dudes too much." "Where the true players at, throw ya rollies in the sky, wave em side to side, and keep ya hands high." 


Ok back to the tape...

Follow My Lead - Buckshot - This joint was off Funkmaster Flex's The Mixtape Volume 2 "Sixty Minutes of Funk". LOUD Records. If you grew up in the 90s, you know Black Moon were one of the illest groups back in the day. When "Who Got The Props" dropped you know you had a backpack on chillin. Buckshot had that deep, unique voice and flow. Was on beat, off beat, that grimy BK style, with bangers from DJ Evil Dee. This joint was a change of pace in terms of the artists before Buck on the tape. Not sure who did this beat, but was def a knock.

Best bars: "Buckshot, the BDI, general, if I was you I wouldn't try." "So poetically on point its ridiculous, hitting every baseline when I'm rippin it." "In the mirror you kickin' a verse of mine, but in a freestyle you be the last to rhyme." "So many people took my lyrics and hooks, if I write a book about you crooks getting shook." 

Top Of New York - Capone x Noreaga x Tragedy - Produced by Nashiem - This song/beat epitomizes what hiphop was in the mid 90s. Just hard knocking tracks, hungry MCs from every borough in NYC popping up everywhere. First time I met Nore was in HOT97, on DJ Clue's Monday Night Mixtape spot. His man and my man were locked up together so we clicked right away. Nature, him, and I were up there flowing, Nore always been a good dude. I mean how can you not like Nore? When I was recording my album with Universal at Right Track studios in Manhattan, Capone was recording in another room and came down to introduce himself. I thought that was dope since most rappers are too busy fronting, he kept it mad real. Always respected him for that. Trag, thats a true OG right there. When he went by Intelligent Hoodlum, I used to love the song he made called, "Grand Groove". Classic. I never got to meet Trag till years later, around 2008-9. He was recording in my cousin Gustapo's studio in Queens. Another good dude, have to say all three of these cats are good brothers. Nothing but love.

Best bars: Noreaga - (To me, he made the whole song so hype the way he came in) "Yo, ni88as tried to shit on me, and make history…" "Doe or Die, I smoke bogey, sword like Shinobi, shoot up ya block to make you know me." "Yo the tech glisten, on a mission, shoot ya back out position." "Homo'd out just like Menudo." (haha), "I stand in front of the judge, bout to lie, plus Im high too." Capone - "Check it, I did for the love of cash your honor, trafficking across the Verrazano, coke & the marijuana." "Cash & hydro, eyes low, looking Filipin' divide doe." "Who survives, game's tight like virgin nappy, feds on our back tracing tracks to murder Pappy." Tragedy - "Arab nazi, blow holes in your Versace." "Ya hearts tookin, got blown in Central Booking." "Now you little monkey ni88as wanna play guerilla." "The jakes never worry me as long as I'm free, for my ni88as holding packs nothing less then a gee." "When the flesh dry up and this world decay, reach heaven in a pearly white Ac-u-ray." 

Dead Man Walking - Cormega - Produced by Hot Day and Jae Supreme - I remember first hearing this song in Miami at the "How Can I Be Down" convention. I think Def Jam released a sampler, and this was on it. I was always a fan of Mega. His flow is so unique, it's like none other, as is his voice. I have cousins that live Upstate that are the biggest Cormega fans. To this day I truly feel he has more white fans then any other race. Its like every white true hip hop head I know is a Mega fan. I still support Mega to this day. I must say outside of the music, Mega is a smart business man as well as one of the first to "rape" the independent rap game. He did deals with Bob Perry at Landspeed Records somewhere around 2000-2001 when he released, "The Realness". That album was the best he's ever released in my book. I believe we had the same lawyer back then and I was amazed at how much paper he made, sold over 100k units I believe. He def was the first I saw making dollars off sales, instead of cents on the down low indie game. I didn't meet Mega until the late 2000's. Me and Gustapo were working on our First Cousins album and had a chance to work with him. We picked him up from the bridge and brought him to our studio in Middle Village. Quiet cat, mad respectful, enjoyed chilling and working with him. He laid a sick verse for us, but the business didn't work out so we never released the song. He actually used the verse he wrote for our song on Raekwon's track, "Radiant Jewels".

Best bars: "I had to undergo therapy, not surgery, the ni88a wetted me, but he didn't murder me, dun I survived…" "Once was friends, now that shits dead, that stupid muthafucka should have shot me in the head." "The ni88a started a war fuckin wit me yo, hit me wit a 4-4, and jetted with a kilo." "Word on the street is a 4-4 can't stop Mega!" "He just a dead man walking, hey yo fuck that shit, I'm through talkin'"

Wild For The Night - Rampage ft/ Busta Rhymes - Produced by The Vibe Chemist Backspin - This song always irked my nerves. It wasn't garbage, just that I couldn't stand Rampage's voice. He was on some Darth Vader shit. Plus he was mad off beat. "Keep low, like an Eskimo." cmon fam…I don't have any best bars on this song cause there is absolutely none. Probably the reason Clue cut the song off after one verse. Peace c-ya *Michael Kay voice*

Pronto - CRU - Produced by Yogi - I remember these cats were signed to Def Jam, and they had a little buzz with this joint. You gotta love mix tapes back then cause this was the last track on Side 1 and halfway during the song, it just cuts off. That's just how things went back then. It was a tape, the shit just ends.

Best bars: Yogi- "I give the peace sign like Jimmy Snuka." (Cant lie, I like that line since Snuka was one of my fav wrestlers growing up. He would get on the top rope when no wrestlers was doing that back then and would throw the deuces up before he jumped down and splashed you something crazy.) Chadio - I always liked the way homie came right in like, "Pass the piece of steel to the one Chadio…" just sounded fresh, but besides that, it's over.

Be on the look for my breakdown of Side 2 (For The Ladies Side) yea that's what Clue called it LOL…..

Here's the link to peep the whole tape ----> CLICK