justos-logo.jpgWith less than a week to go until the red carpet at The Apollo is rolled out for the return of Justo’s Mixtape Awards, it’s only right we pay our respects to Mixtapes’ #1 Fan, Justo Fiason.

The mixtape innovator passed away a year and a half ago, but his legendary award show will pick up where he left off this Thursday, December 7. With an unparalleled passion for mixtapes, the A&R had first established the award show more than a decade ago to pay tribute to hip-hop’s pulse: mixtapes and their DJs.

Up for a leading seven nominations at this year’s award show, including “Best Mixtape Radio Show of the Year,” if Clinton Sparks has an acceptance speech or two ready, excuse him.

After getting his props at this year’s the Power Summit for Syndicated Radio Show of the Year, Clinton Sparks’ Get Familiar mission statement was given worldwide credibility and its third prestigious honor in as many years.

Along with Mixshow DJ of the Year from ‘04’s Summit and his ‘05 Justo award for Satellite Radio DJ of the Year, his latest honor for the globally-syndicated Smash Time Radio is another product of his relentless effort to get you familiar.

Less than a week before DJs take a night off to pop some bottles and pay homage to the mixtape game, Sparks refuses to take time off, dropping two blockbuster mixtapes, one marking The Yardfather Saigon’s return to the ring (The Return of the Yardfather) and the other one affirming Diddy never left (Don’t Call It A Comeback).

Sparks hopes to take home some mixtape hardware next week, but he’s not done doing what he does best. Linking up with SRC’s latest signee, Simon Says Pharaohe Monch is set to wake up hip-hop with his The Awakening mixtape with Sparks and long-time dee jay, DJ Boogie Blind.

With hip-hop waiting to welcome Monch back with his sophomore album Desire, Monch will bring you some of his first official recordings since his 1999 debut. Monch will be the 4th artist Sparks has worked with in the past month, anchoring a round of mixtapes that also included Eminem’s classic Shade 45 Anniversary mixtape.

Along with Sparks’ two mixtapes this week, DJ Drama licks two shots of his own, with mixtapes from Swishahouse’s Lil’ KeKe and Louisiana’s Lil’ Boosie. His Houston collaboration with The Don KeKe is the House’s first ever official mixtape not released under Michael Watts standard format.

Switching it up for the Gangsta Grillz fans, KeKe has been working on this Loved By Few…Hated By Many prelude for quite a while so the results are a certified H-Town classic. DJ Dramatic is up for five awards at Justo’s 2006 Mixtape Awards, including “Mixtape DJ of the Year” and “Mixtape Of The Year” (twice, for Lil’ Wayne’s Dedication and Jeezy’s Trap Or Die).

The Underground Mixtape Artist of the Year of 2005 and nominee for East Coast Mixtape Artist of the Year this year, Papoose adds another joint to the collection with the recent release of Fourth Quarter Assassin. Stuntin’ like his daddy, Papoose showcases his potent lyricals on his 15th mixtape alongside his Streetsweeper mentor DJ Kay Slay. With his “Ghetto Soldier” video just released on the Internet, Pap is grinding hard for his upcoming debut The Nacirema Dream.

-Clinton Sparks interviewing Young Jeezy on Smashtime Radio (HERE)
-Papoose's "Ghetto Soldier" Video (HERE)


The Come Up DVD: Carter Edition – The streets’ fastest-rising DVD features exclusive interviews with hip-hop’s favorite Presidents Carter, Jay-Z and Lil’ Wayne –Jay-Z opens up about his leaked album + Lil’ Wayne speaks on Baby and Cash Money’s history.

Afromentals 24.5 – DJ Jamad – The Aphilliates’ most underrated element showcases another afrocentric hip-hop/soul mix with this smooth CD of soulful, jazzy remixes and eclectic gems.

The Willie Bryant Story (Raw & Uncut) - DJs Unexpected & Supreme + Scram Jones – This creative remix project narrates the tale of a fictitious hustler in the hood via remixed tracks and original production that unfold a story of the rise & fall of Willie Bryant.

Hell Rell: New Gun In Town – The Diplomats’ scarfaced shooter Ruger Rell pops off a new street classic for the faithful Dipset fans and Harlem haters alike, letting go of a gang of new exclusives and original tracks.

Heat Rockas – DJ Camilo – The international club king returns to the mixtape scene for his first time in years for his patented club-style mixtape. Not as good as Camilo live, the mixtape is little reminder of his legendary skills.

Gillie Da Kid: The Truth Hurts – Superstar Jay – The third mixtape from Philadelphia’s self-appointed King is another enticing appetizer for the fans who’ve been following Gillie’s comeback tour.

Jody Breeze: Best Kept Secret #2 – DJ Ideal – The Boyz N Da Hood rep returns with his 2nd official mixtape, the follow-up to his Don Cannon debut, and gives you all-original tracks and freestyles.

AZ & Nas: Best Of The Best – DJs Delz & Sematic – Hosted by the Aziatic emcee himself, AZ does the color commentary as this mixtape rewinds classics from Nas and his truly. The Firm is alive within this mixtape…even Foxy will be checking this one.

NEXT WEEK: Our 2006 Mixtape Wish List… our picks for some of the year’s most popular mixtapes and overlooked gems.