The Roots

Album Title: Game Theory
Label: Def Jam
Album #: 8
Quarter: Fourth
Began Recording: Summer ’05
Beats: Artist, J Dilla
Features: Mos Def, Saigon, Peedi Peedi, MF Doom, Danger Mouse, Jill Scott, Lunna E of Cirius B, MFSB Orchestra, Bunny Sigler, Truck North
First Single: “Don’t Feel Right”
FYI: It’s official. The world’s most popular hip-hop band, the Roots, are rolling with President Carter. But don’t think for a minute that the Jigga Man is trying to turn the Roots into the next Black Eyed Peas.
“Jay is more or less playing the Obi-Wan Kenobi of this project,” says bandleader ?uestlove. “His first words were, ‘Yo, don’t come at me with no bullshit. I want the from-your-heart record.’”
Streets Wanna Know: Is the Def Jam stamp going to make the Roots blow? “The only expectations I have is to not damage our brand and our foundation,” says ?uest.
“To me, touchdown is 500,000 units. I don’t have no Thriller dreams of, Man we did 12 million this week! So to me that is a very realistic goal for a group of this caliber.”
Sales Pitch: “We still put 100 percent of our effort into making what we feel is quality hip-hop. I think if people really believe in quality and have patience, then we’re worth the purchase.”#9

Album Title: Release Therapy
Label: Disturbing Tha Peace/Def Jam
Album #: 5
Quarter: Second
Began Recording: Oct. ’05
Beats: Timbaland, Shondrae,
LT Moe, Organized Noize, Ice Drake
Features: Disturbing Tha Peace family
First Single: TBD
FYI: With four multiplatinum LPs already in the can, Release Therapy will fulfill the Ludamiester’s five-album contract with Def Jam. Let the bidding war begin! “Who knows what’s gonna happen from this point,” says ’Cris. “Will I re-sign or will I be a free agent? It’s a mystery.”
Streets Wanna Know: Will Luda’s lyrics finally outshine his personality?
“I’ve started talking about my family, daughter and friends,” he says. “So I think this album will be more personal. Since I’m known for having a strong presence visually, that tends to overshadow how good the lyrics are to a certain degree. I’m glad my lyrics are starting to stand out to individuals, because that’s the category I’m trying to be put in. I want to be put in people’s top five.”
Sales Pitch: “You’re gonna get your money’s worth and then some. Real music is all about emotion. Whether it makes you laugh, reminisce, cry, get motivated to get a damn job, or tell people you love them; you’re going to feel this muthafuckin’ album.”#8
Busta Rhymes

Album Title: The Big Bang
Label: Aftermath/Interscope
Album #: 7
Quarter: Second
Began Recording: 2003
Beats: Dr. Dre, Timbaland, Neptunes, Scott Storch, Nottz, J Dilla, Swizz Beatz, Sha Money XL, Jelly Roll, Denaun Porter, Just Blaze, Rashad Smith, Hill
Features: Stevie Wonder, Rick James, Raekwon, Nas, Dr. Dre, Eminem, Q-Tip, Notorious B.I.G., Flipmode Squad
First Single: “Touch It”
FYI: After inking an unlikely deal with Dr. Dre at the top of ’04, Busta is finally ready to unveil what he promises to be a masterpiece. “Being on Aftermath, a label that made records like ‘Stan’ a hit, has allowed me to be as creative as possible,” says Bus-a-bus. “I get to make the more challenging records the fans want to hear.”
Streets Wanna Know: How has Dre influenced the Busta Rhymes formula? “Dre came to me because he has respect for me as an artist and what I accomplished on my own. So it wasn’t that he was changing my formula, he was just trying to add on to it.”
Sales Pitch: “Busta Rhymes has never not been the most consistent muthafucka around. Busta Rhymes has always carried the torch for what’s hot in the street. And even though the South has been making those records that make you wild out in the club, I’m here to give you that raw New York club banger.”#7

Album Title: Fishscale
Label: Def Jam
Album #: 5
Quarter: First
Began Recording: April ’05
Beats: Pete Rock, MF Doom, J Dilla, Madlib, Moss, Lewis Parker, Studio Beatz
Features: Wu-Tang Clan, Theodore Unit, Ne-Yo
First Single: “Back Like That”
FYI: With the underground’s elite producing most of his album, Ghost is trying to keep the purists happy. Why’d he dig so deep for his tracks? “They had the hottest shit!” says Pretty Toney. “I went through a bunch of beats, and these niggas was the ones who had the shit that was fittin’ the mode that I wanted to go in.” Look out for the yet-to-be-titled posse cut featuring all nine Clansmen, produced by MF Doom.
Streets Wanna Know: As the most consistent and colorful member of the Wu, where does Ghost draw his inspiration from? “I just do what I do. I’m inspirin’ myself mentally, physically and spiritually. So really right now, nothing in music is really inspirin’ me to do what I do. I always been a nigga that did what he did and that’s it.”
Sales Pitch: “Fishscale is like the dopest shit that’s on the block right now. It’s like I got the hypest dope. When niggas taste that shit, they gon’ fiend for it.”


Album Title: King
Label: Grand Hustle/Atlantic
Album #: 4
Quarter: Second
Began Recording:
Nov. ’04
Beats: Rick Rubin, Neptunes, Just Blaze, Hi-Tek, Kwamé, Fury, DJ Toomp, Don Cannon, Chad West, Khao, Keith Mack, Lil’ C, Black Mob, Big Reese
Features: Jay-Z, Young Jeezy, P$C, Lil Wayne, B.G.,
Alicia Keys, Young Dro, Governor
First Single: “Ride With Me”
FYI: Having claimed he ruled the South from day one, T.I. still isn’t convinced that we truly believe. “There are still a lot of questions on whether my accolades, sales or acceptance allow me to be the King,” he says. “This new album is one big reason as to why I’m the King. Whether it’s because I’m flyer than you, rap better than you, or got more money than you.”
Streets Wanna Know: With all the crossover love, is T.I. still In Da $treetz? “If you see me in movies, on The OC and TRL, think, Oh, we in there now. Everyone else is going to walk you to the club and leave you at the door. I’m trying to hold the door and let you in, too.”
Sales Pitch: “Trap Muzik laid the foundation, but missed a couple mainstream records. Urban Legend was great, but it missed the creativity people wanted from me. King is my most well-rounded project since I’m Serious.”


Album Title: Idlewild
Label: Jive
Album #: 6
Quarter: First
Began Recording: Sept. ’03
Beats: Artist, Organized Noize
Features: Sleepy Brown, Janelle Monae, Scar
First Single: Big Boi’s “The Train” and the duo’s “Idlewild Blues” will be released simultaneously
FYI: Despite going their separate ways professionally since the release of Speakerboxxx/ The Love Below, Big Boi and Dre are back together on Idlewild. Even though the LP shares the same title as their upcoming prohibition-era movie, they don’t consider it a soundtrack. “Of course we’re going to have songs pertaining to the movie,” says Big. “But then some songs are genuine OutKast songs, meaning the funk music that we been making, just with a ’30s feel to it.”
Streets Wanna Know: With all the side work, will this be the last OutKast album?
“One of us going off and doing something else is not a breakup, it’s just a sign of growing up,” clarifies Big. “We don’t have to be in the same room to make music. I’m OutKast ’til I die.”
Sales Pitch: “With us you have to expect the unexpected,” says Big. “This is the next thing you could do after doing a double CD where two group members were doing solo CDs. The fans expect nothing less than what we’ve been giving them for the past decade, and that’s some funky-ass shit.”