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Not generally known as a mixtape DJ, Benny Ben comes clean on his first offering of soul with 22 summer jams that every hip-hop head needs to own. Local joints include One Be Lo’s “Axis” and Finale and S-Type’s “Soul For Your Stereo,” which offers probably the best beat and lyrics on the comp. Other standouts include 50 Cent’s “In My Hood,” Jay-Z’s “Dear Summer,” and Paul Wall getting nasty on “Sittin’ Sidewayz.” Royce Da 5’9”, Common, and Chino XL bang out on “Enough Beef” and Emanon’s emcee-producer extraordinaire Exile gives Slum Village a sub-woofer-shriveling beat on the reworked “Time Has Come.” For the old-school Binary Star fans, there’s a new spin from Senim Silla and L.A. underground producer Mums the Word — which offers a peek at Silla’s growth since he left Michigan in 2001. It’s solid to see a DJ produce a mixtape the correct way; dope beats, some shout-outs and a slew of lurching tracks to light up music fans of any genre. E-mail:

Jonathan Cunningham is a freelance writer. Send comments to