Archive for October, 2007

 Hip-hop celebrities, youths show chess skills at tourney

By Davey D
Special to Mercury News

 Lots of things have been cracking off in the world of hip-hop: Nas is gearing up for a new album with a controversial title. T.I. disappointed fans when he was arrested on allegations of trying to purchase weapons illegally in what appeared to be the ultimate sting operation; his bodyguard was the main informant. Diddy’s bust for allegedly punching someone in the face over a woman was pretty sorry. KRS stirred things up by accepting lifetime-achievement honors at the “BET Hip Hop Awards” and then remarking that Kanye West was not a real hip-hop artist while 50 Cent was. I’m still scratching my head over that one.By contrast, here’s some uplifting news: Congratulations are in order for founder Adisa Banjoko of the newly formed Hip-Hop Chess Federation, which presented the inaugural Chess Kings Invitational Tournament, Oct. 13 at the San Francisco Design Center. It awarded $10,000 in scholarships to teen competitors and a championship belt to winning celebrity contestants.

Special props go to the celebrity winner The RZA of the Wu-Tang Clan. He, Wu-Tang’s GZA and Rugged Monk of the Wu-Tang affiliate the Black Knights were among the finalists.

Also in the house were Rakaa of Dilated Peoples, Paris, DJ Disk, T-Kash, Balance, Zion I, Amir Sulaiman, Big Rich, Chairman Fred Hampton Jr., POCC Minister of Information JR, Casual of Hieroglyphics, Sunspot Jonz of Living Legends, Prince Ali, Shamako Noble and D’labarie of Hip Hop Congress, DJ Malcolm Marshall of Street Soldiers, the Brown Berets of Watsonville, hip-hop pioneer Pop Master Fable of the Rocksteady Crew and longtime Bay Area b-boy Bas-1. I won’t even begin to run down the list of chess masters, who came from as far as Miami and the United Kingdom. Also on hand were scores of youngsters from various youth programs around the bay. Four of the the Galleria’s five floors were in full use for the chess battles.When I spoke with GZA at the start of the festivities, he said chess was a microcosm of life, pointing out that each board move must serve a purpose. He spoke about the need to prepare mentally and sharpen your skills to handle any situation thrown at you, both on the board and in life. He also said chess has played a key role in the way he constructed his albums. In fact, his landmark “Liquid Swords” disc was based on the game, as you might guess from the chess pieces on its cover.The tournament was intense. The final celebrity contenders were Rugged Monk and The RZA, after the latter took out GZA. As the final game unfolded, victory seemed certain for Rugged Monk. But The RZA buckled down, finally living up to the words he and others had been preaching. He remained calm and out-thought his adversary. In a series of stunning moves involving his rook, The RZA stunned onlookers by upsetting Rugged Monk.

I had squared off with longtime freedom fighter Hampton, who captured my queen and bishop within the first five moves. But I recovered and was ready to take him out in just three moves.

Pawns are my favorite chess pieces; they represent the average, ordinary Joe, who is often overlooked in the community but can do serious damage when properly deployed. Banjoko noted that pawns have the most potential, because they can be changed to any piece on the board once they reach the opponent’s back row.

Sadly, however, I allowed myself to lose focus, and my ultimate defeat was not pretty. As for Hampton, he gave new meaning to the term “bragging rights” telling interviewers how and why he won.

Other great matches included Sunspot Jonz defeating Paris. Spoken-word artist Amir Sulaiman went up against Casual and lost – which led to a grudge match between the Hiero rap star and Rugged Monk. Monk’s victory put him in the finals against The RZA.

This exciting event drew some 500 participants; from all indications, it will only get bigger in years to come.


MTV: Who Killed Jam Master Jay?

Posted: October 30, 2007 in Uncategorized

Who Killed Jam Master Jay 

 by Douglas Century

 Five years ago Jam Master Jay’s iconic career was cut short in a Queens, New York, studio in the same neighborhood where he made a name for himself alongsinde legendary rap group Run-DMC. On the anniversary of one of hip-hop’s most tragic unsolved murder, we take a look back at the life and legacy pioneering DJ Jam Master Jay left behind.


In the days following the murder of Jam Master Jay, police, the local community and the music world all seemed to agree that whoever committed the brutal crime was going to be caught.

  Jam Master Jay: The Lost Photos

The killing of the beloved DJ/producer, in the neighborhood that success had never pried him from, seemed to cross every line that might prevent witnesses from cooperating with police. It was an intolerable offense, and everyone was confident that there would quickly be an answer to the question: Who killed Jam Master Jay?

Six months later, that answer still has not come. Since Jam Master Jay was shot and killed in his Jamaica, Queens, recording studio on October 30, the case has offered more questions than answers. Has the killer’s trail gone completely cold? Or are detectives carefully lining up their chess pieces before making an arrest?

Jam Master Jay (born Jason Mizell), the hugely influential DJ and producer, was by most accounts one of the most well-liked men in hip-hop. There’s a reward of more than $300,000 — funds raised by the Hip-Hop Summit Youth Council, the New York Police Department and a coalition spearheaded by rap mogul Russell Simmons — for information leading to an arrest and conviction. Given that the murders of two other rap legends, Tupac Shakur and the Notorious B.I.G., have been unsolved since 1996 and 1997, the Mizell family and the entire hip-hop community are asking if Jay’s death is fated to be yet another case of a slain hip-hop icon whose killer goes unpunished.

Officially, the NYPD is guarded. “The investigation is ongoing,” a department spokesperson said. “It’s an open, active case, being worked out of 103rd Precinct.”

Veteran detectives interviewed by MTV News were more outspoken. “The police department right now is at a standstill in the case,” said Derrick Parker, a retired NYPD detective who spent several years working hip-hop-related cases within the department’s Gang Intelligence Unit. “I’m not trying to say that they won’t solve it, but the longer it goes by, in my experience, they’re getting to the point where they can’t take it any further.”

According to another NYPD detective familiar with the case, who asked for anonymity: “They do have some leads, but they’re bogged down now.”

David Thigpen, a Time magazine reporter and author of the just-published biography “Jam Master Jay: The Heart of Hip Hop,” observes that the stalled investigation has left a gloom among Jam Master Jay’s immediate circle and the hip-hop community in general. “It doesn’t seem to have gone too far,” Thigpen said. “People are really dejected that nothing has happened yet. But on the other hand, I don’t think there’s a whole lot of cooperation going on out there in the streets. People are very scared.”

Though the police department may be stymied in its effort to bring Jay’s killer to justice, many of those closest to Jay say they have no doubt about the killer’s identity — even if they aren’t rushing forward to assist the NYPD in locking him up. According to Bill Adler, the veteran hip-hop journalist, longtime friend of Jam Master Jay’s and the author of “Tougher Than Leather: The Rise of Run-DMC”: “What I know is that people in the ‘hood are absolutely convinced they know who did it. They’ve known from the very beginning, and the investigation hasn’t been able to pin it on this guy.”

When Jay — 37 at the time of his death and a father of three — was gunned down, several possible motives and scenarios quickly surfaced in the press. There was speculation that Jay may have been killed in connection to the escalating Murder Inc.-50 Cent beef (50 Cent had been a protégé of Jay’s). Another theory had it that Jay owed a debt to an old neighborhood friend named Curtis Scoon, and that he was killed following an argument over the money. A third theory pointed the finger at one or more disgruntled rappers with whom Jay had worked who may have killed him over a disputed music publishing advance.

The scenario that has emerged as most probable is the financial falling out with Scoon, who was living in Georgia at the time of the murder. “The strongest motive they have right now is that Jay was killed over that debt,” said one police source.

“The Scoon theory makes as much sense as anything,” explained author Thigpen, who went back to many of Jay’s old neighborhood haunts in researching his biography. “I tend to think the simpler explanations are the better with this case. A couple of Jay’s friends told me that the falling out was over some Rolex watches that Jay went to get with Scoon, and they wound up getting ripped off. Scoon blamed Jay for the rip-off, and Jay said, ‘Listen, we both got ripped off here.’ Supposedly, they were both out $15,000. Scoon thought Jay was part of the rip-off.”

Thigpen added, “Scoon was making phone calls from the South and turning up the heat on Jay shortly before the murder.”

Early press accounts had speculated that because Jay had evidently run into tax problems with the IRS, he had gone into a cocaine transaction with Scoon, a suggestion that has left many Mizell family members and friends angry. “Some people were trying to say it was a coke deal, but I don’t buy that,” Thigpen said. “Firstly, as far as I can tell, Jay didn’t use drugs — maybe smoked a little weed. Secondly, this guy was so street-smart, I don’t think he would have been dumb enough to buy a large amount of coke with these characters. I think he also realized he had so much to risk with his family, and his business was going well.”

Several law enforcement experts are surprised that the investigation has come to a grinding halt, given the fact that there were multiple witnesses to the execution-style shooting, several of whom had close ties to Jam Master Jay.

The Streets Is Watching … But nobody in Jay’s ‘hood is talking to police. Click for more.

“That’s the thing: there are witnesses,” said Parker. “But people have gone on with their lives and they don’t feel like getting involved with this anymore. Some of them have moved up in the music industry and they don’t want to go through the innuendo, the negativity in the press.”

The former NYPD officer says he also has firsthand knowledge that several witnesses were turned off by the hard-charging attitude taken by the detectives who interviewed them in the days after the murder. “I think the police alienated them somewhat. They came in too hard on them. But then again, that’s just the way we act as cops sometimes.”

Thigpen paints a more detailed picture about the identities of the witnesses who were in the studio that night. “One of the witnesses is Jay’s sister’s son,” Thigpen said. “His stage name is Boe Skagz. He’s actually Jay’s nephew, the son of Jay’s sister Bonita. The other guy is named Randy Allen, who is one of Jay’s best friends from way back. Randy and Jay had an aspiring hip-hop group [called Rusty Waters]. Randy reportedly served some time for something related to cocaine. They were in the studio when this happened. And Randy’s sister Lydia High was the one who opened the door and let the killer in.

“Lydia saw what happened, and I think Boe did, and Randy did, too. Lydia opened the door, and whoever [the killer] was, pushed her to the ground. Then he came to Jay and shot him at close range. Jay was playing a video game with a guy named Rincon, and as the shooter tried to flee he got tangled up with Rincon.”

Rusty Waters’ MDR and Boe Skagz

(Randy Allen, Boe Scagz and Linda High did not respond to repeated requests for comment.)

In the days following the murder, police issued a description of the gunman: a black male, between 6 feet and 6 feet 2 inches, weighing 180 to 200 pounds, and wearing a black sweat suit and black wool cap. But sources say that no suspect has been picked out of a photo array. “Rest assured, if they had an ID, they’d have made an arrest by now,” Parker said.

According to police sources, Scoon has three arrests on his record, including two for robbery, but both robbery charges were dismissed. Scoon’s only conviction was for possessing stolen property; he received a conditional discharge.

Despite the strong suspicions directed at Scoon, the NYPD has yet to interview him. “He’s lawyered up,” said Parker. “He’s hired Marvyn Kornberg, a prominent attorney in Queens, who really knows the lay of the land and is a very smart attorney. The cops wanted to speak to his client, and Kornberg’s not releasing his client to speak to anyone. He’s already told the police, ‘If you want to charge him, charge him.’ ”

Reached at his office in Queens, Kornberg said of Scoon: “He’s not cooperating and he’s not not cooperating. If they want him to come in, let them ask him to come in. But he’s not volunteering to come in and give a statement.”

The attorney added, “There¹s no requirement that he cooperate or give a statement to the police. … Once you tell me that a client of mine is a target of your investigation, he’s not making a statement.”

Without more cooperation, the case may be impossible to prove. Investigators theorize that Scoon may have hired a hit man and lookout and would not have been at Jay’s studio on the night of the crime. “People who know Scoon said they don’t think he’d do it himself,” Thigpen said.

Another name that has surfaced in police accounts is Ronald Washington, a.k.a. Tinard, a convicted drug dealer who, according to a New York Post story, is suspected of acting as a lookout during the shooting. Tinard, 35 and originally from Jay’s old neighborhood of Hollis, Queens, was arrested in Long Island on December 16 after he and another man, Ernest Williams, allegedly robbed the Floral Park Motel of cash and jewelry. Police say Tinard and Williams fled in a Hyundai, leading them on a 20-minute chase before smashing into another car. Although sought for questioning by the detectives in the 103rd Precinct, Tinard has refused to cooperate in the Jam Master Jay investigation.

“It’s real hard … you can’t wake up in the morning and call your homey.” – Randy Allen [Rusty Waters’ MDR]

While researching his biography, Thigpen says that he learned of a chilling episode that took place in December, only a short walk from where the homicide occurred — something that might explain the reticence of many to come forward, even with the lure of a $300,000 reward.

“I went into the barbershop that Jay used to go to regularly,” Thigpen recalled. “It’s just off Merrick Boulevard, right near Jay’s studio. The guys in the barbershop told me that Ronald ‘Tinard’ Washington had come in there recently, too. They told me everyone in the shop froze when he came in. He’s a feared guy on the streets. People are definitely afraid of him. Everyone says he’s a ‘bad actor’ and they’re very afraid of him.”

Most people familiar with the investigation believe there had to be a tip-off from inside the studio; someone likely made a phone call to let the killer or killers know that Jay was in the middle of a recording session.

“Whoever did this obviously knew Jay’s movements,” said Thigpen, “knew that he was in the studio that night, and also knew that he could barge in, shoot Jay without resistance, get out and make a quick escape. And this is, of course, maybe 200 yards from the front door of the 103rd Precinct House.

“Randy Allen (who raps under the name MDR in Rusty Waters) has denied everything. But Jay’s friends and Jay’s wife no longer speak to Randy. They think that he knows more than he’s saying. Because people are wondering: How did the killer know that Jay was there that night? This obviously was a planned hit.”

In the wake of the shooting, several news accounts named Allen as a possible suspect in setting up Jam Master Jay, supposedly with the motive of collecting on an insurance policy. Allen sat down with MTV News on December 12 and vehemently denied the speculation of his involvement.

“You can’t believe everything you read,” Allen said. “That’s a cruel thing to do to Jam Master Jay. That’s the meanest thing you can do to somebody, to say that their best friend is involved with something like that. On the radio yesterday they said I was in jail. We make records, man. We’re not into life insurance and sh– like that. That’s not a part of none of nobody in my clique. We don’t go around worrying about things like that. It’s all crazy. The part of it that hurts me the most is that’s just some made up sh–. I don’t know why somebody would do that.

“It’s rough, man,” Allen continued. “It’s real hard, because you can’t wake up in the morning and call your homey. You can’t reach out for that advice. … Losing Jay changed all our worlds.”

One of the most contentious ideas in the community is that the murder falls under the category of “rap-related crime.”

“I don’t believe that Jam Master Jay’s death has anything at all to do with rap,” author Bill Adler said heatedly. “Certainly it has nothing to do with anything that Run-DMC ever said or did. And let’s not forget, Jay wasn’t a rapper, he was a DJ. It has nothing to do with rap, but I do believe it has to do with the American propensity for gun violence, which is an epidemic in the black community.”

Many in the hip-hop world were incredulous when they heard that police had offered protection to Jay’s controversial ex-protégé 50 Cent (which he refused) and had floated a theory that Jay’s murder may have been a warning to the dis-spewing lyricist.

“The police were saying they thought there was a possibility that Jay could have been killed to send me a message,” said 50 Cent. “You know how [when] you have a body and have no answers, you say, ‘Who’s his friends and who’s his enemies?’ Jay didn’t have a bad aura around him, so there is no enemies for you to just point out right away. So they said, ‘Who’s his friends?’ ”

Jam Master Jay and 50 Cent

Parker maintains that it may also have been a matter of detectives misinterpreting a piece of street slang; he said police had a statement saying “Jam Master Jay was killed over 50 cents” and took that to mean the 27-year-old Queens-born rap star. “They heard the words ’50 cents,’ but in street terms, that just means $50,000. That’s just the street terminology.”

On the other hand, police sources say that given 50’s criminal history — he served three years on a drug conviction — coupled with the fact that he’s been shot and stabbed in recent years, detectives would have been negligent not to interview him as a potential suspect or witness in the case. “I can’t say it’s far-fetched. 50 Cent’s from Queens; Supreme, [a former drug dealer with alleged financial ties to Murder Inc.,] comes out of Queens; [Murder Inc. CEO] Irv Gotti comes out of Queens,” said one NYPD source. “But is it the most probable scenario? Absolutely not.”

Nevertheless, in the days following the murder, morning radio DJ and former “Yo! MTV Raps” host Ed Lover was heard on New York’s Power 105 stoking the fire of a possible Murder Inc. connection by tearfully accusing Gotti and Ja Rule of being somehow responsible for Jay’s death.

“People are very angry out there,” Parker said. “The Jam Master Jay case may be handled by the streets. Somebody might take care of this guy. I’ve heard that being said: ‘The streets may handle it themselves.’ ”

With emotions still so raw after six months, where does the investigation go from here?

Currently the case is still being handled by Detective Bernard Porter, out of the 103rd Precinct, with some assistance from the Queens Homicide Task Force. The NYPD maintains a cold case investigations unit, but designating an investigation as “cold” is subjective (cold meaning a case whose investigation has not yielded conclusive results). Retired detective Parker, who worked cold cases for several years in the 1990s, maintains that it is often desirable to bring in a fresh set of eyes to reassess a case file that has exhausted a team of detectives. Moreover, he says, since Jay’s murder, the detectives in the 103rd Precinct have “caught fresh cases” — more recent homicides — which means they have less time to devote to the Jam Master Jay file.

Still, experts say, the investigation is unlikely to ever be transferred to a specialized cold case squad.

According to FBI Special Agent Brad Garrett, a renowned authority on cold case homicide investigations, high-profile murders rarely get handed over to the cold case investigators.

“Let’s say the NYPD hadn’t solved the John Lennon murder in 12 seconds, it would never have got to cold case,” Garrett said, adding that political and media pressure on commanding officers usually keeps the heat on the original investigative team. “Typically it’s the low-profile, stranger-on-stranger crimes that don’t get solved and become cold cases.”

Garrett, who has personally solved numerous long-unsolved homicides, offered one somewhat optimistic note: “I’ve never been a believer in the notion that because a case gets older it necessarily gets harder to solve.”

In fact, one of the mottos of cold case detective work is “Times change, people change.” Witnesses who’ve been reluctant or fearful to talk can walk into a precinct house suddenly willing to cooperate. And co-conspirators can, in time, be induced to turn against one another.

For now, beloved music legend that he was, Jam Master Jay remains merely a statistic — one of an increasing number of murder victims each year whose killers escape justice. According to a U.S. Department of Justice study, “Homicide Trends in the United States,” the percentage of murders cleared by arrest has been declining over the past quarter century. The rate of clearance for murders in 2000 was 63 percent, down from 79 percent in 1976. In 2000, according to the study, blacks were six times as likely as white Americans to be victims of homicide.

According the NYPD, Jam Master Jay’s murder was one of 580 homicides in New York City in 2002; police were reluctant to say how many of those remain unsolved.

But hip-hop fans around the world are looking at another ugly statistic: three hip-hop icons murdered in the past decade — zero arrests made.

“That’s the worst thing,” said retired detective Parker. “Tupac got killed in Vegas, Biggie got killed in L.A., and now Jay gets killed in New York. And all those murders are still unsolved. I would have at least thought that our New York guys would have solved it. Not to take anything away from Vegas and L.A., but I think we have some of the best law-enforcement minds here and that we can solve anything.”

Let’s hope they can.

New York State Set to Withdraw Money because of Nas Album

New York state Assemblyman Hakeem Jeffries (D-Fort Greene) has requested that Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli withdraw $84 million that New York’s state pension fund has invested in Universal and its parent company, Vivendi, unless Nas changes the title of his forthcoming album from Nigger. Jeffries has requested that NY Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli withdraw every dime of the $84 million that the state pension fund invests in Vivendi, which oversees Def Jam Recordings and is home to such artists as Jay-Z, Kanye West, and Fabolous.

Vivendi, the parent company of Universal, is reportedly one of several entertainment companies that receive investments from the New York State pension fund, which exceeds a staggering $2.8 billion.

“[They are] profiting from a racial slur that has been used to dehumanize people of color for centuries,” said Jeffries, according to The Brooklyn Paper.

“It is time for Nas and other hip-hop artists to clean up their act and stop flooding the airwaves with the N-word.”

“It’s like talking to your child about sex,” Nas told Rolling Stone magazine. “It’s hard, but it’s important.”

“It’s probably going to make people uncomfortable. I don’t expect a lot of people to sell a record called ‘Nigger.’ Hopefully, people can open their minds up and lose some of their fear and deal with it. It’s just an album.”

courtesy of

The Playahata Report: Banner Does Song For T.I.

People the Jena 6 is still worth our effort, there are some black bloggers making a stink since reports of Robert Bailey Jr.acting immature on his myspace page and or other internet modules we need to know it takes nothing away from the Jena 6 Effort as some black bloggers are suggesting they have a few videos on youtube reporting your jena 6 money went to him flossing, its simply not true.
here is link

O.J. Simpson was slapped with new charges of felony coercion Wednesday in the alleged armed robbery of two sports memorabilia dealers in Las Vegas. The revised complaint also drops charges against Walter Alexander and Charles Cashmore, who pleaded guilty Tuesday to reduced charges, according to AP. This is no suprise and this is how they do it, eventually there will be so many charges that something sticks to a jury.

OJ should have moved to Jamaica a long time ago that way, it wouldn’t be so crazy for him. Jamaican judges are not so crazy about jailing celebrities. For example Beenie Man missed a court date on Tuesday (October 23rd) in his native Jamaica and a judge has issued an arrest warrant for the performer. Reuters reports that Beenie Man, whose real name is Anthony Moses Davis, is accused of not paying taxes for over 10 years. Imagine that Wesley Snipes. The Grammy Award winner was informed several weeks ago during a previous court date that he owed $415,000 in back taxes and another $246,000 in penalties. Judge Owen Parkins was surprised that Beenie Man didn’t show up for the court date. He said, “I am surprised that he has not appeared before me. This case is well publicized and he should have been in court. No one is above the law.” The reggae star claimed he was unaware of the delinquent taxes and that he had a management company handling his finances.

Seal will release the new CD System on November 13th and Oprah is helping to promote his album. Seal and superstar wife, Klum appears on today’s Oprah Winfrey Show devoted to “Superstar Couples.”

On the show, Klum reveals that when she first met Seal it was lust at first sight. “I met him in a hotel lobby in New York City,” she said, “and he came in just from the gym and was sitting there and I was, like, wow.” The singer was wearing his form-fitting bicycle shorts, which inspired Klum. “I pretty much saw everything,” she said of his outfit, “the whole package.”

Black women seem to have also taken a new interest in Seal ever since he crossed over to the other side he has received more requests from magazines with African American females as targets.

For real news go to yesterday’s headlines
see our latest video on

Latest newsletter on WWW.playahata.COM includes topics such as

1. Ludacris Fails to Impress Ethiopians
2.Tupac statue defaced and noosed and comments on T.I
3.Rappers feel sorry for T.I reports that David Banner released a new song online, titled “B.A.N. (The Love Song)” a.k.a. “Free T.I.P.,” which addresses the situation.

Banner explained, “For the most part on the song, I’m saying we gotta take responsibility in our own community. Some of our people are messing up, but it ain’t for America to tear them down. People got on me for supporting Mike Vick, but if America don’t support him, don’t mean I gotta turn my back on him.”

50 Cent, who filled in for T.I. at the Philadelphia Powerhouse concert, also weighed in on the situation. According to the G-Unit general, T.I. may be better off copping a plea since he was set up.

50 Cent said, “I hope he can make the best out of that situation. If he gets 10 years, that ain’t bad. If the security person is already telling, it’s obvious that’s their witness. They got tapes, they got all this. … (If it was me,) I would have to tell the people I did it and sit down for a minute. Nobody wants to hear that you have to stay 10 years nowhere. It’s not a good thing, period. It’s unfortunate, but he got himself in that space. I don’t know the real facts. Maybe he didn’t do it; let’s keep our fingers crossed.”

Akon also shared his thoughts on the situation. He said, “It’s obvious he was set up. But sometimes when you’re in a position of that stature and you’re that big, you just don’t allow that energy around you. You have to have people around you to let you know or avoid that energy. Even if he was a (gun) collector, naturally, you get a license to collect. That’s just common sense. At that stage where he’s at, he don’t need to protect himself. You hire legitimate law enforcement, or you hire people who are licensed to carry (guns). Surround them around you and you’ll be safe. You get to a certain point where they say, ‘You can take the kid out the ghetto, but you can never take the ghetto out the kid. T.I. was experiencing that for a minute.”

RZA, who met T.I. while on the set of the new movie American Gangster, was under federal investigation for several years at the height of the Wu-Tang Clan’s popularity. He said, “He’s a good man and his situation, it could happen to any of us. I’ll say this: They have a hip-hop task force out there. They looking (to lock us up) for whatever we do. We gotta be extra, extra clean and we got to watch what we say. Anything we say can and will be used against (us). We got to get more conscious on how we moving because you got people out there. The black community has moved up to being creative and making money, and that means that these cops need jobs and their job is to come and follow us and watch us.” – interesting Quote of the Day – “I gotta do a little three and a half. I had to cop out to a three and a half – the hip-hop cops, they all over me son. They took my bullet proof truck. But I’ll be right back though.All they doing is making me stronger, they don’t even know what they doing. They making me Malcolm X right now.” -Mobb Deep’s Prodigy to after reaching a plea deal that will require him to serve three and half-years behind bars.


T.I. Gets Arrested-This May be deeper Than You Thinkby Davey D & Troy Nkrumah

As I mentioned earlier, we’ve had some disturbing news within Hip Hop. Most notably is the arrest of T.I. Just hours before he was supposed to appear at the BET Hip Hop Awards in Atlanta he got swooped up by the feds who accused him of trying to purchase three machine guns and two silencers as a convicted felon. I got a chance to look at the affidavit leading up to his arrest and it read like something out of made for TV crime drama. From reading it, it seems like T.I. was under the microscope from jump and that he walked right up into a set up. How could dude let this happen on his watch when he has been on a roll with so much about to open up for him?T.I. in recent days is set to be featured in the upcoming movie ‘American Gangsta‘ starring Denzel Washington. He’s been playing prominent roles in these last few award shows. He was recently featured on the Hip Hop vs. America panels put on by BET where he represented his viewpoints quite eloquently. Behind the scenes, T.I. played a big role in the relief efforts for Hurricane Katrina, where he provided money and manpower from his construction company. People who know T.I. have long spoke about him being a cat that has some keen political awareness which wasn’t always reflected in his music, but as he was starting to become more situated in this music industry, the word was that we were going to start hearing T.I. step up and speak out more to address key issues.

This arrest was no doubt not only a big set back for him, but for Hip Hop in general. With T.I. being one of the best and brightest as far what the mainstream presents, his arrest will fuel further speculation and attacks on Hip Hop and its audience. His arrest gets couched in the same vein and used as fodder when we hear people launch attacks and try and be dismissive of the questionable circumstances around Jena 6 defendants like Mychael Bell who was sent back to jail for previous probation violation, the same week T.I. was arrested.

His arrest like it or not overshadows the outrageous hate filled on air commentary from Fox News anchor John Gibson who blamed Hip Hop and Black people for the recent school shooting at an alternative high school in Cleveland, Ohio. Initially he thought the alternative school was one for delinquents and had no idea that it was a school for academically gifted youth. He saw Black faces and just assumed. Next he naturally assumed the shooter was Black and instead of showing some sort of contrition when he discovered the shooter was a white boy who listened to Marilyn Manson, he still tired to blame it on Hip Hop by making rascist comments like ‘the minute I heard the kid shot himself I knew it wasn’t your classic hip hop shooting, because they don’t kill themselves. They shoot and walk away’.

You can hear this madness HERE:

The T.I. arrest no doubt solidifies his position. Before Gibson could seriously be taken to task for his slanderous remarks, we got bombarded with news of the T.I. arrest.T.I.’s arrest along with the off color behavior widely reported about other rap stars including recent scenarios involving Foxy Brown and Sean ‘Diddy’ Combs sadly helps fortify a climate in which paints all of us in a bad light. In other words gone are the days where we could look and say ‘We are Young Gifted and Black’. Instead we get seen as ‘Thugged out and Criminal’. No I’m not blaming T.I. for all our ills, but like it or not him being in the limelight and being dragged off that perch impacts us all.

We caught up with long time activist and lawyer Troy Nkrumah of the National Hip Hop Political Convention. Here’s his astute breakdown of what is going on with T.I.

Although it is still premature to jump out with accusations of COINTELPRO, or in this case RAPINTELPRO, there are a few things that we must keep in perspective regarding this incident with Clifford Harris also known as the rapper/actor/entrepreneur T.I.Having read the Affidavit, the testimonies and reports seem to adequately meet the standards for Probable Cause which in a case like this is required to begin an investigation. That’s if everything in the report is accurate, which there is no way for us to tell at this point until we hear Harris’ side of the story. Nonetheless, there are a few things to keep in mind before we rush to judgement on either side.

1. The Affidavit cites that there is a Confidential Witness (CW) or what we might call a “Snitch“, or what the powers that be might call a “Whistle Blower“, and some other law enforcement agencies call a Confidential Informant (C.I.). Please note that these are all the same things, however the later 3 terms seem to have more negative connotations applied to them. The C.I. was once accepted by most law enforcement agencies but in an attempt to move away from the dozens and dozens of improper use of “informants” around the country, several law enforcement agencies are starting to use the term “witness.”

Witness is a legal term. It is being prematurely used at this point because T.I.’s Body Guard was being used as an Informant/Snitch and not as a witness. A witness to a crime is someone who; see’s, hears, or in some other manner has perceived an event first hand. Having participated directly or indirectly in a crime takes you out of being a witness to it and makes you a party or co-conspirator to that crime, or if you are working for or with law enforcement agencies in the crime then you are working as an “agent” or “informant/snitch”.
It is important to understand these terms because they are used to help convict individuals in the court of public opinion before they even make it to the criminal court.

2. The affidavit states that the Body Guard (or CW) has been working for Harris since July of this year. Personally I find that a little odd and out of the ordinary for someone of Harris’ stature, someone who could build a diverse portfolio of business interests such as he has, to allow someone that’s only been in his organization 2-3 months, to begin doing dirt for him like this. That’s just odd. It is either a sign of Harris’ ignorance and stupidity, or something a little more sinister on the part of the Feds. But we have to wait for more info before we can make that call.

3. Why is it that Harris was comfortable allowing the Body Guard to bring the prior weapons to his house, but then he was so quick to go pick these weapons up. It is hard to believe that Harris was actually going to get several large bags of weapons and put them in his car, then drive to the BET awards, or his Studio or his Home 15 miles away, and then back for the awards. Where ever he was going next, it just does not seem logical that he would carry this amount of weapons around with him all day. But again maybe he was that stupid.

4. A lot of people will say, “this is nothing like COINTELPRO” because the ATF are about regulating the sale of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms. Well let me remind you, that although the FBI orchestrated the Counter Intelligence Program (COINTELPRO), they didn’t directly arrest or have shootouts with the Black Panther Members or other movement organizers in the 60’s and 70’s. They left that work up to other agencies to carry out. Also, the ATF’s history is also a bit dirty with the Waco, Texas debacle back in the 90’s.

5. Also, let us not forget how earlier this year a report came out from the NYPD about surveillance on various Non-political hip hop artists and RnB artists during the Republican National Convention back in 2004. This is part of what we call Rapintelpro. Many popular artists are being followed, reported on and tracked for “political” reasons. That report sited the influence these artists would have if they started becoming political and started speaking on political issues. We are talking about people like, Jay Z, P-Diddy, Alicia Keys, just to name a few that were spied upon by the Rap Police. Another report came out of Miami a few years back showing the surveillance of other popular rappers.

6. Lastly, keep in mind that to date there are over 150 Political Prisoners/Prisoners of War still being held in the United States. I am not referring to people held around the issue of 9/11 or the Wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. but rather individuals who were targeted by COINTELPRO in the 60’s and 70’s. The SF8 is a group that has been re-arrested on some trumped up COINTELPRO inspired charges.
This is not to say that TI was on the same level of any of these freedom fighters that are now locked behind bars, but it is to point out that the government has a long history of setting up Black people and letting the setup go on and on for years before they have enough to take the persons life a way. Yes they use it on people that are threats to the status quo.. but which multi selling rapper is not a potential threat to the status quo?

All of these facts and others need to be kept in mind before we write TI off as another ignorant street rapper who was up to no good. Yes he might not be the brightest person to walk into something like this.. however, until we get all the facts, lets not accept the full truth of the incident based on the Feds Affidavit or the news reports. Those of you who are old enough will remember that a lot of folks thought Joan Chesimard aka Asaata Shakur was guilty after reading a few news reports and police accounts of the shootout. If you don’t know who Joan Chesimard is, well then you might be just as susceptible as TI was if an agent comes to you with some bright idea’s. Know your history or be destined to repeat it.

Below is the affidavit that describes the events leading up to T.I’s arrest


I, Jason S. Stricklin, being duly sworn depose and state the following:

1. Your affiant is currently employed as a Special Agent with the Bureau of Alcohol,Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) assigned to the Atlanta Field Division, Atlanta Group I, and has been so employed since 2005. Your affiant has received training from ATF in the registration, possession, and identification of machineguns and silencers.

Your affiant has conducted and participated in numerous investigations involving Federal firearms violations to include violations of Title 18 and Title 26 of the United States Code. Your affiant’s duties and responsibilities involve investigations of violations of Federal criminal laws and your affiant knows that it is a violation of Title 26, United States Code, Section 5861(d), for any person to receive or possess a firearm that is notregistered to him in the National Firearms Registration and Transfer Record. Your affiant also knows that it is a violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 922(g)for a person previously convicted of a felony to be in possession of a firearm.

2. This affidavit is being filed based on the personal knowledge and observations of the affiant and other law enforcement personnel, and interviews with witnesses, and reviews of government and business records, including records, reports, and information from the
ATF. This affidavit is intended to support probable cause but it is not intended to convey all the facts of the investigation.

3. On October 2, 2007, an employee of a Federal Firearms Licensee (FFL) contacted ATF with information regarding an individual who had been inquiring about purchasing a machine gun without registering the weapon as required by law. This individual, who is now a cooperating individual (hereinafter “CW”), was identified by the FFL by name and other identifying information. ATF Agents provided an undercover cellular phone number for the FFL to give to the CW, and told the FFL to tell the CW the number would contact a person with machine guns for sale. The aforementioned cellular telephone number returned to an ATF agent, acting in an undercover capacity (U/C Agent), posing as a “machine gun” seller/dealer. Within hours of receiving the cellular number, the CW telephoned the U/C and had a discussion about the firearms he (U/C) had available for sale. During the conversation, the CW asked if the firearms were “fully” automatic. The CW told the U/C that he was interested in purchasing the machine guns.

4. On October 10, 2007, the U/C contacted the CW and asked him if he was still interested in meeting to purchase the machine guns. the CW stated that he was and agreed to meet at a K-Mart Shopping Plaza located at 5997 Buford Highway, Doraville, Georgia. At approximately, 4:40 p.m., the CW arrived and met with the U/C to observe the firearms,which were actual machine guns. The CW had a further discussion about the firearms firing “fully” automatic. The CW agreed to exchange $2200 and a Bushmaster, Model C-15, .223 caliber pistol, s/n D10867 for the following firearms: an Ingram, Model M-10, 9mm caliber machine gun, s/n 2-3005561, an SWD Inc., 9mm silencer, s/n N767, a Military Armament Corp., 9mm silencer, s/n 2-2001231, a SWD Inc., Model M-11, 9mm caliber machine gun, s/n 86-0008212 and a H&K, Model SP89, 9mm caliber machine gun, s/n 21-17411.

5. During the meeting between the U/C and the CW, the CW questioned the U/C if he (the CW) would get into trouble if law enforcement caught him in possession of the machine guns. The U/C told the CW that the firearms were not legal to possess without the proper paperwork because they had to be registered. The U/C further told the CW there would be a problem if he were caught with them. The U/C told the CW that the aforementioned firearms did not have the required legal paperwork. The CW indicated that he understood and stated that he wanted to purchase the firearms anyway. The exchange of money and guns then took place. The firearms were not registered to the CW in the National Firearms Registration and Transfer Record, nor had the CW applied for the proper paperwork.

6. Following the transfer of the machine guns from the U/C to the CW, the CW was arrested. After his arrest, the CW agreed to speak with agents. During this and subsequent interviews with the CW, the CW told agents the following:

a. The CW stated that he was purchasing the machine guns on 10/12/07 on behalf of another person. The CW stated that he knew it was illegal for him to possess machine guns without properly registering them. The CW said he was buying the machine guns and silencers for CLIFFORD HARRIS, a/k/a “T.I.” for whom the CW had been working as a bodyguard since July of 2007. The CW admitted to straw purchasing approximately nine (9) firearms for HARRIS and approximately seventeen (17) additional firearms for individuals other than HARRIS. [Review of records of firearms purchases, ATF Forms 4473, has confirmed that the CW has purchased approximately 25 firearms over the last 18 months.] The CW said that HARRIS gave him cash to buy guns for HARRIS on four different occasions.

HARRIS is prohibited from purchasing firearms for himself because he has been convicted of a felony offense, so he asked the CW to purchase the firearms for him (HARRIS). [It is a violation of federal law for a prohibited person, such as a convicted felon, to have another person purchase or acquire firearms for the prohibited person.]

b. On 9/6/07, HARRIS gave the CW cash and asked the CW to buy a Calico 9mm caliber pistol. [The CW is not a convicted felon or otherwise prohibited from purchasing firearms.] The CW bought the pistol at The Gun Store, a federal firearms licensee (FFL), and gave the firearm to HARRIS at his home at 429 Creekview Lane, College Park, Georgia. The CW said that HARRIS resides at 429 Creekview Lane, College Park, Georgia. [Investigation of public records confirmed that 429 Creekview Lane, College Park, Georgia, is a residence associated with HARRIS. This address is within the Northern District of Georgia.] On the same date, when the delivery of the Calico 9mm pistol occurred, HARRIS invited the CW into his bedroom at the house and showed the
CW a safe in his (HARRIS’s) bedroom. The CW observed the safe inside a walkin closet in the bedroom. The safe was tall enough for a person to enter, and the CW witnessed HARRIS open the safe using a fingerprint- reading scanner type lock, and possibly a keypad as well. Inside the safe, the CW saw multiple short rifles. HARRIS showed the CW an assault-type rifle in a black bag inside the safe. HARRIS told the CW the weapon was a machine gun.

c. On 9/18/07, HARRIS gave the CW $1000 in cash and asked him to buy a Smith & Wesson .500 caliber revolver. An associate of HARRIS’s known as
“ALPHAOMEGA” followed the CW to The Gun Store. The CW purchased the revolver at The Gun Store and gave it to “ALPHAOMEGA” to give to HARRIS.

d. On or about 9/26/07, HARRIS called the CW and told him that he (HARRIS)wanted the CW to acquire more firearms for him. HARRIS specifically asked the CW to purchase a Smith & Wesson .460 caliber revolver for him. HARRIS gave $7000 in cash to an associate known as “C-ROD” to give to the CW. The CW went to The Gun Store and purchased 7 firearms, (3 rifles and 4 handguns),including the Smith & Wesson .460 caliber revolver. The CW delivered all 7 firearms to HARRIS at HARRIS’s house on Creekview Lane. After the CW brought the aforementioned 7 firearms to HARRIS’s house, HARRIS directed the CW to bring the guns to HARRIS’s bedroom. The CW gave HARRIS the firearms in HARRIS’s bedroom. The CW observed HARRIS handle the firearms.

[The purchases of firearms by the CW on 9/6/07, 9/18/07, and 9/26/07 were confirmed by ATF agents by reviewing ATF Forms 4473, obtained from The Gun Store.] The CW said that on 10/10/07, HARRIS arranged for the CW to pick up $12,000 in cash from HARRIS’s bank – the SunTrust Bank on Northside Parkway in Atlanta. HARRIS instructed the CW to meet with a specific bank employee to get the cash. The CW went to the bank, met with the bank employee, and was given the cash by that bank employee. HARRIS told the CW to use the funds to purchase machine guns for HARRIS. [Investigation has confirmed that there was a $12,000 cash withdrawal from HARRIS’s account at SunTrust Bank on 10/10/07. And when the CW was arrested later on that same date, 10/10/07, he was in possession of several thousand dollars in cash.]

7. .. being arrested and agreeing to cooperate, the CW agreed to make a consensually monitored phone call to HARRIS. At approximately 9:00 pm, after the CW had called HARRIS and left a message for HARRIS to call the CW, HARRIS’s primary bodyguard called the CW’s cell phone to discuss when the CW was going to be needed to
provide bodyguard services for HARRIS. During this conversation, HARRIS, using his bodyguard’s phone, began to converse with the CW. The CW told HARRIS that he, the CW, had “everything for you,” referring to the machine guns and silencers he had purchased on HARRIS’s behalf. HARRIS replied affirmatively.

8. On 10/12/07 the CW received a consensually monitored call from HARRIS. The CW asked HARRIS when he wanted to take delivery of what the CW had in his possession.

HARRIS requested immediate delivery. After the CW told HARRIS he was not available to deliver immediately, HARRIS told the CW he would take delivery Saturday, October 13, 2007. The CW told agents that he and HARRIS were referring to the firearms purchased by the CW for HARRIS on October 10, 2007.

9. Investigation has revealed that HARRIS is a convicted felon, and is prohibited from possessing firearms. On June 1, 1998, HARRIS was convicted of a Violation of the Georgia Controlled Substances Act in the Superior Court of Cobb County, and received a sentence of 7 years probation. HARRIS has additional arrests and at least one probation
violation for unlawfully possessing firearms.

10. A check of the National Firearms Registration and Transfer Record showed that there is no record of any machine gun or silencer registered to HARRIS.

11. On October 13, 2007, at approximately 10:08 am the CW left a message for HARRIS to call. Between approximately 12:30-1:00 pm, HARRIS called the CW and asked the CW to bring the items to a (recording) studio. The CW suggested instead, as directed by ATF, that they meet at a shopping center parking lot on the corner of Piedmont Avenue and North Avenue in the city of Atlanta, in the Northern District of Georgia. HARRIS told the CW they could meet in about an hour.

12. At approximately 2:22 pm on October 13, 2007, HARRIS arrived at the pre-arranged meeting location. The meeting was consensually recorded. The CW entered the vehicle HARRIS was driving and displayed the silencers and machine guns to HARRIS. When the CW explained the function of one silencer, HARRIS said “no flash no bang.” When the CW showed HARRIS one of the machine guns, HARRIS asked the CW what the “E”
position on the selector switch signified. The CW explained that the “E” stood for semiautomatic function and that “you know what the “F” is for.” HARRIS acknowledged that he did. “F” stands for fully automatic function. HARRIS inquired about ammunition for the firearm, and asked about the capacity of the magazine. HARRIS asked the CW for “change leftover” from the $12,000 he provided the CW to purchase the firearms.

HARRIS was then arrested without incident.

13. A subsequent search located three firearms in the vehicle HARRIS was driving, including one loaded firearm tucked in between the driver’s seat and the center console.

14. At approximately 2:40 pm on October 13, 2007, a federal search warrant was executed at HARRIS’s house at 429 Creekview Lane, College Park, Georgia. In a walk-in closet in the bedroom identified as belonging to HARRIS, agents found a Colt model AR15 .223 caliber rifle, bearing serial number LE033297, a DPMS model AP4 .308 caliber rifle,
bearing serial number 14056, and a Calico model L3 9mm caliber pistol, bearing serial number B004397. Agents have confirmed each of the preceding three firearms were the same as those purchased by the CW for HARRIS on September 6, 2007 and September 26, 2007. Agents also found a Colt .44 magnum revolver, a CAI 7.62 x 39 caliber rifle,and a Bushmaster 5.56 caliber pistol in the same closet in the same bedroom. Some of the firearms were in the closet, and some were inside the closet inside the safe the CW previously described. Agents also found that five of the firearms were loaded.

15. Title 26, United States Code, Chapter 53 requires that machine guns and silencers be registered with the National Firearms Registration and Transfer Record. Title 26, United States Code, Section 5845 defines the firearms to be registered according to this chapter, and included in section 5845(a)(6) a machine gun and section 5845(a)(7) any silencer.

Title 26, United States Code, Section 5861(d), makes it unlawful for any person “to receive or possess a firearm which is not registered to him in the National Firearms Registration and Transfer Record.” Title 18, United States Code, Section 922(g) makes it unlawful for any person who has been convicted of a felony offense to possess, in or affecting commerce, firearms.

16. All of the firearms recovered were manufactured in whole or part outside the State of Georgia, and, therefore, moved in or affected interstate commerce.

17. Based on the foregoing facts your affiant respectfully submits that probable cause exists to believe that CLIFFORD HARRIS has committed the offense of possession of unregistered machine guns and silencers, in violation of Title 26, United States Code, Section 5861(d); and of possessing firearms in or affecting interstate commerce, after having been convicted of a felony, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 922(g).

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Posted: October 25, 2007 in Uncategorized

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