Extortion and Theft added to the list of Jay Z’s ‘99 Problems

May 2014

Artists, sound recordings


Chauncey Mahan, a producer who worked with rapper Shawn Carter, better known as Jay Z, between 1998 and 2002 was detained and taken into an LAPD station for questioning on 18 April 2014, for allegations of theft and extortion. The allegations centre on the fact that the producer was apparently in possession of several master recordings of Jay Z’s work, valued to be at the least worth $15 million. The issue being that Jay Z and ‘his people’ were under the impression that the master recordings in question had been lost when they went missing in 2002. Things appeared to sour quickly for the producer when he involved the entertainment company that is famous for its concert sales, Live Nation.

Live Nation created its strong link to Jay Z in 2008, when it partnered with the 17 time Grammy Award winning rapper to create the global entertainment company and record label, Roc Nation, distributed by Universal Music Group.

Mahan is said to have contacted Live Nation stating that he was in possession of several master recordings and that Live Nation could acquire these for a mere $100,000.00. But Mahan attempted to justify his price as a ‘storage fee’; evidently, harbouring allegedly stolen goods is an expensive pass time. Mahan then proceeded to explain that, failing Live Nation’s purchase of the rare recordings, he would simply auction them off to the highest bidder. Seemingly not content with the bargain offered by Mahan, Live Nation proceeded to enter into negotiations regarding the price and it has been reported that Mahan settled on giving up ‘his’ collection for $75,000.00. On that basis, Live Nation and Mahan made arrangements to make the exchange at Mahan’s storage unit in California where the recordings were kept.

It has been reported that the plot thickened like an episode of Scooby-Do, when the Live Nation representatives that went to meet Mahan were accompanied by LAPD Officers. The LAPD proceeded to take Mahan into questioning and confiscated the recordings until a Judge can determine ownership of the recordings.

It should be noted that since Mahan was taken in for questioning, it has been further reported that he has not been arrested and Mahan stated that he repeatedly communicated to Jay Z’s infamous ‘people’ that he always had the recordings. Additionally, it has been said that Mahan only asked for a ‘storage fee’ when he could no longer afford to pay for the safekeeping of the records. Though, on that basis, the inquisitive among us may wonder whether Mahan would have auctioned the records off if Live Nation had failed to show, taken his ‘storage fee’ from the highest bidder’s purchase price before paying the difference to Jay Z?

The allegations against Mahan of theft and extortion of Jay Z are being investigated and it may be that the whole thing is an extremely unfortunate misunderstanding. Watch this space.

This Update from Leeza Panayiotu




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