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RAP’S DESIGN

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Music Industry Exec Says Gangsta Rap is Designed to Send Black People to Prison

Hello,

After more than 20 years, I’ve finally decided to tell the world what I witnessed in 1991, which I believe was one of the biggest turning point in popular music, and ultimately American society. I have struggled for a long time weighing the pros and cons of making this story public as I was reluctant to implicate the individuals who were present that day. So I’ve simply decided to leave out names and all the details that may risk my personal well being and that of those who were, like me, dragged into something they weren’t ready for.

Between the late 80′s and early 90’s, I was what you may call a “decision maker” with one of the more established company in the music industry. I came from Europe in the early 80’s and quickly established myself in the business. The industry was different back then. Since technology and media weren’t accessible to people like they are today, the industry had more control over the public and had the means to influence them anyway it wanted.

This may explain why in early 1991, I was invited to attend a closed door meeting with a small group of music business insiders to discuss rap music’s new direction. Little did I know that we would be asked to participate in one of the most unethical and destructive business practice I’ve ever seen.

The meeting was held at a private residence on the outskirts of Los Angeles. I remember about 25 to 30 people being there, most of them familiar faces. Speaking to those I knew, we joked about the theme of the meeting as many of us did not care for rap music and failed to see the purpose of being invited to a private gathering to discuss its future.

Among the attendees was a small group of unfamiliar faces who stayed to themselves and made no attempt to socialize beyond their circle. Based on their behavior and formal appearances, they didn’t seem to be in our industry. Our casual chatter was interrupted when we were asked to sign a confidentiality agreement preventing us from publicly discussing the information presented during the meeting. Needless to say, this intrigued and in some cases disturbed many of us.

The agreement was only a page long but very clear on the matter and consequences which stated that violating the terms would result in job termination. We asked several people what this meeting was about and the reason for such secrecy but couldn’t find anyone who had answers for us. A few people refused to sign and walked out. No one stopped them. I was tempted to follow but curiosity got the best of me. A man who was part of the “unfamiliar” group collected the agreements from us.

Quickly after the meeting began, one of my industry colleagues (who shall remain nameless like everyone else) thanked us for attending. He then gave the floor to a man who only introduced himself by first name and gave no further details about his personal background. I think he was the owner of the residence but it was never confirmed. He briefly praised all of us for the success we had achieved in our industry and congratulated us for being selected as part of this small group of “decision makers”. At this point I begin to feel slightly uncomfortable at the strangeness of this gathering.

The subject quickly changed as the speaker went on to tell us that the respective companies we represented had invested in a very profitable industry which could become even more rewarding with our active involvement. He explained that the companies we work for had invested millions into the building of privately owned prisons and that our positions of influence in the music industry would actually impact the profitability of these investments. I remember many of us in the group immediately looking at each other in confusion. At the time, I didn’t know what a private prison was but I wasn’t the only one.

Sure enough, someone asked what these prisons were and what any of this had to do with us. We were told that these prisons were built by privately owned companies who received funding from the government based on the number of inmates. The more inmates, the more money the government would pay these prisons. It was also made clear to us that since these prisons are privately owned, as they become publicly traded, we’d be able to buy shares. Most of us were taken back by this.

Again, a couple of people asked what this had to do with us. At this point, my industry colleague who had first opened the meeting took the floor again and answered our questions. He told us that since our employers had become silent investors in this prison business, it was now in their interest to make sure that these prisons remained filled. Our job would be to help make this happen by marketing music which promotes criminal behavior, rap being the music of choice. He assured us that this would be a great situation for us because rap music was becoming an increasingly profitable market for our companies, and as employee, we’d also be able to buy personal stocks in these prisons. Immediately, silence came over the room. You could have heard a pin drop. I remember looking around to make sure I wasn’t dreaming and saw half of the people with dropped jaws.

My daze was interrupted when someone shouted, “Is this a f****** joke?” At this point things became chaotic. Two of the men who were part of the “unfamiliar” group grabbed the man who shouted out and attempted to remove him from the house. A few of us, myself included, tried to intervene. One of them pulled out a gun and we all backed off. They separated us from the crowd and all four of us were escorted outside. My industry colleague who had opened the meeting earlier hurried out to meet us and reminded us that we had signed agreement and would suffer the consequences of speaking about this publicly or even with those who attended the meeting.

I asked him why he was involved with something this corrupt and he replied that it was bigger than the music business and nothing we’d want to challenge without risking consequences. We all protested and as he walked back into the house I remember word for word the last thing he said, “It’s out of my hands now. Remember you signed an agreement.” He then closed the door behind him. The men rushed us to our cars and actually watched until we drove off.

A million things were going through my mind as I drove away and I eventually decided to pull over and park on a side street in order to collect my thoughts. I replayed everything in my mind repeatedly and it all seemed very surreal to me. I was angry with myself for not having taken a more active role in questioning what had been presented to us. I’d like to believe the shock of it all is what suspended my better nature.

After what seemed like an eternity, I was able to calm myself enough to make it home. I didn’t talk or call anyone that night. The next day back at the office, I was visibly out of it but blamed it on being under the weather. No one else in my department had been invited to the meeting and I felt a sense of guilt for not being able to share what I had witnessed. I thought about contacting the 3 others who wear kicked out of the house but I didn’t remember their names and thought that tracking them down would probably bring unwanted attention.

I considered speaking out publicly at the risk of losing my job but I realized I’d probably be jeopardizing more than my job and I wasn’t willing to risk anything happening to my family. I thought about those men with guns and wondered who they were? I had been told that this was bigger than the music business and all I could do was let my imagination run free. There were no answers and no one to talk to. I tried to do a little bit of research on private prisons but didn’t uncover anything about the music business’ involvement. However, the information I did find confirmed how dangerous this prison business really was.

Days turned into weeks and weeks into months. Eventually, it was as if the meeting had never taken place. It all seemed surreal. I became more reclusive and stopped going to any industry events unless professionally obligated to do so. On two occasions, I found myself attending the same function as my former colleague. Both times, our eyes met but nothing more was exchanged.

As the months passed, rap music had definitely changed direction. I was never a fan of it but even I could tell the difference. Rap acts that talked about politics or harmless fun were quickly fading away as gangster rap started dominating the airwaves. Only a few months had passed since the meeting but I suspect that the ideas presented that day had been successfully implemented. It was as if the order has been given to all major label executives.

The music was climbing the charts and most companies when more than happy to capitalize on it. Each one was churning out their very own gangster rap acts on an assembly line. Everyone bought into it, consumers included. Violence and drug use became a central theme in most rap music. I spoke to a few of my peers in the industry to get their opinions on the new trend but was told repeatedly that it was all about supply and demand. Sadly many of them even expressed that the music reinforced their prejudice of minorities.

I officially quit the music business in 1993 but my heart had already left months before. I broke ties with the majority of my peers and removed myself from this thing I had once loved. I took some time off, returned to Europe for a few years, settled out of state, and lived a “quiet” life away from the world of entertainment.

As the years passed, I managed to keep my secret, fearful of sharing it with the wrong person but also a little ashamed of not having had the balls to blow the whistle. But as rap got worse, my guilt grew. Fortunately, in the late 90’s, having the internet as a resource which wasn’t at my disposal in the early days made it easier for me to investigate what is now labeled the prison industrial complex. Now that I have a greater understanding of how private prisons operate, things make much more sense than they ever have.

I see how the criminalization of rap music played a big part in promoting racial stereotypes and misguided so many impressionable young minds into adopting these glorified criminal behaviors which often lead to incarceration. Twenty years of guilt is a heavy load to carry but the least I can do now is to share my story, hoping that fans of rap music realize how they’ve been used for the past 2 decades. Although I plan on remaining anonymous for obvious reasons, my goal now is to get this information out to as many people as possible. Please help me spread the word. Hopefully, others who attended the meeting back in 1991 will be inspired by this and tell their own stories. Most importantly, if only one life has been touched by my story, I pray it makes the weight of my guilt a little more tolerable.

Thank you.

18 Responses to RAP’S DESIGN

  • Agree to Disagree says:

    This is real heavy, but definately believeable in this day and age, posted it onto my facebook page, can’t wait to read the reactions, I wonder if the blackmen who live the stereotype gangster life will take any off this in, and hopefully please God, decide not to play the gamr no more, wishful thinking!! and if it is true the Latino’s actually have a prison subculture……

  • Agree to Disagree says:
  • Dwrl says:

    DESIGN TO SEND DUMB BLACK PEOPLE TO PRISON CORRECTION

  • Anonymous says:

    brilliant article Met, this is quite profound, not to mention how frightening as well. Wow!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • sweet says:

    THIS TACTIC ALONG WITH FLOODING THE INNER CITIES WITH CRACK COCAINE AND GUNS, HAS ACHIEVED THE GOAL OF THE OWNERS OF THE NEW PRIVATE PRISON SYSTEM.

  • Met says:

    thanks to the sender foxy always on the money wid reading etc

  • Met says:

    sweet whey u mean by private prison system?????????? capitalism is something else innit

  • Foxy Lady says:

    Thanks for that very potent comment @Sweet.
    Met the government guaranteed the corporations that own the prisons 90% occupancy so they have to criminalize guns and everything else to find more reasons to imprison black men.
    The prisons are all privately owned, yet tax payer money support the prisoners. It cost $50,000 a year to house a prison, yet we spend $8000 a year on a student.
    AT&T makes $40 million a year off inmates collect calls alone.
    The designer jeans called Prison Blues are made in prison and prisoners only get paid 28cents an hour.
    Most of our customer service calls, if you didn’t know are being answered by prisoners. They have call centers set up in prison.
    Slavery didn’t end, it’s just legal now.
    It’s a big money maker and at the same token, when you lock away the fathers, the sons are almost guaranteed to end up the same place.
    One major set up.

    (and when they call it conspiracy theory, it just means they don’t read.)

  • Foxy Lady says:

    Met here is the NBC article about prison call centers. Imagine how much money they are making when they would have to pay regular employees $10 or whatever it is, compared to paying prisoners 28 cents an hour, they have no sick days, no paid vacation, no unemployment benefits, no health insurance etc.

    By msnbc.com staff and NBC News

    WNYT-TV

    Inmates at Greene Correctional Institution in Coxsackie, N.Y., staff a state Department of Motor Vehicles call center.

    When you call a company or government agency for help, there’s a good chance the person on the other end of the line is a prison inmate.

    The federal government calls it “the best-kept secret in outsourcing” — providing inmates to staff call centers and other services in both the private and public sectors.

    The U.S. government, through a 75-year-old program called Federal Prison Industries, makes about $750 million a year providing prison labor, federal records show. The great majority of those contracts are with other federal agencies for services as diverse as laundry, construction, data conversion and manufacture of emergency equipment.

    But the program also markets itself to businesses under a different name, Unicor, providing commercial market and product-related services. Unicor made about $10 million from “other agencies and customers” in the first six months of fiscal year 2011 (the most recent period for which official figures are available), according to an msnbc.com analysis of its sales records.
    Advertise | AdChoices

    The Justice Department and the U.S. Bureau of Prisons don’t break down which companies they do business with. But Unicor said inmates provide private call center service, including data review and sales lead generation, for “some of the top companies in America” under a federal mandate to help companies repatriate jobs they have outsourced overseas.

    In a fact sheet, Unicor asserts that prisoners in the program are less likely to re-offend and are better trained for full-time work upon release. All revenue goes back into the program, which “operates at no cost to the taxpayer,” it says.

    The idea has filtered down to some of the states, among them Georgia, Arizona and New York.

    When New York residents call the Department of Motor Vehicles, for example, they might get an inmate at Greene Correctional Institution in Coxsackie, near Albany, or at Bedford Hills Correctional Facility for Women near White Plains, on the border with Connecticut.

    “Obviously, it saves taxpayer dollars,” Brian Fischer, commissioner of the state Corrections and Community Supervision Department, told NBC station WNYT of Albany. “Number two, it provides what we call a transferable skill.”

    Besides saving the state money, said Elizabeth Glazer, the state’s deputy secretary for public safety, the program is “an investment in our state’s overall safety.”

    “When we help offenders build the workforce skills necessary to find viable employment after incarceration, we lessen the chances they will reoffend and end up back in the state’s prison system,” she said.

    The corrections department acknowledged that callers aren’t told they’re talking to a state prisoner. But they stressed that callers are protected — no personal information is displayed to the prisoners, who don’t have access to computers, officials said.

    In the private sector, states usually partner with business-to-business firms to run the services — the companies provide the equipment and facilities, and the state provides the labor. One such firm is Televerde, a Phoenix company that partners with the Arizona prison system to provide marketing services for major companies that have included Hitachi and Microsoft.

    In a marketing paper, Microsoft says companies like Televerde “can reduce the burden on corporate marketing and local marketing teams can have more meaningful interactions with their customers.” (Msnbc.com is a joint venture of Microsoft and NBC News.)

    For inmates, the appeal isn’t the pay, which can be as low as 50 cents an hour. It’s the training and the opportunity: “A lot of times, we need to feel like we are appreciated, and it builds self-esteem,” John Howard of Brooklyn, N.Y., an inmate at Greene, told WNYT.

    “It allows me the opportunity to speak to different people of different nationalities, regardless of what ethnicity, and it makes me feel like ‘Wow, I can do better,'” he said.

  • sweet says:

    @MET, YOU DON’T HAVE TO BE A GENIUS TO SEE THE POLITICAL AND CAPITALISTIC DESIGN. I AM OLD ENOUGH TO REMEMBER HOW ALL OF A SUDDEN WEED BECAME A SCARCITY. AND COKE AND CRACK WAS OH SO EASY TO GET AND THE FACT THAT THE MONEY WAS 100% PROFIT MARGIN. MAN WHO USED TO DEAL INNA GANJA, JUST FLIP TO CRACK. THE AVAILABILITY OF GUNS ON THE STREETS OF THE INNER CITIES TRIPLED. THERE ARE NO LANDING STRIPS IN COMPTON, BROOKLYN, DC. SO HOW DID ALL THESE DRUGS ENTER THE COUNTRY? I REMEMBER THE IRAN CONTRA AFFAIR. SO I AM WELL AWARE OF WHAT THIS GOVERNMENT IS CAPABLE OF DOING, AND UNDOING. IT’S NOT JUST THE BLACK PEOPLE WHO ARE FALLING PREY, 2 JUDGES HAVE BEEN INDICTED FOR TAKING TWO MILLION DOLLARS IN KICK BACK FOR SENDING JUVENILE OFFENDERS TO JAIL FOR THE SIMPLEST INFRACTION, AND THEN WHEN THE KIDS SENTENCE WAS OVER THEY STILL FOUND A WAY TO PROLONG THEIR SENTENCES. THE ONLY REASON THIS WAS DISCOVERED IS BECAUSE THESE WHERE WHITE CHILDREN. NOW THE JUDGES ARE DOING TIME. WHEN THESE HEATHENS IN POWERFUL POSITIONS AND PLACES ARE PLOTTING OUR FUTURE IN BOARD ROOMS BEHIND CLOSED DOORS, THEY NEVER THINK SHORT TERM. THEY THINK ABOUT A 50 YR AFFECT. YOU KNOW WHAA MEK I JUST :travel

  • Foxy Lady says:

    Mind them label you conspiracy theorist because yuh read @ Sweet.

    But yes, I remember quite vividly those two judges. They were sentencing the juveniles to lengthy prison sentences because they were being paid by the corporations that own the juvenile facilities to keep it occupied. They have been imprisoned.

  • Foxy Lady says:

    Met, you know this is one of the reasons it hurts me so much when I see these black men handing over their freedoms to go slave for the corporations for many many years all for a few years of hype life and clothes. And the truth be told, their little dancehall hype and some brandname is no life at all.

    Do you know how many days I get up and not even phone gets answered? Let alone to be forced to get up at 5am and go to work for Mr Rich man? No way in hell!

  • Little Willie says:

    The three strikes rule, implemented and enforced by the Regan administration, was to ensure lengthy prison sentences for minor offenses. Thus keeping the private prisons fully ” stocked”. Many judges have expressed their opposition to this Law, but have not been able to get it overturned. It is widely believed should this Law be overturned, one third of the prison population would have to be released.

  • Tawkchuet says:

    I have been watching n realizing this trend for awhile now, I remember the case of the two judges n every day my ppl get up n bury themselves more n more into this slavery we are being slowly killed as a race (genocide) just that its been done in ways we are made to think is “innocent ” smh

  • soap opera says:

    Corcraft is another company, the employees are prisoners that make the desk and chairs for the state employees. License plates are also made in prison.

  • HIGHLY CONCERNED says:

    Very good article met, very good. I too remembered the case with the judges, very vivid in my memory.. And whether i’m crazy or not, u notice how drug crimes now carry a longer sentence than sick perverted crimes like rape and child-molestation..More minority people commit drug related crimes, go figure!.

  • Anonymous says:

    Bun d media all ova weh join wid d devils to keep black ppl in a deep sleep

  • talkthetruth says:

    I love this article Met, it just confirms what we already know but still a good read. I hope it wakes ppl up even 1 person is better than none!

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