What’s good. So by now many of you have heard of the 16th January arrest of DJ Drama and DJ Cannon on racketeering charges, discount for nothing more than putting out a popular series of artist-(and generally, rehabilitation label-) sanctioned mixtapes. And while this event may very well have chilling effects on the industry and the way we get music, I think it’s important to not overlook some of the fundamental issues behind this event: the refusal of an industry to let its originators – artists and businesspeople of Color – to create and market our own art on our own terms.

Fortunately one of the first people to speak out against this arrest and its justifications was DJ Drama’s own sister, Aishah Shahidah Simmons, who penned an editorial that appeared, among other places, on allhiphop.com. We managed to connect a little while ago, and what resulted is the interview you are about to listen to here.

And as Aishah mentioned in the interview, one of the first, best, and easiest ways to do something about this is to let your voice be heard.

Here’s the contact information for the RIAA in case you want to reach out and touch somebody:

RIAA Contact Information*

Mitch Bainwol: Chairman and CEO of the RIAA

Cary Sherman: President of the RIAA

Matthew Kilgo, the person who oversaw the raid (as seen on this newscast).

or the default address: webmaster@riaa.com

RIAA Phone Lines

These phone numbers are guaranteed to work:
RIAA Headquarters – (202) 775-0101
RIAA Miami Offices – (305) 444-3114 extension 11

Again – your purchasing power pays these people’s salaries, so you have a right to voice your opinion about how your music is made available.

As always, feel free to link this site up, direct link to the

Listen to
of the inteview, share it, burn it, whatever – and your comments are welcome in the comments section. Also, this program is FCC clean, so program directors, feel free to re-air this on your local college/community station.

You can learn more about Aishah Simmons, including her acclaimed documentary, NO!, at her personal site, myspace.com/afrolez. Aishah, again, thanks for your time and insight.

Well, that’s enough troublemaking from me for today. Let me know how you felt this episode. And of course, the MTSN phone lines are always open – (310) 928 MTSN. Peace.

And also, shoutouts to the artists whose instrumentals contributed to this episode as well:
J Dilla – Over The Breaks
Smif N Wessun – Like A Champion
Clan Destined – The Language
Brother Ali – Original King
Kenny Keys – Untitled
Black Milk – Say Something
P.O.S. – Broken Hearts Club (damn!)

Also, please bear in mind that all comments made here by me are mine and mine alone – neither Aishah Simmons nor any member of the Aphilliates Music Group have anything to do with what I say or post on this site.

* Since the RIAA site doesn’t give out any contact information whatsoever on their site other than the webmaster email, these email addresses are the result of deduction and other trickery – so they may or may not be read. The webmaster one, however, and the phone numbers are a sure bet. Just don’t tell ‘em your favorite hip-hop podcast sent you.


  1. It’s a damn shame but,once again this is another wake-up call for our people period! If they can’t get us/keep us down one way….they’ll make another. I don’t believe that the riaa or the fed’s didn’t know the kind of music drama & cannon make.it’s enough sell-out’s out here that would help them for a price….i feel they thought i would be gun’s & drug’s in the studio and that would legitimize there raid! This the first of many steps to control the mixtape game now. They no the best way to help distroy a race(black,latinos etc.) is too kill there way to reproduce them selfs! This would be a great time for artist,dj’s,& producers to boycott label who don’t support mixtape dj’s! We should have understood what MASTER P. & CASHMONEY and others were doing….even if it’s back to selling out the back of your trucks! Stop needing the labels advance money or there promo dollars…and start having some faith and organization and put all these dollars together that we make and form something the labels/industry can’t control! PEACE!

  2. “As always, feel free to link this site up, direct link to the mp3 of the inteview, share it, burn it, whatever”
    It’s nice of you to give people permission to use your work. Of course, if they REALLY want to use it badly, then they should be able to use it without your permission, so really that’s just a hollow gesture. Getting permission to use other people’s stuff. What a quaint little idea.

  3. DJHOT – damn, it’s been a minute since I’ve seen anybody selling something worthwhile out the back of their trunk. I agree though – there are alternative methods, and people need to start using them.

    Chris – hey, junior, you wanna tone the sarcasm down a little bit and rephrase? I don’t want to misconstrue any sort of point you may be trying to make.

  4. I’m afraid I can’t help on the sarcasm thing, but you have my permission to miscontrue my writings in any way you desire.

  5. lol, internet war. Okay, I’ll bite.

    On the me giving permission to use my work, I’ve always done that, from the beginning. Me mentioning that is just for convenience for people who may be checking the site/show for the first time.

    And I’m going to guess that you were taking some sort of sideways shot at Drama’s mixtapes. If you listened to the interview, or have listened to any of the Gangsta Grillz mixtapes (I’m no expert but I have a couple of them), the tapes are artist-sanctioned. A good portion of the tracks are freestyles and original tracks, and the tapes are more often than not used with artist approval and at least tacit approval of the labels. This is generally the case with any prominent mixtape DJ.

    Or did I miss something?

  6. I was actually aiming for minor skirmish, not war. I guess I missed. The tapes being sanctioned by the artists is nice. Unfortunately, many of them signed away their rights to give permission to use their works(along with their soul, firstborn, and pound of flesh nearest the heart) when they signed with the label. I assume from the arrest, that at least some of the labels disagree that they gave tacit approval. To the extent that permission is granted by the appropriate party, there’s no issue to discuss. If the labels are sending mixed signals about permission, then shame on them. Our positions on this matter are probably identical. If everyone did like you and made it clear what people may and may not do with their work, 99% of copyright problems would disappear. The problems start because even though 99% of people would have no problem with their stuff being used(I’m talking about all works, such as pictures, stories, and essays, not just music), since we don’t know who the other 1% are, we’re afraid of using anything. I see this as a communications problem more than a legal one. If the labels and publishers could get their acts together like the artists in giving permission, there would be plenty of mixable music to go around. An example of how this could work is here: http://www.wired.com/wired/archive/12.11/sample.html . I hope the courts do decide that Drama had permission for everything and penalizes the labels enough money that they figure out a way to make the system work. Barring that, everyone going independent so we can deal one-on-one would be nice. I know I inflamed emotions perhaps more than necessary, but this viewpoint almost never gets any airtime in these venues, so I wanted to attract attention. Thank you for the use of the soapbox.

  7. Thank you!!! Chris is right on the money when he said “everyone going independent so we can deal one-on-one would be nice” That is something that needs to take place to change the game. Yes, as we all know the situation was an unfortunate one, however this will continue due to the contracts signed by the artist to major record labels. It all boils down to money, who gets it and how much. We need to work together (I know it’s hard) but that is the only way this thing can work. How do you think this situation came to pass? The powers to be WORKED TOGETHER!

  8. Let me go ahead and paraphrase Chris here in about 300 fewer words:

    What up Dex: I thought I’d show up and be dick to you on your own messageboard so I can make a longwinded point about the way things should work, instead of the way things actually are. I might even have a valid point or two, but either way it’s going to be marred by the fact I go out of my way to start some shit by calling your interview a ‘hollow gesture’ and say you miss the point before I actually get around to making it.

    props to dex for not deleting you in the first place. christ.

  9. Wow, the testosterone is flowing. But yeah, good show. The sad thing is the prejudice is just getting worse with time. Be it hip hop or other means, they’re constantly using what we have accomplished for ourselves to put us down. Music is music, not drug dealing with weapons. It makes no sense to assume otherwise. Then again, the music videos on television don’t help the image. Hopefully this is a wake-up call.

  10. Testosterone? Well, we are talking about rap here. =/

    On the real, though, Sara, I agree. I think this is going to be a wake-up call in more than one way – like we said in the interview, this is going to change a lot of things.

    Chris – no worries, no “inflamed emotions” here. I remember when that Wired joint dropped, and it was cool. I feel like the industry is changing no matter what – we may very well be moving towards the model that you and Khadijah are talking about, because really a lot of the value that major record companies used to bring to the table simply isn’t necessary anymore. This is an instance of the opposite – independents doing something that majors just aren’t capable of doing – and getting raided for their efforts. Regardless of the outcome, people are going to keep this in mind when they start promoting their next projects.

    Again, though, this is getting a relatively large amount of airtime in comparison to the issue of Kilgo&Company rolling through with guns and dogs because they thought somebody was copying music.

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  14. wuz up wit’cha dj drama im platinum i got my own rap group tgs trill gangsta sqaud im tring to get a mixtape wit’cha my rap members are melvo and rip show well git back at me when u git dis message

  15. Now, come on platinum I know you are trying to do your thing, but on the real this is definitely not the appropriate venue for that.

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