Jay Z '90s Master Tapes Center of Bizarre Extortion Plot

Recordings valued at upwards of $20 million were hidden for a decade

Jay Z, extortion
Jay Z's used to people trying to get rich off of his name (cross-reference: carpool lanes) PHOTO BY GETTY IMAGES
WRITTEN BY
John Surico

Sounds like there's a tinge of corruption in Jay Z's empire. According to TMZ, a producer was recently apprehended by the Los Angeles Police Department for allegedly stealing master recordings made by the rap star and subsequently attempting to extort others affiliated with Hov. The tapes were recorded for Roc-A-Fella Records in the late 1990s and are valued at upwards of $20 million — a fraction of the rapper's total wealth, naturally.

The masters went missing in 2002, though at the time no one suspected they were stolen — let alone that producer Chauncey Mahan, who worked for Jigga from '98 to '02, had them hiding in a Northridge, California storage facility for over 10 years. That's where they were when Mahan recently contacted concert promoter Live Nation, who have a partnership with Jay, and proposed they pay a $100,000 "storage fee" to keep him from auctioning off the goods.

Hov's people contacted the LAPD before setting up a meeting with Mahan at the tapes' resting place. The producer wasn't arrested, but he agreed to come in for questioning on alleged extortion charges, and to give the masters to a judge until ownership was determined. Jay Z's people have issued a grand larceny complaint against Mahan in New York, but that investigation is ongoing. No word from Hov himself — we expect a response once he's done with his fondue.

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