DJ Drama raid shines spotlight on record industry’s hypocrisy

by Carmen Van Kerckhove

Last week, the Atlanta police took a SWAT team to raid the offices of DJ Drama, one of the top mixtape producers in the industry. He and his partner Cannon were held without bail, and the police seized 81,000 CDs, as well as their recording equipment. The raid is speculated to have been prompted by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA).

What’s fascinating about this case is that while these mixtapes usually use beats without legal permission, in actuality, the record industry has always implicitly or sometimes even explicitly supported mixtapes, because of their ability to launch new artists. From 33jones, who has a great analysis of the story:

…record executives are just as implicit as Drama in the whole mixtape game. I receive numerous emails from label reps that mention the mixtapes that their artists are appearing on, and I have been sent leaked singles from upcoming albums from labels’ p.r. staffs. Where do you think these mixtape djs are getting all of their “exclusives” from? Yet you will never see a record label executive charged with what Drama is facing. Its ok for the execs to make some illicit money off of the underground market, but once someone outside of the system starts earning money off of it, its time to call in the SWAT team.

Also, check out Jay Smooth’s vlog entry below in which he breaks down the idiocy of the way this story has been handled in the mainstream media (though The New York Times seems to have gotten it right in the article they ran earlier this week):

[If you’re reading this in an RSS reader and can’t view the video, please click on the post title.]

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Racialicious is a blog about the intersection of race and pop culture. Check out our daily updates on the latest celebrity gaffes, our no-holds-barred critique of questionable media representations, and of course, the inevitable Keanu Reeves John Cho newsflashes.

Latoya Peterson (DC) is the Owner and Editor (not the Founder!) of Racialicious, Arturo García (San Diego) is the Managing Editor, Andrea Plaid (NYC) is the Associate Editor. You can email us at

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