Sunday, May 20, 2012

The Secret Meeting That Changed HipHop

anonymous person image from Bobby Owsinski's Big Picture production blog
Here's a pretty fantastic story that I'm not sure is true, but it sure is interesting, especially if you believe in conspiracies. It's based on an anonymous post on the blog where the poster states that he was formerly a high-level major record label exec who was invited to a mysterious private meeting in 1991 along with 25 or so other execs from the music business.

During the meeting the execs were urged to change their signing emphasis to acts that promoted criminal behavior and activity (Gangsta rap). The reason? The owners of the record companies had silently invested in private prisons, and it was good business to keep those prisons filled!

Here's a sample of the post.
"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 employees, 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."
I didn't know what private prisons were either but I did a little research and found out that it is indeed a huge business. Used by 30 states, one company (Corrections Corporations of America) is attempting to corner the market in 48 states as long as the states will guarantee them the prisons will remain 90% full! In fact, private prisons in 2009 housed 17 times more inmates than they did in 1989.

So I must admit I don't know what to believe. If it's true, it's a said indictment of our business and culture. If it's not, it still goes to show what a huge business prisons have become at the expense of our youth. Either way, we can't win.

Read the entire article here.

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Nathan Wills said...

Considering the most mainstream music isn't, wise, deep, intellectually well, emotionally balance, karmically clear. This I wouldn't say I believe, but doesn't surprise me at all.

The Mixmaster said...

I don't buy it. To fill prisons all they would have to do is have politicians change laws and add stiffer or longer sentences to popular crimes. Why risk a "hero" defecting from a group of 25 people when you can pay off a few already shady people in office?


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