Engineer Chauncey Mahan detained after reportedly demanding money for safe return of rapper's master tapes
A hip-hop engineer is being investigated for trying to extort $100,000 (£59,000) from Jay Z in return for some of the rapper's master tapes. Chauncey Mahan has denied he was holding the music ransom, calling Jay Z "a stupid kid smoking blunts" who didn't take proper care of his recordings.
Mahan's cache of music reportedly dates back to between 1998 and 2002, when he assisted on albums including Vol 3 ... Life & Times of S Carter and The Dynasty: Roc La Familia. Mahan told TMZ that the rapper's label instructed him to hold on to the masters for songs such as Big Pimpin' and I Just Wanna Love U (Give It 2 Me). He claims he repeatedly asked Def Jam to take back the material, but said they "blew him off".
Last week, Mahan reportedly contacted Live Nation, Jay Z's partner in his entertainment company, Roc Nation, saying he would sell the masters at auction unless he received a $100,000 "storage fee". Jay Z's reps negotiated the price down to $75,000 (£45,000), according to TMZ. Then, instead of handing over the money, they sent in the police, who took the masters and questioned Mahan but have yet to press charges.
Mahan allegedly let police take the tapes, and is waiting for a judge to determine who has legal ownership of them.
One hip-hop producer took to Twitter to describe Mahan's work with Jay Z. "Chauncey [kept] effing up," alleges Just Blaze, as the website All Hip-Hop reported. "This guy ruined every tape transfer for the Dynasty album."
According to All Music, Mahan's most recent recording credit was as an engineer and mixer on Jay Z and Linkin Park's 2004 album and DVD Collision Course.
guardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010