UPDATE (7/9): Well, here's an unexpected twist to an already bizarre story. After being accused by Jay Z and his posse of stealing and planning an extortion plot regarding master recordings of early Hov work, sound engineer Chauncey Mahan has hit the rapper and Roc Nation with a lawsuit demanding copyright ownership.
According to THR, "For about 15 years, the masters, outtakes, and other unpublished material remained on Mahan's computer hard drive. The sound engineer considered himself to be the custodian, and asserts that Def Jam and UMG record label execs who were administering the Roc-A-Fella imprint had knowledge of his possession." Get the full story below.
Original Story (4/22): News broke earlier this week of an alleged extortion plot that involves masters of classic Jay Z albums tangled up. The only thing certain is this situation is a confusing mess, and now Hova producer Just Blaze is tweeting truth to the incident—and the guy who allegedly tried (and failed) to collect a ransom on these masters.
Here's the gist: A number of Roc-A-Fella masters disappeared in 2002, and Jay Z and company assumed that the recordings were lost. The tapes included material recorded between 1998-2000, which overlaps with the production timeframe of The Blueprint and The Blueprint 2, along with other recordings. Engineer Chauncey Mahan and Just Blaze were working with Jay throughout this time period.
Last Friday, Mahan allegedly approached concert promoter Live Nation—with whom Jay Z has a joint venture via Roc Nation—and offered them some options regarding the not-so-missing masters. They could either purchase the tapes he was storing in a Northridge, CA facility for $100,000, or he'd put the masters up for auction.
TMZ reports that Mahan took $75,000 for the tapes, and when he went to the storage facility to finalize the transaction, he was met with the LAPD instead of Roc-A-Fella.
Mahan was detained but not arrested, the tapes were seized and now a judge gets to decide who's the rightful owner of these recordings. In the meantime, Beverly Hills PD is looking into the extortion allegations and Jay Z and Co. are pushing for grand larceny charges, which the NYPD are currently investigating.
Jay isn't the only one invested in the masters. Just Blaze—who produced The Blueprint, The Blueprint 2 and The Black Album—took to Twitter to offer his thoughts on Mahan's character. It's no laughing matter, but if it was, Jay, Roc-A-Fella and Just Blaze are getting the last laugh on Mahan.
Chauncey stayed effing up. Big part of the reason Hip and I brought in Guru.— Just Blaze (@JustBlaze) April 21, 2014
Ill never forget the day Chaunce stepped to Duro wanting to fight lol. This guy ruined every tape transfer for the Dynasty Album.— Just Blaze (@JustBlaze) April 21, 2014
Duro calls him out on it. He runs over to Soundtrack studios, comes in the room like "yo Duro I ain't no bitch" takes his jacket off.— Just Blaze (@JustBlaze) April 21, 2014
Me and Duro just looked at him. Blankest of stares.. And went back to work.— Just Blaze (@JustBlaze) April 21, 2014
If you listen to Bleek's version of "is that your b***h" you'll notice it's in mono. Why? Bc Chauncey. Lol.— Just Blaze (@JustBlaze) April 21, 2014
If u listen to "get your mind right" from Dynasty, You'll notice all the choruses after the first one fall in the wrong places. Bc Chauncey— Just Blaze (@JustBlaze) April 21, 2014
We had to re record "streets is talking" vox. Why? Bc Chauncey.— Just Blaze (@JustBlaze) April 21, 2014
The Dynasty intro sample flanges the entire time.. Guess why!? Chauncey.— Just Blaze (@JustBlaze) April 21, 2014
We eventually got tired of it. I randomly ended up doing a session with this new engineer who called himself @Young_Guru..— Just Blaze (@JustBlaze) April 21, 2014
He was young, understood the sound, and knew what he was doing. Brought him in on a Hov session as a test and it clicked. Rest is history.— Just Blaze (@JustBlaze) April 21, 2014
Oh. And I have backups of just about all of those files Chauncey tried to extort for. Dummy.— Just Blaze (@JustBlaze) April 21, 2014
Last thing @ind3lible and I did before we shut down baseline was a digital back up of EVERYTHING that was ever done there. EVERYTHING.— Just Blaze (@JustBlaze) April 21, 2014
They reside in a fallout shelter in an undisclosed location.— Just Blaze (@JustBlaze) April 21, 2014
Guru just called and reminded me of the time Chauncey tried to kick him out of the studio. He was amazing,that guy.— Just Blaze (@JustBlaze) April 21, 2014
I'm not "blasting" dude. Saw funny story that brought back some memories. bad as some of those situations were, I'm happy i can laugh @ them— Just Blaze (@JustBlaze) April 22, 2014