July 9, 2014


Sound Engineer Hits Jay Z With Lawsuit Over Early Masters Copyright

Kevin Mazur/WireImage for Parkwood Entertainment
Kevin Mazur/WireImage for Parkwood Entertainment

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According to THR, "For about 15 years, the masters, outtakes, and other unpublished material remained on Mahan's computer hard drive.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 Albumtook 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.