Aishah Shahidah Simmons, sister to Tyree “DJ Drama” Simmons, lays it bare in an open letter on Davey D’s blog:
“No one will ever be able to explain to me why the hell a SWAT Team of at least 30 strong went charging into the Aphilliates Music Group studio as if they were doing a major drug or an illegal arms bust? Why did they need to put my brother Tyree (DJ Drama) and his cohorts face down on the ground with guns to their heads? Did the agents need to ransack the studio, confiscate cd’s featuring artist sanctioned original music not bootlegs, disc drives, computers, cars, ultimately stripping the studio of everything with the exception of furniture [? ...]
Based on the January 16, 2007 Fox Atlanta News edition, when one of the agents said “Usually, we find other crimes during these types of busts.” Clearly the agents expected ( possibly wanted) to find drugs and/or illegal arms. K-9 dogs whose noses are trained to sniff and find drugs, were ultimately [bored] with nothing to do.
So the question for me and the rest of the Portnoy-Simmons-Thwaites family is was a SWAT team needed? Was this solely about mixtapes? Would this have happened if this wasn’t a Black run company?”
Everyone who cares about participatory culture should be confronting these same questions. The dominant music industry strategy represents racism and neocolonialism. Hip-hop is powerful enough to step out from under the shadow of this oligarchy and build a new media industry. No more trying to hustle the hustlers. Walk it out and watch the old guard try to survive without your creative vitality.