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Weekly updates

Record execs and violence have gone together like milk and cereal long before the advent of rap, but the hip-hop game has been particularly suffectible to it with the promise of fast money often attracting characters who favor strong-arming over boardroom negotiation. Puffy almost put a kettle-bell in his son’s football coach this week, which wasn’t work-related but the Bad Boy founder is no stranger to the ‘hands on’ business approach. There was the time he threatened the former label president with a bat to relinquish his 25% share of the company; busting Steve Stoute in the head with a bottle of champagne, a chair and a telephone for failing to edit images of Puff being crucified out of Nas’ ‘Hate Me Now’ video; attacking Positive K with a brick-style cell phone over unpaid fees for Biggie’s appearance on the ‘All Men Are Dogs’ remix; putting Drake into hospital after punching him and ‘causing an old shoulder injury to flare up’ because Aubrey used the ‘0 to 100’ beat first…and these are just the music-related incidents!

On the other side of the country, Puffy’s old nemesis Suge Knight either hung Vanilla Ice over a balcony or gave him a really hard stare in order to get Mr. Van Winkle to sign over the publishing rights claimed to be owed to Knight’s client; apparently kidnapped Happy Walters (Immortal Records founder and manager of Cypress Hill, The RZA and House of Pain at the time) who was found two days later beaten and burned, claiming amnesia; used stand-over tactics to convince Eazy-E and Jerry Heller to sign over Dr. Dre’s contract to Death Row; beat a record promoter and forced him to drink piss when he refused to reveal Puff Daddy’s mother’s home address at the height of the Bad Boy/Death Row conflict; beat, stripped and shot at a rapper and his brother who, while visiting the studio at Dre’s request, used the Death Row phone while Suge was waiting for a call and ignored his request to hang up. He’s currently awaiting trial after killing someone with his car at the set of the NWA movie.

Not to be outdone, Rap-A-Lot Records founder J. Prince is also no stranger to industry shake-downs, with lawsuits against him for allegedly ordering the beatdowns of Geto Boy member Bushwick Bill after he attempted to leave the label in 1998 and for luring the owner of rival label 7303 Records into a gym where he was attacked by a ‘half dozen of Prince’s associates.’ It seems that you can’t so much as open a can of beans in Houston without clearing it with J. Prince first.

But it’s not always record label owners handing out the hurtings, as several rappers have allowed frustrations to get the better of them over bad business transactions. Most famously Jay Z received three years probation for stabbing Lance ‘Un’ Rivera in a club over the alleged bootlegging of his fourth LP, claiming he was ‘not guilty’ in the lyrics to his ‘Izzo’ single before pleading guilty to the court. Loyal Mobb Deep soldier Big Noyd punched the owner of Landspeed Records in the face when he discovered that t-shirts announcing the release date of his Only The Strong album had been printed without anyone bothering to check when he wanted to release the record, resulting in no videos being shot or any further promotion of his album.

Back in the mid-nineties, associates of the UMC’s gave Wild Pitch Records owner Stu Fine a kicking in an elevator after he delivered the group a birthday cake in place of a royalty cheque. Dr. Dre, on the other hand, is a serial woman beater, having assaulted rapper Tarrie B, his ex-girlfriend Michel’le and video show presenter Dee Barnes back in his NWA days (and bragging about it on MTV). I wonder how his millions of supporters would feel if they had done their research?

Violence and intimidation have been part of doing business since the dawn of time, and as long as large sums of money and even larger egos are involved, it’s safe to assume that hip-hop’s top hot heads will continue to put their hands on people whenever things aren’t going their way–especially if they have enough cash rolling in to cover the resulting lawsuits. Here’s hoping I don’t get hit with a chair next time I leave the house…

Keep up with Robbie’s weekly ‘No Country For Old (Rap) Men’ here.