Officially, the New York Police Department makes no special effort to keep tabs on rappers. Officially, the department has no binder of dossiers on the performers. Officially, detectives do not comb lyrics of music’s fastest-growing genre for signs of past or future crimes.
Yet, hundreds of pages of police documents and interviews with detectives inside the department and with those from around the country trained by the NYPD show that city police have quietly collected information about top rappers for the past six years and continue that work today.
The NYPD has pulled together dossiers that contain photographs, arrest records and biographical information of hip-hop stars and their associates, as well as lyrics that make specific threats or brag about past wrongdoing, according to the retired detective who did most of the research, and documents obtained by Newsday.
The entries for recently retired superstar Jay-Z, for example, contain information about his arrests (an assault charge from 1999), the license plate numbers of his vehicles, where he likes to hang out (nightspots including Joe’s Pub and Club NV) and who he hangs out with (business partner Damon Dash).
Joining Jay-Z in what has become known as “the hip-hop binder” are many of the genre’s biggest stars — including 50 Cent, Sean “P. Diddy” Combs, Ja Rule, DMX, Nas, Fabolous, Busta Rhymes, Cam’ron, Li’l Kim and Public Enemy’s Flavor Flav.
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