Police in Miami and Miami Beach watch and keep dossiers on hip-hop celebrities like P. Diddy and DMX and their entourages when they come to South Florida, says the Miami Herald. Officers have photographed rappers as they arrived at Miami International Airport. They stake out hotels, nightclubs, and video shoots. They check a six-inch-thick black binder of every rapper and group member with an arrest record in New York State. The binder begins with a photo and rap sheet of Grammy-nominated rapper 50 Cent. It ends with Ja Rule. The men are in a bitter feud that Eminem, 50 Cent’s producer, warned in the song Bully could lead to bloodshed.
Police say their efforts are aimed at protecting both the public and the celebrities. “We have to keep an eye on these rivalries,” said Assistant Miami Beach Police Chief Charles Press. “The last thing we need in this city is violence.”
Some music executives say the intelligence-gathering highlights a misunderstanding between police and a $10-billion industry. The police, they contend, have used the slayings of high-profile artists like Tupac Shakur, the Notorious B.I.G. and Run DMC’s Jam Master Jay, to justify tracking many in the industry. “Some people see gangs and hip-hop artists as being synonymous,” said Benjamin Chavis, president of The Hip-Hop Summit Action Network, a government-watchdog and voter-registration group. “That’s a mistake. The recording industry is a legitimate American enterprise, not a gang.”