Damon Dash, longtime partner of rap icon Jay-Z, is the CEO of a Hiphop empire. He is known to travel with an entourage of family and friends, the kind of company police rap intelligence has been watching in recent years, reports the Village Voice. Interviews with former detective Derrick Parker, who claims to be the founder and architect of the New York Police Department’s rap intelligence unit, reveal that in the 1990s Parker thought it was important to monitor people who were starting to “latch on” to rappers and entertainers, some of whom, Parker says, may have been known to him as “a shooter, or a strong-arm guy.” “If you don’t have enough money to take the proper precautions to where you know you’re safe, you still kind of live like a criminal because you’re still dog food for the wolves,” says Dash in reference to rappers being preyed upon by parasitical elements.
Parker told the Voice that old neighborhood ties were the very associations that got his attention years ago. The NYPD’s recent admission that it has “an intelligence division and . . . detectives that monitor the music industry and any incidents regarding the music industry” is simply the verification of a long series of police efforts that began in Brooklyn. After 14 years of climbing the ranks, from patrolman to undercover narcotics officer during the height of the crack era to homicide detective, Parker became a part of the famed Brooklyn North homicide squad. In 1996, he was recruited into the newly formed Cold Case Squad (CCS), a detective unit investigating backlogged homicides. There Parker discovered his niche. “I saw a pattern,” says Parker. “The pattern was that the rap music industry was becoming more like organized crime. It was running side by side with the traditional steps of organized crime. . . . What interested me was I saw a lot of these guys that were really bad dudes in Brooklyn starting to latch onto rappers and entertainers. So I used to monitor the incidents, department-wide, of anything that happened.”