Pin It
Adam Glanzman

Ex-intern blackmails Jay Z over $30 million of recordings

Well, that's one way to claim back on expenses

Interns of the music industry! Underpaid? Overworked? Here's one way to take revenge: steal $30 million worth of rare master recordings and then blackmail your old employers. That's the situation Jay Z and Roc Nation have landed in, thanks to one former studio intern who's nicked over 50 original Jay recordings from the Volume 3 and Dynasty albums, which includes unreleased songs and tracks like "I Just Wanna Love U (Give It 2 Me)" and "Big Pimpin'".

Ex-intern Chauncey Mahan contacted Roc Nation last week to claim that the collection was now in a Californian storage unit. He demanded that Roc Nation pay him $110,000 to get the recordings back, or the facility’s owners would auction everything off. Mahan told TMZ that he was actually doing Jay a huge favour, describing the rap mogul as "a stupid kid smoking blunts" for not taking better care of his intellectual property. 

In fact, Mahan claims that he's actually been doing tireless intern work this entire time. According to the would-be extortionist, he's held onto these master recordings for 12 years. Jay Z's former label, Def Jam, had asked him to keep hold of the tracks a few years before Baseline Studios, Jay's old recording haunt, closed in 2010.

Since then, Mahan says he's been trying fruitlessly to contact Roc Nation so they can take their boss's archive back. Meanwhile, Roc Nation maintains that Mahan is just a former intern who thieved the lot. The NYPD and the LAPD have seized the recordings and questioned Mahan, who has since been released pending further enquiries.

More interestingly, there might be a bigger reason Roc Nation is freaking out over these masters getting into the public's hands – according to Mahan, the tracks sound certifiably awful. 

Subscribe to the Dazed newsletterGet the day on Dazed straight to your inbox