One problem down, 98 to go.
A collection of Jay Z master recordings that went missing in 2002 have been discovered in a California storage unit after police intercepted an alleged extortion plot.
Producer Chauncey Mahan, who worked with Jay from 1998 to 2002, was questioned in connection with the reclaimed tapes, which Jay Z and Roc-A-Fella Records had previously assumed were lost.
According to TMZ, Mahan contacted entertainment company Live Nation – a partner in Jay Z’s Roc Nation – to announce that he would either put the tapes up for auction or return them in exchange for a $100,000 “storage fee”.
Mahan eventually agreed to take $75,000, but when he turned up at the storage facility in Northridge, California on Friday to seal the deal, he was intercepted by police officers who’d been in contact with Jay Z’s team.
Mahan wasn’t arrested, but he agreed to come in for questioning on alleged extortion charges and to hand over the tapes to the Los Angeles Police Department until a judge determines who owns them.
Jay Z’s people also filed a grand larceny complaint with the NYPD, according to reports. Meanwhile, producer Just Blaze gave his side of the story on Twitter, commenting: “I have backups of just about all of those files Chauncey tried to extort for. Dummy.”
The tapes are said to be worth between $15 and $20 million – pocket change for the Hov, who was recently placed third on Forbes’ Hip-Hop rich list with an estimated wealth of $520 million. That fortune looks set to grow larger still if the rapper heads out on a rumoured joint stadium tour with Beyoncé this year.