This is a no-holds-barred, behind-the-scenes look at how deals are created and careers are made and then lost. There is a certain underhanded desperation that finds its way into the lives of the characters. The action centers on a power struggle between the powerful Syon Music Group and the upstart Murder One Records. Who will win and who will lose in this story of love, greed, pride, and desperation? The images and the brutal business of music will remain long after the last page is turned.
|Product dimensions:||6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.91(d)|
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By Lemmie "Koto" Brown
Trafford PublishingCopyright © 2009 Demetrie Grays
All right reserved.
Chapter OneFriday March, 2003 Beaumont, Texas (Beaumont Federal Correctional Institute)
The March breeze, after serving 10 years in the federal prison system, was a welcome relief to Kiwan Rush as he stepped into the fresh air as a free man.
The sun was high and the humidity was thick, even for Texas. Kiwan didn't notice nor did he care about the weather, as long as he was out of prison. Happy that his recent nightmare was over, Kiwan surveyed the parking lot in search of Amin, his youngest brother, who'd promised to pick him up upon his release.
Kiwan looked at his Casio watch, which he purchased while incarcerated. His brother was officially 25 minutes late, typical, he thought! That is one thing that time didn't change, Amin has always been selfish and only did things in his own time!
Mildly disappointed, Kiwan sat on the curb, in front of the prison doors, with his meager belongings. Visitors attempting to visit their loved ones passed Kiwan as he resumed his search of the parking lot.
"Waiting on baby brother huh?" a voice inquired from behind.
Kiwan looked over his shoulder to see who was speaking. Carl Littrell, a computer hacker and embezzler from Dallas, who was released on the same day, stood with his property and release papers behind Kiwan. Carl had been caughtembezzling 30 million dollars in federal money from his savings and loan investment bank. For his crime against the U.S. government and its precious economy, Carl received 18 months in a federal prison. Kiwan Rush, on the other hand, had been imprisoned for one kilo of cocaine that didn't belong to him, receiving a sentence of 122 months. He often reflected on the irony of life's little mysteries.
"Yeah, man, I'm waiting on my baby brother."
Kiwan had once stopped Carl from getting his ass kicked by a disgruntled black inmate who just so happened to had just finished watching "Mississippi Burning" on TV, and Carl just so happened to be the nearest white boy who the inmate could take his anger out on. Ever since, he and Carl had been associates of sorts.
"Well, I see my wife pulling up. Would you like us to take you to the bus stop or something?" Carl asked.
"Naw, man, he'll show. He's just busy more than likely, he'll be here," Kiwan said with more conviction than he felt.
"Okay bro. Well, you have my number, right?"
"Yeah!" Kiwan answered, gritting his teeth. He hated when white people tried to use the word 'bro' in reference to blacks. They seemed to always use it in an exaggerated manner.
"Then call me sometime. Especially if you need anything," Carl told him, walking out to meet his wife, who stepped from around a new Lexus 430, looking sophisticated in a Kim Basinger type of way.
Kiwan watched as Carl gave his wife a long, slow passionate kiss after she squealed in the delight of seeing her man. Life was a muthafucka, he thought. He wondered how many years he would have gotten had he been in Carl's place and had embezzled $30 million? Carl had once confided in him that the government never did recover the entire $30 million. "Life," he thought, shaking his head.
Kiwan retrieved a copy of "The Coldest Winter Ever," by Sista Soljah from his property, and hadn't read a page before he was rudely interrupted.
"Rush, you can't sit there!" came the voice, shattering his thoughts, from behind. Kiwan didn't bother to acknowledge the voice. As far as he was concerned he was a free man and could do whatever he pleased. Well, anything that didn't violate his three-year federal parole stipulations.
The guard walked around to face Kiwan, standing over him as he continued to read. Kiwan finally placed the book next to him gently, face down, and looked into the officer's face inquisitively, as if to ask, May I help you?
"Did you hear me?" she asked. "The warden said that you couldn't sit there and wait for your ride; he said that you could either come into the visitor's lounge and wait, or we can give you a ride to the bus station in town."
The female was one of the most "police-ing-est" black officers in the entire prison. She was the type to oppress her own kind just to score brownie points with her supervisors, always trying to prove that she'd do her job. But she went too damn far. Kiwan knew of a few brothers who she'd fucked over for no reason, and he reveled with the opportunity to cuss her ass out.
"Man, fuck you and the warden!" he spat, as he rose to his full height of six feet, three inches. He weighed right at a solid 225 pounds and had a chiseled physique from years of basketball. "Uh, excuse me?" she asked, rolling her neck.
"You heard me, bitch, you been running around here treating the brothers like shit, and like your shit don't stink. But I'm free now, and I'm here to tell you that if you don't get out of my face, I'm gon mop yo ass across this concrete. I'll make sure I scrape all the black off your ass, then you can be white like them folks you always sucking up to."
She stood there speechless, as Kiwan looked angrily down at her. She positioned the radio to her mouth to call for help when it appeared. A white stretch Lincoln Navigator pulled up to the curb, distracting them both.
The truck came to a complete stop in front of Kiwan. Now his curiosity was piqued, as he tried desperately to look into the back window through the dark tint.
The driver's door opened and what appeared to be a giant stepped from the truck as it rocked from the shifting of his weight. The driver of the limousine stood every bit of seven feet, Kiwan noticed, as he rounded the truck to open the door for Kiwan.
The man had fire red hair and red freckles all over his tan skin. He was an imposing figure and Kiwan would not have liked to be on this man's "shit list." He looked very, very violent.
"You Kiwan?" the man asked curtly. Kiwan couldn't even speak, instead nodding his head as a means of communication.
"Tony," the big man stated, without even offering his hand. Kiwan noticed that the man didn't even have his two front teeth.
The giant named Tony then walked to the rear of the truck and opened the passenger door.
A beautiful appendage with a white sandal at the foot and a platinum ankle bracelet appeared from the truck.
"Damn!" Kiwan thought. He wondered what the rest looked like as his mouth hung open in anticipation. Kiwan noticed the manicured toenails and beautiful polish on the woman's feet. He could tell just from her feet that she had a lot of taste and class. But what did the rest look like? He wondered.
His wait was short-lived, as her feet hit the pavement; she stepped from around the door. Kiwan was not disappointed. The woman was stunningly beautiful. She had an exotic look, the kind of look reserved for runway models.
Kiwan took in the woman's air, an air of money, and the power that comes with a woman who knew how to use her femininity. At first glance, she appeared Oriental, but a second glance prompted Kiwan to determine her to be some type of mixed breed. She was too shapely in figure to be anything short of black, he surmised. She wore a linen peach-colored short set and sported white Gucci shades, which she removed to get a better view of Kiwan.
"Nigga, pick your lip up, dang!" she stated playfully.
The security guard who was standing next to Kiwan giggled.
Kiwan frowned up. "What'd you say?" he inquired, addressing the beauty queen.
Giggling, she said, "I told you to pick your lip up and close your mouth before something flies in. Your shit was just hanging down like duhhh ..." She taunted. Kiwan wanted to be mad, but he couldn't help but smile. She was pretty and had a sense of humor, as if her beauty didn't matter to her. He immediately took a liking to her. He was at himself, though, for openly ogling her. Not very smooth, he thought.
"My name is Prescious," she introduced herself, extending her hand to Kiwan. "You must be Kiwan, Amin's brother. I've heard a lot of good things about you."
"Yeah," he said, grabbing her soft hand and lightly shaking it. Damn, it felt good to be out and to just hold casual conversation with a pretty woman without having people looking in your mouth - he missed that.
Kiwan couldn't help but be attracted to her and he knew instantly that she was attracted to him. Things shouldn't have changed that much in ten years to where he couldn't read a female's body language, he figured. If so, he was in a world of trouble.
"Damn, your brother didn't tell me that you were so big, ya know," she commented, eyeing him up and down. She then looked at Tony, who went rigid, or maybe that was just Kiwan's imagination playing tricks on him.
"Well, I ain't seen my brother in ten years, ya know!" Kiwan said, mimicking her.
"Hold on a sec," she told him, as if she'd just thought of something. Kiwan watched Tony from the corner of his eye as Prescious reached back into the limo. Her backside immediately caught his attention. 0 hell yeah! He thought, noticing how fat in the ass she was. The girl was definitely mixed with a black person somewhere. A black man will always leave his mark. Noticing the way her ass shook in her loose-fitting shorts, Kiwan could tell that she either didn't have on any underwear, or she had a g-string on. Either way, it turned him on.
Prescious retrieved what looked to Kiwan like one of those flip phones that he'd seen his sister-in-law with on one of her many visits, except Prescious' phone had a small attachment at the bottom.
She flipped open the face of the phone. The phone chimed as it was activating itself for use. Prescious looked at the LCD display screen, punched a few buttons, then spoke into the receiver. "Call boss man," she chirped.
After a few seconds, Prescious smiled at the screen and held up a finger as if to say, hold on. She handed the phone to Kiwan and instructed him to hold it at the bottom. "Don't block the camera," she told him as he adjusted the phone in his hand.
When he looked into the screen, Kiwan saw his brother Amin in realtime TV. "Well, I'll be damned!" Kiwan exclaimed. "Where the fuck you at, man?" he asked.
"What's the deal, big brah? How does it feel to be out of that motherfuckin' cage, Nigga?" Amin yelled. "Nina! Look, it's your brother-in-law," Amin informed his wife over his shoulder. Kiwan couldn't see her, as Amin filled the screen, but he definitely could hear his sister-in-law.
"Let me talk, baby, let me talk," She was pressing, with her diamond-clad hand tugging her husband's shoulder.
"Hold the fuck up," he yelled shrugging off her hand.
Kiwan was so glad to see his brother's face, after so many years of not seeing him, that he'd forgotten that he was angry with him.
"Say, listen Amin. I appreciate the fact that you did the limo thing for ya big brah, but damn, dog, it would've been cool had you picked me up yourself instead of sending someone else to do it."
"Come on, man, chill out," Amin told him. "I was planning to scoop you up, but something important came up. I'm in the middle of an important business meeting as we speak. Bear with me, baby! Enjoy what you see for the rest of the day," Amin winked. "I'll get with you later. Prescious will take care of you. I gave her a stack of chips for you, and she's got the credit cards. Go shopping, spend some loot, enjoy yourself, nigga," he advised.
"I'll see you later on, and then we'll ball together. I'm a show you how it's done in the 2000 and 3, you ain't seen shit yet. This is just the tip of the iceberg, baby!"
"Awight!" Kiwan conceded, thinking that it couldn't be too bad. After ten long years in the joint, he deserved to blow off some steam, he felt. Plus he needed to be fed, fucked, sucked, and tucked! His time was due.
"One," Kiwan barked into the screen, signing off with his brother.
"One," came the reply from Amin before the call was disconnected. Kiwan was temporarily satisfied after not having seen his brother in person for so many years. Of course, he'd read the magazine articles, seen photo spreads and layouts, and had even talked to him on the phone extensively throughout the entire stretch, but it just wasn't as good as seeing his face in person.
Prescious sucked her teeth, breaking Kiwan out of his reverie. He handed her the phone back. Tony moved to get Kiwan's belongings off the curb.
"Look, man, you don't have to kick it with me if you don't really want to," Prescious told Kiwan, shifting her weight to one leg, fidgeting with the antenna on the cell phone. "But if I must say so myself, I can be damn good company when I want to be," she told him, blushing.
Kiwan caught the hint. "Let's ride," he said, climbing into the limo.
"Wait a minute, Rush," the female officer said. Kiwan had forgotten that she was standing there.
"My name is Nikki, not bitch," she rudely stated. Obviously offended by the tongue lashing Kiwan had given her.
"Who cares, B-I-T-C-H!" Kiwan yelled over his shoulder, climbing all the way into the limo.
Prescious smacked him on his ass playfully, before she climbed in behind him.
"Ooh, a bad boy!" she kidded, giggling. "I like that in a man. If it ain't rough it ain't me," she finished.
Kiwan would later come to realize just how true those words were.
Chapter TwoThe private G-4 jet soared amongst the indigo blue skies toward its destination of Houston's Hobby Airport. The scheduled flight would've been non-stop from New York to Houston if the emergency meeting with Syon's General Manager hadn't received precedence due to mitigating circumstances. The meeting prompted a 30-minute layover in Atlanta to accommodate Chad Stevens and his assistants.
Amin Rush, CEO of Murder One Records, one of the biggest independent rap labels in the dirty South, didn't mind changing his flight plans to accommodate the executive and his lovely assistants, especially the young, cute, mocha colored sister. Giving them a lift to Atlanta would give the CEO an opportunity to call up Lil John and the Eastside boys about contributing some tracks to his upcoming project.
Amin was used to the hustle and bustle of the industry after seven years in the business. Having just come from New York on business concerning his new "Kotto" clothing line after thirty minutes of sleep from prior meeting on the West coast, another thirty minute nap from an unscheduled layover would be a Godsend.
Besides, Chad claimed to have an important proposition to discuss with Murder One.
Kiwan's phone call had interrupted the flow of the discussion between the two companies. Chad, grateful for the interruption, used it to gather his thoughts and regroup as he excused himself to go to the lavatory.
The Murder One's staff and entourage were currently occupied with their everyday routine of returning phone calls, responding to important two-way pages, organizing interviews, scheduling appearances, dividing up studio time, and engaging in the perfect amount of bullshit amongst the crew members who held no real duties concerning the daily activities of the company.
To Chad, it was an awkward, but necessary place to conduct such an important meeting. He was in a race against time to implement his plan before the flow of the fickle Hip-Hop industry changed directions again. Chad knew that with the industry you had to get on board the train of current events before it lost steam.
For Amin, this was his preferred field of battle. Any general would tell you that he'd rather choose his own field of battle than have it dictated to him. Especially when dealing with the sharks of the music business.
What worked on Amin's nerves, throwing his concentration off, was the way his wife, Nina, parked her ass in front of him and crossed her legs, looking squinty eyed. She had a way of glowering at him with her jade green eyes that made him feel naked and exposed. It was as if her eyes cut a path directly to his heart.
A native of Puerto Rico by way of New York, Nina Rush had not been a happy woman in the last five years, ever since her husband's independent label was picked up by Syon with a record $200 million deal. With an attitude like "Hoe!" Amin knew that his wife's patience was wearing thin with the industry and the strain that it was placing on their marriage. She definitely let it be known every chance she had. He wondered what kind of bug she could have up her ass, now! Anything was liable to have set her off; there was no telling with her.
Amin felt that he was the classic case of a man who'd paid too damn much for what he had. The money, the homes, the cars, the jewelry, the women, entourage; none of it was worth his marriage or the rift in his family. He was so wrapped up in the industry that he didn't have the foggiest idea of how to give it up. Music controlled his very essence in more ways than one. Like a powerful narcotic, Amin was hooked. The industry was his life and his life was the industry.
Excerpted from The Industry by Lemmie "Koto" Brown Copyright © 2009 by Demetrie Grays. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
This book is definitely a page turner, it is a very compelling story. It gave a shocking depiction of the corruption and violence of the music industry. It is a must read!