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  Fat Joe says cops watch hip-hop joints 'like bin Laden's in the club' ...



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  Members of NYPD's Gang Unit are called on for their hip-hop expertise ...



Page 3


 Are rappers in tricked-out Hummers being mistaken for drug dealers? ...



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 Method Man, Ice-T, DMC advise their peers to clean up their image ...





 New York Police Gang Unit Targets Hip-Hop Community






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"It's kind of the rappers' fault," said DMC. "If you didn't present that [gangster] image, you wouldn't give 'em nothing to worry about. But you wanna get out there being all rah-rah and thugged-out and 'Yo, I'm Scarface' ... of course you're gonna get checked. You bring that upon yourself.

"Some of us are stupid enough to still ride around with unlicensed weapons," he added. "Either get a bodyguard or get your life together — you don't need to be out there still doing that stupid sh--."

Method Man agreed that rappers shouldn't be surprised by police scrutiny when the content of their lyrics refer to violence and gunplay. "It ain't even a lot of heat," Meth said. "Boom, a cop is gonna sit outside the club, knowing that some rap dude be performing. What he talk about in his songs all day? 'Oh, we got a million guns ... ' Come on! Don't talk about you carrying all these weapons and you won't get followed."

Ice-T said that while rap stars can't always sever their "street associations," they have an obligation to present as squeaky-clean an image as possible. "I was dirty before," he said. "But my act is clean. I'm square as a pool table, twice as green. I wouldn't steal a nickel off the mantelpiece, man. If you selling dope, you can't even buy me a hamburger."

While the amount of serious crimes related to hip-hop artists in New York is relatively small, Parker said he feels the NYPD should investigate the rap music industry the way that it does traditional organized crime. "If you're looking at the mob, you have to look at the rap industry the same way," he insisted.

"Since '96 through 2003, three big rap icons have been murdered," he said. "Three major multiplatinum artists. ... The murders and the shootings alone give credence to them looking into this industry."

  "Notorious B.I.G. Gunned Down In Los Angeles"
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(For the record, the slaying of Jam Master Jay is the only one that took place in New York. Biggie was killed in Los Angeles, and Tupac died in Las Vegas.)

Ever the contrarian, Method Man offered his own distinctly pro-police spin: "Hey, I like cops," he said. "NYPD f---in' rock!" And Meth sent out a keep-it-real warning to all the hip-hop hard rocks complaining of unwanted police attention. "Yo, this ain't nothing new. Y'all knew y'all was being followed; it's just more or less that we see it now. Y'all know you carrying heat — they know you carrying heat. Whatever, whatever, man. Play the game, dude."

So while it may be true that there is no formal rap-related entity within the NYPD, there are selected officers within the Intelligence Division keeping their ears tuned to hip-hop's latest beefs and taunts — streetwise Gang Unit detectives whose expertise is being called upon whenever one of those beefs leaps off wax into an actual criminal act. And as artists who've taken on gangster airs to attract attention are increasingly alarmed to find those airs attracting law enforcement as well, the existence of those detectives is sure to heighten the sense that — to paraphrase Jay-Z — the NYPD as well as the streets are watching.


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