A collection of master recordings from Jay Z, reportedly worth anywhere between $15 million and $20 million, are now at the center of an alleged extortion scheme involving producer Chauncey Mahan.
As a producer, Mahan worked for Jay Z from 1998 to 2002, which is the same year the master files went missing.
He was taken into police custody for questioning Friday but was not charged.
For years, Jay Z’s team assumed the files had been deleted or lost somehow, but Mahan recently contacted Live Nation with an intriguing offer.
Live Nation, Jay Z’s joint venture with his label Roc-A-Fella records, was allegedly offered $100,000 for the recordings or else he would simply put them up for auction.
Eventually, he settled for $75,000 but was given quite a shock when it came time to retrieve the files from his California storage unit.
Police were waiting for him at the unit after receiving a tip from Jay Z’s camp.
Mahan insists that he actually helped protect the files and prevented them from being truly lost or destroyed.
He based these claims on allegations that Jay Z was “a stupid kid smoking blunts” during this time and the files were bound to be handled irresponsibly.
He also insists that he told Jay Z on several occasions that the files were in his storage unit and only asked for $100,000 to compensate for “storage fees” he has accumulated while holding on to the tapes for 12 years.
The Beverly Hills Police Department is in charge of the extortion investigation because that is where Live Nation is based.
Meanwhile, Jay Z’s team filed a grand larceny complaint Friday with the New York Police Department. That investigation is also still ongoing.
The master files in question include Jay Z’s “Volume 3” mixtape and his “Dynasty” album.