According to the New York Times, DJ Drama, AKA Tyree Simmons, is highly influential and his 'Gangsta Grillz' compilations have define this decade's Southern rap explosion.
The digital compilations produced by DJ Drama and his protégés are known as mixtapes, which are flogged on CDs and are available on Apple's iTunes. Each mixtape contains unreleased remixes, sneak previews from coming CDs, freestyle rhymes and cock-ups.
Recording companies have turned a blind eye to mix tapes because they are valuable promotional tools. Rapper 50 Cent built his entire career on the careful use of mixtapes.
However no one seems to have told the RIAA, which seems to be acting independently of the record labels. In fact it is working against its own PR spinning that its fight against pirates is helping to protect artists' rights.
Most of DJ Drama's mixtapes begin with endorsements from the artists themselves, so it is clear that they were not consulted before the RIAA and Inspector Knasher of the Yard swooped. µ
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