Brothers Demetrius “Big Meech” and Terry “Southwest T” Flenory were sentenced yesterday (September 12) to 30 years in prison, for running the cocaine organization known as The Black Mafia Family.
Demetrius and Terry were apprehended in 2005 and indicted under the CCE (Continuing Criminal Enterprise) law, which like RICO charges carry life sentences.
Under the federal prison system, there is no parole option.
Seeking to avoid spending the rest of their natural lives in prison, the brothers pleaded guilty in November 2007 to the CCE charges and laundering drug money in hopes of serving the minimum 20 year sentence.
However, evidence presented by prosecutors resulted in 30 year sentences for both men. BMF was founded by the brothers in Detroit during the late 1980s.
After quickly securing valuable contacts with international coke suppliers, the organization grew to a nationwide criminal conspiracy within a few years.
The group began to draw unwanted attention from federal agents in 2003 once they established a high-profile operation in Atlanta, where they erected billboards, held lavish parties, created DVDs, and boasted of their connections with rappers Young Jeezy and Fabolous.
Also notable in the organization’s downfall was Meech’s involvement in a brazen 2003 shootout in the Buckhead nightclub section of Atlanta that left two men dead, including Sean “Diddy” Combs’ bodyguard Anthony “Wolf” Jones.
In 2005, agents raided several key BMF operations in Georgia, Michigan, Florida, South Carolina, Tennessee, Missouri, and California.
To date, those raids have resulted in over 150 indictments of BMF members or associates, effectively dismantling the drug empire.
According to authorities, these convictions of BMF’s top members end a 15 year investigation into the Black Mafia Family’s criminal enterprise.
At their peak, Demetrius (age 40) and Terry (age 38) Flenory are estimated to have controlled a cocaine empire worth $270 million.
NASCAR Nationwide Series auto race at Richmond International Raceway in Richmond, Va., Sunday, Sept. 7
The year 2008, is just a new chapter in the legend of Shawn “Jay-Z” Carter, who is quite unquestionably the biggest entity Hip-Hop has ever witnessed.
The mogul momentarily reflects on the story thus far during a stop in Washington D.C., his appearance is mostly a favor for a friend overseas.
“Wow. Yeah, I am definitely happy with the progress that I have made in my life. I am still hungry to keep achieving more but if anything happened today or tomorrow then I am more than happy with what I have achieved and the legacy that I would then leave,” Jay-Z says.
With a lengthy, very pregnant pause, he continues, “Yeah, I can definitely say that I would be more than happy.”
The mogul is clearly elated with his position in life, but that pause is already giving birth to new times and history. The resume is well known, from the creative legacy to business savvy to millions sold and more. Still, one can only believe that Jay-Z has found a new beast to conquer in the global market.
“I am still hungry to keep achieving more but if anything happened today or tomorrow then I am more than happy with what I have achieved and the legacy that I would then leave.”
Unless the Brooklyn native started battles with extraterrestrial beings for Hip-Hop supremacy, conquering the rest of the terrestrial world is all that is left on the frontier for Jay-Z. The multimillionaire has completely triumphed over the American Hip-Hop scene on every front imaginable—Roc-A-Fella, Rocawear, Def Jam, the New Jersey Nets, Live Nation, blah, blah, blah. That portion of the tale has been chronicled ad nauseam.
However, when he was bestowed the opportunity to headline the Glastonbury Festival, the Roc Boy found himself in an interesting predicament – challenged. Critics like Noel Gallagher of group Oasis impertinently questioned whether or not Jay, a decidedly Hip-Hop act, was musically fit to headline the mammoth UK rock festival. Jay-Z once proclaimed he could sell water to a well and he charmed some 100, 000 Brits like the savviest salesman. Furthermore, he coupled insult with injury by singing Oasis’ “Wonderwall” with a guitar strung over his shoulder, like a rock star (or is that Roc Star?).
Then in July, the mogul traversed to Nigeria with the likes of Usher, Naomi Campbell, Tyson Beckford, Rihanna and her boo Chris Brown to play the ThisDay Festival, a traveling music/fashion event based in Africa
ThisDay also offers the reasons why Jay is now in Washington D.C. at the Kennedy Centre on this scorching summer day with Memphis Bleek in tow.
ThisDay is committed to raising the consciousness of issues ailing Africa. Jay and supermodel Naomi Campbell were among the stars that helped disabled African children and brought needed awareness to environmental issues that face the nation.
Jay was definitely down to help his brethren from the motherland and, in turn, act again as an ambassador for the Hip-Hop nation.
“I know Nduka [Obaigbena, who owns the ThisDay corporation]. I see a young man trying to do something to bring awareness to Africa, being an entrepreneur about it,” Jay explains. “I thought it was cool. I come from that scheme myself. It was something that caught my interest, something I felt I should align myself with. You know, Africa is the homeland so anything like this, where I can help bring attention to or help out the motherland, well that’s a beautiful feeling.”
Jay is still considering joining the ThisDay Festival stop in London later in the fall.
One thing that is for certain, Bleek, Jay’s long-running friend, has joined his big homie every step of the way. He’s also got a unique and very personal take on the globalization of Jay-Z.
“I’d be the same dead, broke or whatever [if not for Jay-Z]. I’m just here to enjoy the ride. I’m just a kid from Marcy and look at the chances I’ve had?” he admits. Bleek has accompanied Jay on his travels across the earth, including Nigeria.
“The things that I’ve experienced? Even though it’s on the strength of Jay, I’ve had the chance to enjoy my life.”
Life as a mogul seems perfect, but Jay’s new heights can only truly come to fruition if his long-anticipated opus, Blueprint 3, takes him into a more universal space creatively. He’s quite nonchalant, suggesting the stars will align themselves naturally.
“I make great music,” he says evenly. “Anticipation is cool, the hype of it is fantastic, but if you look at my track record, I have had albums in ‘96, ‘97, ‘98, ‘99, ‘01, ‘02.… so I have always been an artist who’s been consistent not only for releasing albums but consistent with the quality of the music as well. The music will speak for itself.”
These days in Hip-Hop, frankly the music seems secondary as peripheral matters such as trivial beef have taken center stage. Still critics of Jay-Z have looked for him to weaken to which he offers a rather philosophical response.
“Well I try to look at it in a positive way. I think people do hold me to a higher standard because of the level of work that I have done,” he offers. “I think people have double standards when it comes to my music but for me that’s the challenge of it. It’s the reason to keep making music, if I was relaxed and no one was challenging or questioning me, then why do it?”
The answer is simple: because he can.
Love it or hate it, Jay-Z has yet to be knocked off his perch (The beef with Nas is certainly an exception to the general "perch"notion) and rappers from all walks of life are unable, unwilling or too respectful to take him out.
As is required, Jay-Z is going to have to contend with his domestic matters, like The Game, who is completely unpredictable, and hot, courteous upstarts like Lil Wayne.
Recently, Game lashed out on Jay-Z, balking he’d tear his own idol “limb from limb from bloody limb.”
He recanted a day later, claiming it was rooted in conjecture and probably a misunderstanding.
These days Jay travels along the high road and rarely dabbles in the muck, but is still encourages the younger generation to excel.
Guest appearing on Lil Wayne’s “Mr. Carter,” Jay-Z appeared to be passing the baton to his New Orleans contemporary, but now says he was making a broader proclamation.
“[That verse] just happened to be Wayne for that song but it’s for everybody. You know that’s what Russell [Simons] and those guys did for us. They paved the way so that we can get to our goals quicker,” he clarifies. “If it took Russell 10 years, then it took me and Puff five years. So hopefully it will take them two and a half. That was really a blanket statement for any up coming artist. For Lupe, for T.I., for everybody.”
Swagger Like Us Ft. Kanye West, Jay-Z, & Lil Wayne - T.I.
Some of the people he has sought to encourage have become first in a line of detractors.
“As far as Foxy or Tierra Marie, these are people that I have given chances to. Sometimes it don’t work out. It’s understandable that they would be upset, but you got to look at it in my point of view as well. I did give them chances.”
In July, Teairra Marie told AllHipHop.com, “I called Jay-Z my father; he was like a second father to me. So to just be thrown out (dropped from Def Jam) – and I didn't get a call…it was a bit heartbreaking.”
“As far as Foxy or Teairra Marie, these are people that I have given chances to. It’s understandable that they would be upset, but you got to look at it in my point of view as well… I gave Teairra Marie the same shot I gave Rihanna. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t.”
Teairra Marie and Foxy Brown, once close affiliates, have questioned his loyalty to the emerging talent.
Hov considers it collateral damage – casualties of a game gone awry. He’s not emotionless though and the topic gets a rise out of him.
“You know that stuff is going to happen, eventually it’s going to happen. What I am very happy about is, that no matter what people say, no one has ever said that I am dishonest or that I have taken one dime from them,” he says raising his voice. “I’ve never cheated anyone out of a dime. No ones ever said that, right?”
He proceeds, “As far as Foxy or Tierra Marie, these are people that I have given chances to. Sometimes it don’t work out. It’s understandable that they would be upset, but you got to look at it in my point of view as well. I did give them chances,” he counters. “I gave Tierra Marie the same shot I gave Rihanna. Look at where Rihanna is? Look how that turned out? Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t. I wish I could make every single person successful, but that just is not a reality. That’s not even realistic.”
“I don’t ever over think it. I just believe in good music.”
So for now, Jay-Z continues the takeover he plotted over a decade ago, minus some friends.
These days, the door is open to work with anybody, in the United States or abroad, but only if those stars are aligned.
“I work more on the vibe, so if I can vibe with an artist out there in the UK that is making some noise and we happen to hook up then I’m cool with that,” he says.
In true gentleman fashion, Jay has even left a cracked door to work with Noel Gallagher and Oasis.
“I don’t have any preconceived notions or plans on trying certain things. I don’t ever over think it. I just believe in good music. I don’t care where you’re music is from, it can be from anywhere in the world. If the music is good and the vibe is good then who knows what the future holds.”