Def Jam Street Team Member Bullies New York Times Reporter

According to a City Room blog entry that appeared yesterday on, a New York Times reporter was out and about in Manhattan on Friday, March 14, when he saw three young men hanging up posters for Rocko’s new album Self Made. Obviously this type of street promotion (which according to my knowledge, Steve Rifkind is the pioneer of) is an old school tactic that labels still use to build awareness for an album. The actual effectiveness of such a campaign is highly debatable in this era of digital record sales, but that’s a marketing and promotion conversation, and I don’t want to stray too far off topic here.

The reporter, knowing that hanging up posters on public property like lampposts is illegal in New York, sensed a story unfolding right before his eyes, and decided to start taking pictures of the signs with the Rocko promotional posters attached to them. The Times reporter, David W. Dunlap, writes,

“After about two minutes, one man asked me why I was taking pictures. ‘Because what you’re doing is illegal,’ I replied. He answered, ‘Breaking cameras is illegal, too, but if you don’t stop taking pictures, I’ll break your camera.’ He modified ‘camera’ with an adjective I am not permitted to repeat here. I identified myself as a reporter from The Times. ‘I’ll break your camera,’ he said, using that adjective again, ‘and you can print that in your paper.’ I distinctly remember thinking, ‘No, I can’t.’ Then, rather than antagonize him further, I started taking pictures of the poster-covered scaffold pipes across Broadway. The approach came so swiftly, I cannot even say whether it was from in front or behind. But I do remember a furious face inches away from mine as the man said he had warned me not to take any more pictures. The next few minutes are — as they say — a blur. I was suddenly on my back on the sidewalk, near the curb, trying to hold on to my camera and fend off my assailant, with my right leg pressed against his chest.”

Dunlap goes on to cite many eyewitnesses from the scene who say his Nikon D40 camera was snatched from him and then smashed on the ground. Luckily, the camera’s memory card was able to remain intact and he salvaged the pictures. He says he doesn’t have much in the way of injuries except a bruise on his right knee, and that he won’t press charges. He also notes that he doesn’t feel like much force was used beyond what the street team member needed to wrestle the camera away from him. So it’s not like dude was just intentionally looking to whup his ass or anything like that.

My thing is this, having been on both sides (yes, I, a journalist, have actually illegally hung up posters myself at one point in time, shame on me), I can see why the street team member insisted on snatching the camera away and smashing it on the floor. Things just get like that when you know you’re out in the street doing something you’re not supposed to do. Regardless, you’ve got a job to do, and it’s not like the laws that govern regular people and corporations apply to the music business. Right or wrong, they just don’t. This is a “by any means necessary” type of game, and in order to succeed, you gotta walk it and live it. I imagine anyone who’s out in the street hanging up major label posters on a cold Friday night in New York, is an intern or at the very least someone not that high up on the food chain (I could be wrong though). They’re in this music game to get rich or die trying. How dare you take pictures of their illegal handiwork when he warned you not to? Shame on you, New York Times reporter!

At the same time, let’s be real here. Is a poster hanging up on a lamppost going to affect the marketing and promotion of Rocko’s album that incrementally that one needs to resort to barbarian-like tactics to make sure it actually gets done? Yeah, the reporter provoked the situation by not listening to the street team member and continuing to take pictures. As a reporter, that’s actually his job, just like the street team’s job is to hang up posters. So either way, that night someone wasn’t going to get their respective job done. Or the street team member could have just continued on doing his job while the pictures were snapped. What’s the worst thing that could happen, the reporter publishes them in the paper? It’s not like anyone actually takes newspapers seriously anymore. No harm, no foul. Then again, maybe a simple conversation between the two of you might have ended the beef right there. It would probably go something like this.

Street team member: Hey, why are you taking pictures?

Reporter: Because it’s illegal.

Street team member: Damn man, why you gotta do me like that?

Reporter: It’s my job.

Street team member: I know, but it’s my job to get these posters up. Tough times in the music biz right now, I’m just trying to get get get it.

Reporter: Yeah man, same thing in the Newspaper biz, tough times, I’m just trying to get it too.

Street team member: It’s a Friday night, people are out having a good time. I’m just trying to do my job. What do you say we each just forget about this whole thing and let it be what it is?

Reporter: You’re right, I can find something more interesting to take pictures of than some Rocko signs. Who’s Rocko anyway?

The end.

Not like that could ever happen in real life though. That would just be too mature for anyone involved with hip-hop or the music business, right?

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  • yo

    at least the guy didnt stomp him or anything

  • D.A. On The Track Man

    get get get it!!! AHAHHAHAHHAHAH

  • VoiceOfReason

    Cosign that last line completely.

    Loved the post.

  • BrownWonda

    what does this have to do with djing or producition?
    wasnt scratch magazine about djing and producing?

    • DJ Daddy Mack


  • Hambone Deluxo

    The street team guy is an idiot. His posters will be ripped down or covered up in days, but if the photo ended up in the NYT millions of people would’ve seen it. The real loser here, of course, is poor Rocko.

  • goochtmi

    Hey brownwonda, If you can find something interesting to write about- in fact, a whole new topic entirely- about hip-hop production and DJing, every single day, I suggest you start your own website or blog about it and do just that. Otherwise, at least from my end, you’re going to get one post a week, if that. If you don’t like what’s being written, don’t click the link. Bottom line.

  • Chris “Mundelz”

    This really is a non-story (mainly considering it involves Rocko)… but people still take this marketing seriously? that shit is so outdated, if I were to see an artist getting promoted in such away, sure I’d become aware… aware that the artist/artist’s team is not real savvy or important, hence losing my interest… there’s this thing called MySpace they can use that would be far easier, far less troubling, and far MORE effective

  • don dog

    fuck off….That reporter needed to have his ass whipped up and down the block. Our taxpaying dollars pay for them damm lamp posts… its only illegal until I feel like putting my poster up ,, you cocksuckin, smartmouth, barefaced , cameragrippin , starbucks drinkin , dog walking , shit pickin up , offspring worshipping, worthless piece of a man who talks about what the law says , and then fails to defend his own self and/or property…be a real man you photo taking flunky,,,!!! There are worse things illegally happening in NYC , other than Rocko’s poster being put up . grow a pair of nuts , stand up to your wife and kids and be the man of your own house 1st you pale face , spineess bastard, then worry about playing police officer!! FUCK YOU!!

  • What’z Crackin

    @ Chris

    Yeah, there is myspace but every loser with protunes and a half ass 16 have myspace too. I think personally the reporter was wrong, if some loser was taking incriminating photos of me I would’ve broke that camera over his head.

    • Chris “Mundelz”

      That is true. But I still think they’d be bettetr off creating awareness through MySpace than that. Plus now that majors have come on to it, they can shell out their wallets for serious advertising.

  • Y. Fame

    Good post. You made some good points, especially about how regular business laws don’t seem to apply for the music world and how people just aren’t civilized now a days. I think this is the realest post I’ve ever seen on XXL that wasn’t written by Billy or Bol. Apparently XXL can hire people that have educations. Kudos!!!

    T. Fame

  • Y. Fame

    Good post. You made some good points, especially about how regular business laws don’t seem to apply for the music world and how people just aren’t civilized now a days. I think this is the realest post I’ve ever seen on XXL that wasn’t written by Billy or Bol. Apparently XXL can hire people that have educations. Kudos!!!

    Y. Fame

  • 80′s Baby

    the street team member should have been publicly shot for hanging up anything to do with tahat wack ass nigga Rocko…really….does anybody like this dude?

    no serious

    name one person


    just one

  • Jay Smooth

    The street teamer played himself by handling it that way, but the reporter’s not exactly Edward R Murrow either.. does he also “sense a story” every time he walks by someone selling bootleg DVDs? Seems to me he was just picking an easy fight to spice up a non-story.

    If you look up the reporter’s past work, you’ll see he likes to manufacture confrontations:


    If your interning for Def Jam your probably :

    A.) A failed rapper
    B.) A failed Industry Fuck
    c.) A failed drug dealer
    d.) All of the above!

  • Jack

    that guys a shitty reporter if his story is people hanging up posters and what a loser taking pictures cause there breaking a petty law.

  • render

    niggas are dumb as bricks. If your gonna do some less than lawful shit, dont do that shit in front of a fuckin reporter for the goddamn NEW YORK TIMES

    niggas might as well have jacked homeboys camera live on the 7 oclock news

  • rider4life

    you do what have to
    when your ass is broke
    so i respect dude for it no matter what type of job or internship it is
    just know that on the long run
    youre gonna making that dough
    can you feel me?…

  • thafuture

    man this is bad, need new music check it out here:

  • Maurice Garland

    im sorry dawg, thats some lame shit on the reporters part…really, what was he going to say in the story? just sound like he felt like being a pain in the ass for no good reason.

    i too used to do street promotions at one time. if someone took pictures of me doing it. I’d prolly just finish up and get the hell on instead of going over to talk to dude.

    that shit is sad, are NY Times reporters that desperate for a story?


    Agree with MG.

    The journalist took his job too seriously, not the intern. Please believe that this journalist in question has done some illegal shit to get a story done, whether drugs or just being libelous and making up a quote. Word to The Wire.

    Didn’t warrant a universal beatdown, but it did warrant some respect for the Hip-Hop hustle. But then again…

    If a picture of me, putting up posters illegally at the demand of my music industry bosses, hit the NY Times, I’d have a field day. It’s instant fame, and you look like the ultimate hustler just for doing your job. Hell, I might pose with my shit.

  • az$$rugerman

    He modified ‘camera’ with an adjective I am not permitted to repeat here!!!!!!! lmao

    what a damn cornball.. LAME!! yeah this reporter was desperate for a story, BY ALL MEANS NECESSARY.. even if it costs him a camera..

  • Shawty J

    “He modified camera with an adjective?” So I’m guessing that guy should’ve said “I’ll break that camera” instead of “your camera”? This reporter is retarded why was he wasting time taking pictures of a future one hit wonder rapper’s posters. This moron should’ve known that the article wouldn’t have seen the light of the day if that street team member would’nt have laid him out like a blanket on a bed.

    The whole conversation of how the scenario should’ve went was hilarious. “I’m just trying to get, get, get it!” “Who’s Rocko anyway”, priceless.

  • klep one

    or he could have said “you just do you, umma do meee”


    Both of them wasted their time but now only 1 of them walks away with a broken camera. Winner by default, street team member.

    • EReal

      Wamp Wamp Wamp!

  • silent rage

    couldnt get funnier than this…lol

  • Billy X. Sunday

    @ MG and The Underwriter,
    Both dudes were dickheads for different reasons.

    The reporter is taking pics of illegal activity. Imagine if you are taking pics of fools doing that hand to hand game? More than a fancy camera will get broken off. That is the risk you take when you film criminals and he should have respected that.

    The street team dude was a dumb shitbag and will be lucky if Universal doesn’t throw his ass under the bus. Someone will have o pay for that equipment in lieu of charges or a lawsuit. No one outside of Atlanta or various havens for shitty music is fucking with Rocko.

    Good drop Gooch.

  • FLIP

    Fuck that bitch ass reporter. Mind your fucking business. “Because what you’re doing is illegal.” Oh you a tough guy? I’m mad homey didn’t smack the shit out of him for trynna buck up.

  • DC Sniper

    y’all lames who are defending the street team punk better not bring that poster junk to DC cuz i will LAY YOU OUT

  • Impulse 187 aka King of Kings

    lmao @ FLIPs comment

    I would have stomped the shit out of that reporter if i was that street team guy. That little pussy ass reporter fell to the ground and used his foot to keep the other guy away? lmfao what a bitch! That shit is funny.