While ODB is baffling law enforcement officials in New York, its nothing compared to the ruckus caused here in Cali, by Anarae Brown who is better known as X-Raided. Yesterday his much anticipated fourth album 'Vengeance Is Mine' was released and has more then a few folks up in arms. He's definitely given new meaning to the word 'controversy'. For folks who don't know, X-raided is serving a 31 year sentence for the murder of a grandmother who lived near Sacramento. Back in '91 he and other gang members stormed the home of Patricia Harris which resulted in her in her being fatally shot. X-Raided till this day maintains that he was present but did not pull the trigger..
Now in '92 X-raided's first album 'Pyscho Active' was released while he was in jail. It was considered by many to be the 'hardest rap album' to ever come out. X-Raided came under fire for two reasons. First, there was talk that some of the songs actually referred back to the murder. Second, police maintained that the gun which he had pointed to his head on the album cover was the actual murder weapon.
There was a controversial follow up album in '95 called 'Xorcist'. Here X-raided caused a stir because the album was recorded while he was behind bars. Although its not that unusual to have that happen now, back then it was. Up to that point, only fellow Cali rapper Mac Dre and a number of inmates in Rahway Prison in New Jersey, known as the Lifers had recorded albums while behind bars. In the case of the Lifers, permission was granted by correction officials and a recording studio was actually built inside the prison. It was sanctioned because the subject matter focused around the Rahway inmates warning listeners about the harshness of jail life. Their goal was to get people to stay away from prison. The landmark album was a warning. In the case of Mac Dre, no permission was given as he wound up recording his album over the phone. It was the same situation with X-Raided as the 'Xorcist' was also recorded over the phone.
Last year X-Raided recorded his 3rd album behind bars called 'Unforgiven'. It set off all types of alarms. The first issue was the album cover. It pictured him on the cover without his standard prison garb. Prison officials wanted to know when the picture was taken and how it was allowed without him wearing standard attire.. The second alarm went off when folks listened to the album and discovered that X-Raided's lyrics were crystal clear. There was no echo or static noises which are usually associated with songs recorded behind bars. This raised a lot of suspicions. Prison officials wanted to know how he managed to pull this off. They weren't sure if Black Market records, X-Raided's label was using previously recorded material or were they employing new technology that could enhance his voice. Officials wanted to know if X-Raided left the facilities to record the album. Executives at Black Market were put under the gun by Cali prison officials as high ranking lawmakers were livid.
Around the same time while all this drama was swirling around, X-Raided started stirring up the pot within the music industry. He sent off a well publicized stinging letter that blasted The Source Magazine. He took them to task for giving his album a low rating. The album was well received and one of the most popular albums in Cali last year. In his letter X-Raided accused the Source of being hypocritical. He noted that the editors thought he had good rhyme skills and nice beats but were upset with his subject matter which dealt with gangsta life. X-Raided pointed out that The Source gave high marks to artists like Jay-Z and DMX who rap about street life. In DMX's case he had a song about raping a 15 year old. X-Raided questioned why DMX got 4 mics with such violent material. He also questioned the Source's objectivity due to the fact that Master P and his No Limit roster of artist who are known for 'gangsta' lyrics, spent thousand of dollars on advertisements and never got a low rating. He raised the question as to whether or not the Source was being paid off for their reviews.. To read a copy of that letter go here: http://www.daveyd.com/fnvjuly21.html . X-Raided's letter drew praises from all sorts of artists who were frustrated with The Source. They felt he clearly echoed their sentiments. X-Raided ended is letter by declaring war in 2000.
A year and a half later X-Raided is back in the news with the release of his 4th album 'Vengeance Is Mine'. Released yesterday [Nov 21 2000], this is his 3rd album recorded while behind bars. As was the case with 'Unforgiven' prison officials are again questioning how and where it was recorded. Some of the material is crystal clear while on other songs you can hear a faint echo in the back ground indicating it was recorded over phone lines. Thus far the mystery behind how he recorded his last album is pointing to a correctional officer who has been terminated. Officials are saying that X-Raided confessed to an officer sneaking in a miniature recording device for him to use. X-Raided's producers at the label have not commented on this.. The profits from the sale of the last album which is close to a quarter of a million dollars is being held up in court. Black Market is currently involved in a lawsuit with the state attorney general.
The people who are most upset is the family of the victim..They have maintained that the release of this latest album does nothing but bring back painful memories..In a recent interview with a local news station, Willie Harris the husband of Patricia Harris said he did not want to do anything in aiding X-raided or his label make money..One thing is for sure, 'Vengeance is Mine' is sure to sell well. What do you think about X-Raided making albums and the emotional sparks it sends off ... mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org