DJ Drama, Don Cannon Comment On RIAA Raid, Prepare Legal Defense
DJ Drama, born Tyree Simmons and DJ Don Cannon are the owners of Aphilliates LLC, the company that created and produces the popular Gangsta Grillz mixtape series, which has featured top artists like Sean "Diddy" Combs, T.I., Young Jeezy, Jim Jones and others.
Aphilliates offices were raided by a 30-member Swat Team from Fulton County at the behest of the RIAA. Police seized over 50,000 CDs, as well as computers, recording equipment and cars, that will be used as evidence in the event of a trial.
Officials charged DJ Drama and DJ Don Cannon with racketeering. The pair posted $100,000 bail and were released from prison on Jan. 17.
DJ Drama, 28, has hired prominent Atlanta defense attorney Ed Garland, of Garland, Samuel and Loeb Trial Attorneys.
"This is an attempt by the government to paint an image of those involved in Hip-Hop as criminals," DJ Drama said in a statement. "Don Cannon and I are being negatively depicted despite the fact we are legitimate businessman, highly involved in the community and college graduates that have never been arrested. We are being accused of damaging the music industry, when in fact, we are hired by record labels to help develop and elevate the careers of their artists by previewing unreleased material to the masses.”
Don Cannon, 27, has retained the services of Janice Singer and Don Samuel of Thompson and Singer, P.A.
Cannon said the arrests came as a shock because of the relationships the pair have cultivated with the major labels, to help promote and break new artists over the years, via the Gangsta Grillz mixtape series as well as other endeavors.
"Our track record for success has made us some of the most sought after music producers and DJ’s in Hip-Hop," DJ Don Cannon said. "We are looking forward to being exonerated of all charges and continuing to build our brand.”
The raid was part of the RIAA ongoing effort to coordinate its online and physical goods piracy operation.
The organization has been identifying pre-released tracks and albums that are available on the Internet and peer-to-peer networks.
The titles are then placed on heightened alert for RIAA street piracy investigators nationwide.
DJ Drama's attorney Ed Garland has handled high profile cases for NFL stars Ray Lewis and Jamal Lewis.
He disputes the RIAA's claims that his client was selling pirated CD's.
“The charges against Tyree Simmons are false and we are confident this case will be quickly dismissed once everyone has a clear understanding of his business,” Garland said.