Julia Beverly and the Art of Scamming Rappers

julia_beverly

The music industry is known to be a cutthroat business where shady characters are always attempting to cash in on the dreams of aspiring artists. There have been stories of artist exploitation that date back almost as far as the business itself. From bad contracts to fake show promoters, the industry is full of scams. Given the current climate of the business, it is no surprise that maintaining integrity is low on the priority list for some in the music industry and many are resorting to some pretty deceitful tactics in order to make a buck.

My colleague George forwarded me a copy of an email exchange that took place between him and Julia Beverly, who heads Ozone Magazine, a popular hip-hop publication that primarily focuses on artists from the South and West Coast. George was responding to a Twitter post Beverly had made stating that she was acting as the middle-man for any artist looking to feature a verse from Louisiana rapper Lil Boosie on one of their records.

jb_boosie_twit

This news struck me as odd because I know Lil Boosie to be an artist on the roster of Asylum Records, as I worked promotion for one of his albums a few years back when I interned at the label. The rapper was recently sentenced to a 2 year prison term for a drug possession charge, so I figured the label may be liquidating his material in order to cash in before he begins his term.

As I read the initial email exchange, I was astounded by the scandalous nature of the transaction Beverly was attempting to broker.

From: George

Date: Sun, 1 Nov 2009 19:18:19 -0500

To: <jb@agencytwelve.com>

Subject: Boosie verse

Hello,

I saw on Julia Beverley’s twitter that Boosie has verses for sale. I’d like to know what the prices are.

Thank you
George

This was her response:

On Sun, Nov 1, 2009 at 9:28 PM, <jb@agencytwelve.com> wrote:

He’s looking for around $7k+ cash. This week only. He has several prerecorded verses already done. Price does not include label clearance.

This would actually appear to be a pretty good deal for an upcoming artist, given that Lil Boosie has a pretty descent sales record and a loyal following throughout Louisiana and some other Southern markets. The real problem is that she overtly revealed that this price does not include label clearance, meaning she was attempting to sell verses that could be used on a track, but ran the risk of being shut down at any time by the label if they were to catch wind of the existence of these records.

The exchange continued:

From: George

Sent: Tuesday, November 03, 2009 3:08 PM

To: Julia Beverly

Subject: Re: Boosie verse

I have the cash ready to go. What’s going to be involved in getting label clearance? I plan on pushing the track to radio.

From: “Julia Beverly” <jb@agencytwelve.com>

Date: Tue, 3 Nov 2009 15:41:11 -0500

To: George

Subject: RE: Boosie verse

You would probably have to pay the label another $5-7k to get it cleared. Honestly, the clearance isn’t generally a major issue unless the song blows up and/or you get a deal with a major label.. so if that happens, it’ll be a good problem to have.

At this point, I became curious as to what exactly was going on here. I could not believe that someone of Beverly’s standing in the industry was attempting to dupe someone with such little remorse. I began to throw some suggestions to my colleague and attempt to clarify the clearance issue, as I thought this was being treated somewhat lightly.

From: George

Date: Tue, 3 Nov 2009 22:10:27 -0500

To: Julia Beverly<jb@agencytwelve.com>

Subject: Re: Boosie verse

Cool i’m worried about the label clearance and i’m going to try and find a link to [Asylum Records Executive] to see what he says it’s gonna cost me.

On Tue, Nov 3, 2009 at 10:11 PM, <jb@agencytwelve.com> wrote:

It would go thru trill not [Asylum Records Executive]. With label clearance its gonna be like $15k.

From: George

Sent: Tuesday, November 03, 2009 10:24 PM

To: jb@agencytwelve.com

Subject: Re: Boosie verse

Would i need to wire you the 15K and you will handle the clearance and can i expect some love from Ozone when the record drops?

From: Julia Beverly <jb@agencytwelve.com>
Date: Tue, Nov 3, 2009 at 10:27 PM
Subject: RE: Boosie verse
To: George

Yes, we would send you an invoice and take care of getting the paperwork signed. It can sometimes take several weeks to get the paperwork but we can get the verse done right away. This is going through my booking agency, Agency Twelve, so technically it doesn’t have anything to do with Ozone, but we could probably at least post the record on the Ozonemag.com site when it’s done.

This was definitely an interesting turn of events. What started off as a $7K deal with no label clearance involved had become an easy deal to broker for $15K that would include the proper paperwork to make the record legal. How did that happen so quickly? I told him to get some clarification.

From: George

Sent: Tuesday, November 03, 2009 10:43 PM

To: Julia Beverly
Subject: Re: Boosie verse

I’m a little confused. Do i pay you once the paperwork is completed? Otherwise how can I be certain I have a legal clearance?

From: Julia Beverly <jb@agencytwelve.com>
Date: Tue, Nov 3, 2009 at 11:21 PM
Subject: RE: Boosie verse
To: George

We will have a contract/invoice in place to make sure that your funds are safe. I am waiting for the label to confirm the price with clearance.

Wait a minute. An hour ago she was ready to take $15K and was assuring a full clearance. Now she was waiting for the label to confirm the price? I would hope most would walk away from the deal long before this, but clearly this was too interesting to not continue pushing. I actually believed she had to know that George was not serious at this point, as it took almost an entire day before she responded with the “confirmation” he was waiting for.

On Wed, Nov 4, 2009 at 7:38 PM, Julia Beverly <jb@agencytwelve.com> wrote:

Please do NOT forward this link, here are the verses that are available for $7-8k. Just spoke to the label and they said that clearance would NOT be an option at this point.

The message included a link with the 8 verses she was trying to sell available to download. All were tagged with a voiceover shouting “Bad Ass Entertainment” over top, which is a common precaution used mostly for records delivered to DJs that labels do not want leaked.

What confused me about this message was the fact that she was boldly stating that the label would not clear the record under any circumstances. Knowing this information and having addressed George’s previous concerns, you would think the deal would be dead at this point. My guess is that she believed by dangling the verses in front of George, he would forget his previous inhibitions about making this deal and decide to move forward under her original guidance by not worrying about clearing the record with the label.

George continued to play ball with her, but made sure to reiterate his concerns about making this a legal record. I told him to express his desire to make this happen and to even give some information on his own budget, as I knew this would give her an idea of what he was working with.

From: George

Sent: Wednesday, November 04, 2009 8:50 PM

To: Julia Beverly

Subject: Re: Boosie verse

I really love two of the verses actually love them but i’m putting 30K into radio promotion but i’m worried that my record will get shut down. So if the label can’t clear it i’m going to have to find another artist.

From: Julia Beverly <jb@agencytwelve.com>
Date: Thu, Nov 5, 2009 at 12:27 AM
Subject: RE: Boosie verse
To: George

They’re going to get me a definite price on the clearance tomorrow. What’s the most you’re willing to pay total, including label clearance? And which two verses did you like..

In case you’re having trouble following this. We started with a verse that was going to cost $7K with no label clearance. Then she was able to provide a full clearance for $15K. But then after speaking with the label, no clearance was going to be available under any circumstances. Now, after mentioning that he had $30K for radio promotion, the option to get this record cleared was back on the table, but Beverly was intent on finding out how much she could shake him down for.

I figured there was no need to take this any further and advised George to shut it down. Needless to say, Beverly was not happy about the idea that he did not believe this to be a smart business move.

From: George

Date: Thu, 5 Nov 2009 09:49:54 -0500

To: Julia Beverly<jb@agencytwelve.com>

Subject: Re: Boosie verse

You already told me that the label wasn’t going to clear it and this seems to be an illegitimate transaction. Now you’re asking me how much i’m willing to pay. I’m going to step away from this and go with another artist. Thank you

She quickly followed up. Twice.

From: jb@agencytwelve.com

Date: Thu, 5 Nov 2009 16:19:15 +0000

To: George

Subject: Re: Boosie verse

Lol.. I do this all the time and even sent you the audio. I asked you to call me if it makes you more comfortable and I never heard from you. You don’t seem to understand how clearances work, but okay.

From: jb@agencytwelve.com

Date: Thu, 5 Nov 2009 16:29:56 +0000

To: George

Subject: Re: Boosie verse

As far as the label, I’m only relaying what they’re telling me. You should research who you’re speaking to before you start throwing around words like “illegitimate” and basically accusing me of trying to scam you. Kind of disrespectful.

This is where the conversation ended. It’s funny that Beverly took offense to the idea that this transaction appeared to be a little fishy after flip-flopping on the clearance issue numerous times during the exchange. Additionally, she never asked him to call to discuss the deal and even if she had; how would that make this deal any more legitimate? The scary part is she claims to “do this all the time.”

Most people in the hip-hop industry who have ever worked with an independent artist know that promoting that artist properly is a high-stakes business. In order to gain radio airplay without major label backing requires independent artists to seek out and pay people that specialize in getting records on the radio. This will generally require an initial investment of at least $20K in order to see results. In this case, George has indicated he may be willing to drop $37K on a single record and with no remorse Beverly claims he won’t face any problems unless the song “blows up.”

Even more troublesome is the fact that she has no certainty of the actual cost to clear the record with the label and danced around the issue of clearance in an attempt to milk as much money from George as he was able to spend. The truth of the matter is she can’t quote a price because she’s setting up a deal with no boundaries. If George were to attempt to clear the record with the label prior to pushing it to radio, he’s at the mercy of the label and the chance would exist that they could flat out deny the clearance altogether causing him to waste $7K for the verse. His other option would be to take Beverly’s advice and go ahead with radio promotion without a clearance, at which point the label is free to step in at any time and demand an exorbitant fee for a clearance or threaten to send cease & desist letters to any radio station playing the record. Either way, George loses a lot more money than he intended to spend.

This is what has become of a once prosperous industry. Beverly has used her magazine to establish trust with aspiring artists only to turn around and abuse her position of power for her own personal gain. By offering these fly-by-night verses without clearances, she is selling false hope to the aspiring artists that loyally support her magazine each month. Rather than focusing on ways to improve the editorial content of her magazine, Beverly has decided to sink to the level of a two-bit scam artist under the impression that any allegations of shady business practices one could make will quickly be squashed through her control of her publication.

In this case, Beverly is not the only one to blame, as she is clearly in collusion with Lil Boosie in this endeavor. It’s impossible to tell who all stands to benefit from these crooked deals, but it is certainly not the aspiring artist who is just looking for an opportunity to further their career.

When discussing what transpired with Beverly with another colleague who works in the music industry he brought up the point; what if Boosie really needs that money? My response to him was that Boosie needs to have a bake sale. There is no excuse that makes it acceptable to prey off of the innocent people that support you and are just looking for the same opportunity you were given. Once you sign a record deal, you are bound by the clauses of that deal, and if you’re not confident you’re going to be able to support yourself through the earnings you make by signing that contract, then don’t sign it.

This is just one example of the many pitfalls an independent artist may encounter when trying to improve their career. It should serve as a warning that artists must be careful who they are doing business with, especially during these turbulent times in the industry, as it is clear that even those with established reputations in the industry are not above pouncing on an opportunity to take an artist’s hard-earned cash. It is always a wise decision to align yourself with knowledgeable people who can instruct you on the best moves to improve your career. A good manager or entertainment attorney will help protect you from falling victim to these types of scams and are definitely worth the cost especially when they can help you avoid wasting money by engaging in illegitimate business deals.

It is sad to see someone like Beverly, who I once respected for her ability to keep Ozone Magazine thriving during turbulent times for both the music industry and print publications, engaging in this sort of unscrupulous behavior. I still remain confident that better days are ahead for the music industry, but tough times is no excuse for abandoning integrity.

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23 Responses to Julia Beverly and the Art of Scamming Rappers

  1. This doesn't surprise me. What Julia is doing is wrong, but I've experienced these types of business deals first hand. Unfortunately they are common place in the rap game. Almost everything is under handed, under the table and meant to grease as many palms as possible. Not only would I not pay $7K for a Boosie verse, but off of Twitter? Please. In any event, excellent article X. Thanks for sharing.

  2. this is really good, thanks.

  3. u dumbasses dont know the business ………………. shit woulda been the same with the clearances if u woulda went thru boosie himself …………….

    • Exactly @Dirty!! Everyday Artist Sell Verses to Other artist and It Is Known That what they Charge has no connection with whatever label they are on when it comes to clearing the song for an album!! Most labels don't charge you more to have the song on the album, But They Do Want Points From Your album sales!!

      • That is true but I think what both you and dirty are not seeing is when the man said that he needed to get the record cleared and she told him no, that should have been the end of it. Not when he tells her he got 30 k to go to radio and she in turn is speaking for the label and then saying how much are you willing to spend. And did you see how she wanted to do the money transaction please…Who in the industry that is credible handles shit like that in business? See the problem is the bitch thought that dude was stupid.

        She really don't think you negroes is smart. So she played her self now we know what kind of snake bitch she is. Fuck her that trashy ass trailer fuck every nigga in the industry for a cover ass hoe.

        • dam u dont like julia i see. must be something personal. "mind your business" is a funny phrase now when u think about it. You are acting like you are in that deal.

  4. That 7K would of basically got you a verse and if it was a HOT song on you're end, you probaly would need to have it cleared by his label. That's typically how it works, it's actually a good deal though. If you paid the full price w/label clearance and the shit flopped, then you'd be assed out. They're not gonna give you full clearance until they hear the finished product.

  5. She does this for other things, such as being a middle agent for booking acts. Now i am not going to knock her hustle for exploring other avenues of Rev. We all know the print magazine industry is in the toliet and Ozone's website is one step above a wordpress site. She does not seem to even have any online advertisement rev coming in.

    However, the sad reality is, no one is making money in the music industry, unless u r a head of a label or managing a profitable act.

    She has been using her relationships to broker deals btw naive artists and artists' managers (who also partake in getting a cutt). As soon as George was asking questions that needed a direct answer, JB tired to fall back on her "Music Industry OG" card. A lot of people do this, i heard that A&R dude Sickamore was fired for accepting money just to take a "meeting".
    It's a dirty game and it's all smoke and mirrors

  6. I would agree that to some industry folks this would sound like a scam but you would be surprised how many verses are sold, and recorded for mixtape features all the time without label clearance.
    I DO NOT BELIEVE IT WAS HER INTENTION TO HURT, OR STEAL FROM THE ARTIST, BUT RATHER HOOK THEM UP ON A REALLY GOOD DEAL FROM ONE OF THE BIGGEST SOUTHERN STREET ARTISTS IN THE INDUSTRY. BOOSIE IS CURRENTLY CASED UP, THUS INCREASING THE VALUE OF THESE VERSES.

    • I disagree. There is no gray area here. The label is either gonna clear it or not. You don't come back and ask how much are you willing to pay as if that's gonna change the labels mind. She should have just said 7K for the verse, you deal with the legal issues. And that's all that matters is getting the money for a verse, which is cool, but don't dance around any other issues that my arise to get the 7K. I would have shut it down once he started with the legal issues.

  7. Oh yeah that part about him being willing to drop an additional 30k on radio promo does not indicate that she was going to hit him up for more money, but rather a strong incentive that she could use to encourage the label to re-consider allowing the clearance.

    • @Technasty nobody is that dumb deaf and blind. The broad should have left it alone when dude told her upfront he wanted clearance that should have been the end of the conversation right there. It was her intention because dude made his position clear. She did make her position clear with all that going back and forth.

  8. All I know if dat gotta be 1 of the ugliest bitches Ive ever seen in my life. I heard she fucks Officer Ross. FOUL!

  9. i feel that everything was riding a very thin line until they mentioned the 30k and she came back with "how much are u willing" totally hung herself right then…when they were saying we dont want it without a clearance…she should of let the shit go… she desperate for the money..NOT A GOOD LOOK…AT ALL..

  10. i feel that everything was riding a very thin line until they mentioned the 30k and she came back with "how much are u willing" totally hung herself right then…when they were saying we dont want it without a clearance…she should of let the shit go… she desperate for the money..NOT A GOOD LOOK…AT ALL..

  11. Please people are doing fucking worse every day, the Diddys etc… I think as some one else said, she was just trying to hook someone up with a verse, and helping Lil Boosie too.. and to be fair, she is one ugly fuck but Lil Boosie also looks like shit, some of the fucking ugliest dudes every repping now, Lil Wayne, Lil Boosie not exactly sex symbols, I would not even touch them….

  12. i don't think she was trying to screw dude over. 1 one no label is going to clear a major artist with an independent in this kind of industry, because most artist are signed to 360 deals and they are the label investment big time now. (this has just happen to me w/ my artist). so if the record flops it might hurt the artists sales and longterm.

    Now Juilia might be able to get a record cleard with more money to line the peeps responsible clearing the records pocket and i believe thats what she might have been attempting to do not just take dudes money. Anyone knows money talks.

    With my artist we just blowing our song up and if the label (i wont say the name) stops it then cool it is known as a good problem to have. Because if the record blows up you will either get sign to a label and the label will pay for clearence, or a the partent label will sign you. if you dont want to sign and dont have that clearance bread then the disiss letters go out.

  13. i think it's a dirty game and she's playing in it like everyone else. listen to the lyrics, look at the imagery, is it very upstanding and honest? That said, I think you can only bash her so much. There are many worse and some better than her I'd guess. At least she wasn't supplying her name and city for a Western Union that needed to be done today. My cousin has advertised with her before and I think done some other below board deals/negotiations to further his music brand (who I won't name/link here).

    I'd be interested in a interview format convo b/w the blog writer (who has much merit to be disgusted) and JB herself. She was very verbose on the whole Mistah FAB situation, the least she can do is be open about herself.
    That C/D letter from the atty tells me she won't be so forthcoming though.

    LOL @ "glorified wordpress site"

  14. She didn't do anything wrong in this case..Obviously you guys dont know shit about the game.. That was a good price for a Boosie Verse and she was just the middle man.. Now if she LIED and said she could get it cleared then that would be different.. No harm no foul.. She told him what she had and while she had a LEAD she pursued.. I dont blame them for sending out the legal papers to stop the deformation shit.. She has good reason.. PLEASE test the waters before trying to bring others down with your ignorance..

  15. Good read.. to you clowns defending Beverly.. You must not have seen a soundscan chart in your life. Boosie himself ain't putting up real numbers 30,000+ for one verse from a "down south street artists" a good deal ? You Willie Lynch niggas is out your goddamn mind straight up and down..get your knowledge up or forever be doom !!

  16. I need more info with George because now Julia is selling boosie welcome home parties…

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