Posted by Dave
Rap News Network
3/30/2006 1:27:56 PM
Tags and topics realted to this article include Snoop Dogg. Hip Hop, Rap and Events.
Among the many revelers who showed up at a recent private party held by Molson Coors Brewing at the Rio hotel in Las Vegas, one person was notably absent: Rapper Snoop Dogg, who had been billed as the evening's main entertainment.
The reason: The Rio's parent company, Harrah's Entertainment, asked Coors to cancel Snoop because of pressure from local law-enforcement authorities and Nevada's Gaming Control Board, according to several people close to the situation.
Snoop Dogg isn't the only rapper feeling unwelcome in Vegas these days. After a spate of shootings involving local rappers, acts here are finding their gigs canceled, often at the last minute. Some clubs that promote rap music say they are being subjected to frequent police visits and inspections.
Moose's Beach House Bar & Grill is one of them. After being contacted by the police, it recently ended a weekly hip-hop party and stopped advertising on a prominent local rap radio station.
"They said it could be a problem, the music we're playing," said Moose's general manager Johnny Young. Now, he says, "we play rock, we play Madonna."
The crackdown is putting rap in the spotlight in a gambling mecca that was built by gangsters and frequently plays up its live-and-let-live ethos.
It started last June, after four local rappers were shot to death in Clark County in a span of a few months. Sheriff Bill Young of the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department sent a letter to state gambling regulators urging them to discourage casinos from booking rappers.
"I don't know if we can influence the gaming industry to not book gangster rap acts here in Las Vegas," he wrote. "However, to my way of thinking, it is a legitimate crime-prevention strategy." Young declined to comment for this article.
After the recent shooting death of a local police officer by an aspiring rapper named Amir Crump, Nevada's State Gaming Control Board took action.
In a Feb. 7 letter to casino operators, the board, which controls casino-gambling licenses, expressed particular concern about "gangster rap." The term, used mainly in the early 1990s, describes music that features raw lyrics about violent gang activities.
Citing the earlier request from Young, the letter called the shootings and other violent incidents surrounding rap concerts "serious threats to the community." The missive ended with a demand that casino operators perform "due diligence in determining suitability of entertainment," and threatened to "hold the licensee accountable" for any violent incidents.
Not all casinos feel pressure to scale back rap acts. Alan Feldman, chief spokesman for MGM Mirage, said his company viewed the Feb. 7 memo from the gambling authority as simply a reminder of casinos' responsibility for events that occur on their properties. Rapper Ice Cube is scheduled to perform May 27 at the House of Blues club at MGM Mirage's Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino.
Stavros Anthony, a Metropolitan Police captain who is also a regent at the University of Nevada, wanted to take the anti-rap campaign further. He recently pushed a proposal to ban all rap concerts from the school's facilities, which include the 18,000-seat Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas. On March 17, the board of regents rejected the measure as unconstitutional.
The controversy in Las Vegas is the latest in a long-running debate about the alleged connection between rap music and violence. In 1995, activists led by a dissident Time Warner shareholder pressured the company to sell off its 50 percent stake in the Interscope Records label because of its roster of gangster-rap artists. Their chief objection: the often-violent imagery in rap music, which they said was "poisoning the minds of our children and destroying our moral sense."
Then, in the late 1990s, two high-profile rap artists — Tupac Shakur and Notorious B.I.G. —
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