James Rosemond, formerly known as “Jimmy Henchman,” notched a major win this week. His alleged involvement in the murder-for-hire of G-Unit Lowell affiliate “Lodi Mack” Fletcher was overturned.
Rosemond was the founder and CEO of Czar Entertainment. He managed The Game, Sean Kingston, Brandy, Akon, Mike Tyson. In 2007, during the height of Game’s beef with 50 Cent and G-Unit, a group of men including Tony Yayo and Lowell “Lodi Mack” Fletcher allegedly assaulted Rosemond’s 14-year-old son, who was on his way to his father’s W. 25th street offices in Manhattan wearing a Czar Entertainment shirt. Tony Yayo copped a plea for harassing the younger Rosemond. Lodi Mack eventually pled guilty to endangering the welfare of a child and served two years for assault and narcotics charges.
Two weeks after being paroled in September 2009, Lodi Mack was murdered in the Bronx. Federal agents said they believed Rosemond ordered and paid for the attacks, which were carried out by Brian McCleod in exchange for reportedly $30,000 in cocaine. After a mistrial in March 2014, he was eventually convicted and sentenced to life in December 2014. But the case was overturned this week.
A three-judge 2nd Circuit panel said Judge Colleen McMahon “erred in unduly restricting Rosemond’s ability to defend against the charges when he was convicted at a second trial.” Rosemond has always maintained that he never intended to kill Lodi Mack. Rather, he wanted to provide a “grown man ass-whooping.” He also told DX this week that, should he be retried, he plans on calling 50 Cent to the stand, something he explains in detail in the conversation below.
While an overturned murder-for-hire charge is definitely a W, Rosemond still faces six life sentences on Continuing Criminal Enterprise charges, or the Kingpin statute. Documentarian Don Sikorski (who produced and directed the lauded BMF documentary) has decided make Rosemond’s case the center of his latest docuseries, Unjust Justice: The Rosemond Tapes. “One of the things that I want to be clear on is that I’m not really involved in the docuseries,” he tells DX. “… One of the things that Don Sikorski had made it clear to me when he took on the project was that I wouldn’t have no say so in the direction that it went; that he would do his independent investigation in regards to reading the transcripts, talking to different people.”
In a separate conversation with HipHopDX, which is included in this week’s episode of The Breakdown, Sikorski looks forward to unveiling how the government’s assertion that Rosemond is deserving of kingpin charges is “egregious and wrong.” Also in this discussion, Rosemond goes into detail about how he initially inked a deal with The Game, the Quad City Studio “rumors” that he believes have haunted him since Tupac rapped “Promise to payback Jimmy Henchman” on 1996’s “Against All Odds,” and the changes he would like to see in the US criminal system. Jimmy Rosemond in his own words.
James Rosemond On Overturned Murder-For-Hire Charge
“I’m hoping now that I got one overturned that I can get this other one overturned. It looks like we have the chance of doing that. It’s pretty much all this week is gonna be conversations about the [CCE case]. It all depends on if they take me back to trial for the murder-for-hire, also.
“First of all, I don’t think I should’ve been charged for the murder-for-hire because, at the time, the main witness in that case pretty much said I never told him to go kill Lowell Fletcher. I told him to bring to Lowell Fletcher to me. But, when you go by the law, in order for you to be guilty, they have to prove the elements of the case. What they did, they brought up the Hot 97 shooting and all of this stuff that I had nothing to do with. I just didn’t understand how me as a manager was being blamed for every Hip Hop shooting that was happening in New York. In that sense, when it came down to the murder-for-hire [the witness confirmed] I never told him to go kill anyone. They charged me anyway with murder-for-hire, which they could’ve never proved but I was found guilty on it.
“Here’s the thing, if I am retried on the murder-for-hire, and this is something that me and my attorneys have discussed already, I am 100 percent calling 50 Cent as a witness. The reason I’m doing that is because there is some underlying stuff that happened throughout this whole thing that made them charge me; that made them feel like they could’ve gotten a conviction on me. His name came up in my trial more than it needed to. We will be calling 50 Cent to the stand. If the prosecutors won’t call him, then we will call him because the things they are accusing me of doing to 50 Cent and Tony Yayo definitely didn’t happen. Where they are getting this from is unbeknownst to me.
“I felt like it was about time that things are starting to unravel because, I’m 50-years-old, so you know that a lie can’t stand on its own for too long. I’m just glad that the second circuit was brave enough knowing the high publicity status of this case and knowing that this was a murder; that they were brave enough to see justice in this case. I was elated, man. I was very happy that this thing here is starting to unravel.
James Rosemond’s Hopes For Unjust Justice Docuseries
“For some reason, when I got into the business—especially after the Quad City Studios shooting—I don’t know how my name became part of this über villain kind of guy. My hopes are whatever the myths are; whatever that magnetism that draws people to the negative part of whatever people have associated me to, I’m hoping to dispel some of these myths because a lot of these myths aren’t based off fact. A lot of the crimes I’ve been convicted of aren’t based off of facts. They’re based off of people’s recollection. They’re based off of people’s fears and hopes and superstitions. I hope that this docuseries really clears up all the things that you didn’t know.
“One of the things that I want to be clear on is that I’m not really involved in the docuseries. The only thing that I’ve done is give interviews for the docuseries. One of the things that Don Sikorski had made it clear to me when he took on the project was that I wouldn’t have no say so in the direction that it went; that he would do his independent investigation in regards to reading the transcripts, talking to different people. But because I know the facts of my case and because I know the facts of what happened, I’m not afraid of where the outcome would be.
“Let’s take Making a Murderer from Netflix, that worked out for those guys. When you take the podcast Serial with Adnan Syed, that worked out for him. But there are docuseries that have not worked out for guys. You got the guy in The Jinx on HBO where he had a hot mic and he pretty much confessed to the murder while he had a hot wire when he walked into the bathroom. I just said that to say this: it can go either way with Don Sikorski in this thing. I know the facts so I know that they will absolve some of the things that I didn’t even know.
“Let’s take one incident which I filed in the court recently that Don Sikorski has found is that Henry “Black” Butler and Leah Daniels (who is the sister of Lee Daniels who did Empire, who was a part of my drug conspiracy case), what happened was Henry in one of his moments started bragging that the prosecutor Todd Kaminsky gave him favors. He was allowing his wife to come into the interview office while he was interviewing. He bragged that he would call the prosecutor and they would allow him to get out of jail when he didn’t have interviews with the prosecutor. All of these things we never knew. However, through the investigation, Don Sikorski and other writers, we end up finding that out, which is a big thing.
“Being that my conviction is based off of testimony, the jury should’ve heard that Henry Butler and Leah Daniels got those kinds of favors. He was chilling so much. He was eating sushi. The guy was on his iPad. He was checking up on his kids at school. This guy was doing all of this and we never knew none of that. It was never disclosed to us at trial. Don Sikorski in the Unjust Justice series, they unveiled some stuff that I didn’t know. I’m hoping the facts put him in a direction it needs to go to where it helps me out in the overall scheme of my case.
James Rosemond’s On His Notorious Reputation
“I just believe that if the rumors around me wasn’t what it was, I don’t think they would’ve tried what they tried with me with anyone else. It wouldn’t have worked with anyone else because here it goes: you a guy like me who has a name. Not only do I have a name, I have a history which I try to explain in the docuseries. Let me be clear, I haven’t seen any of the docuseries. [I’ve heard] people’s opinions who have seen it so I know some people like it. Some people think I went a bit too far. I have a criminal history. That was the only reason why I believe I was targeted. I have a reputation. I don’t believe that the prosecutors believe that I was doing the type of business I was doing unless it was illegal… They planted three or four informants around me.
“Here’s the logic in this whole thing: If you plant four informants around me who claim that they’re my best friends and been with me when I’m in New York. And I’m this big kingpin making $10 million a year as they claim at trial, why is there no wire taps? Why is there not a conversation with me and them having a conversation about drugs, about murder, about all of the things that they kept accusing me of doing? It just doesn’t make any sense. You could be investigating me for three years or four years. You’ve got informants taping every phone call I make. You’ve got guys coming to meet me and you don’t have one tape that you could’ve used in court that could’ve sealed the deal of me being guilty of running an organization? All you could do was find some guys that you found out was hustling then they point the finger at me saying I was the boss and you actually give me six life sentences off of informant testimony with no proof? It just doesn’t add up.
“That would’ve never flew with anybody else. But because of my background, because of the people I associated with — I just didn’t know that because I associated with a few guys that they would be able to build a case like this on me. They never caught me with any drugs. They didn’t catch me in a warehouse with any drugs. They just let these guys who got arrested with things say that it belonged to him. This is what I got convicted on and that’s scary to me. This is one of the things that I’ve always tried to say to people: If this can happen to me… My business was making $2 to $3 million per year consistently for 20 years. But if this can happen to me, they can pinpoint anybody and find something going on and build a case off of that.
That’s pretty much what they did to me. They felt they had a financial situation going on. Then when the guy — Khalil Abdullah — put the money in the warehouse and then called them and told them that was my money, the next thing you know it morphed into a drug case. Them knowing that these witnesses were unreliable, obviously I’m being set up because the guy is trying to get off of his trial. Y’all made me wear that anyway. Y’all gave me the case.
How James Rosemond’s Son Reacted To Overturned Case
“He found out about the reversal before I did. He was elated, man. He was very excited. He called various family members and let them know that it happened. When I called, he told me and we immediately called a lawyer. I always knew that it would get overturned. I’ve been here before so I wasn’t as optimistic as I have been in the past. He was elated and that made me feel good because he had to go through the mud with me because he’s my junior. He has the same name as me. He had to go through the mud of what people threw at me for the last five years plus while all of this is going on. Not only did they say his father was a kingpin and drug dealer, they said that his father was a murderer. Not only did they say his father was a murderer but he felt some of the blame that because they say his father killed a grown man that assaulted him. So he’s almost feeling a part of that bag. ‘My father’s in jail for life for me. Maybe I shouldn’t have never told my father that four grown men surrounded me and showed me guns and pushed me around and assaulted me.’ He’s thinking, ‘Maybe I shouldn’t have never told my father that.’ He got assaulted by grown men when he was 14 years old. He came and told his dad and things transpired from there.
“But let me be very clear, I never ever told anyone to kill Lowell Fletcher. Did I tell them to bring him in? 100%. I wanted him in front of me so I could show him what a grown man ass-whooping was. If Yayo was man enough to even take a position that… Let’s even examine that. Yayo got some guys that are 32 or 33 years old who see’s a little kid who’s 14-years-old, and he looks 12. When you’re young like that, you’re looking a lot younger than you really are. He 14-years-old but he looked 12. He’s not a big 14. And you have four guys surround this little kid and ask him what he’s doing with a Czar [Entertainment] shirt on and then you assault him. There is no logic in that. I don’t even care what kind of problem you have with someone’s family, there is no reason for you to do that. There’s no logic in that.
My thing is, I’m a manager and this is a conversation that me and Chris Lighty had a few times: us as managers, we’re not rappers. So one day Game ran down on Chris Lighty at the Grammys’ afterparty at Universal when we was in Los Angeles. I scolded Game in regards to saying something to Chris Lighty because if you got a problem with 50, you deal with 50 on it. You guys are rappers. You can rap about it and do what y’all wanna do. But you do not approach Chris Lighty in regards to that. Chris Lighty was with his wife at the time so that’s what really made me feel like that wasn’t right. I don’t know if Chris Lighty had that same conversation with 50 Cent and them, but obviously something went wrong to where they felt that because I managed Game, that they could cross that line with me.
I just could never understand why would they do that, especially with a 14-year-old kid when I’m in my office everyday and their offices are up the street from where my offices are at. They could’ve easily waited for me outside the office and assaulted me and that would’ve been perfectly fine because I’m a grown man and been able to defend myself. Why would you wait to see a 14-year-old kid walking down the street to approach him and then brandish firearms and do all of this kind of stuff? Those are cowards, man.
“But again, because of my background, they felt that I must’ve told someone to kill him. So they arrested me for that homicide. Again, when you look at the whole broader picture and you look at my son, who has to feel like he’s part of the blame on why his father’s in jail for life, if there’s nothing else that makes me feel better about this reversal is that he doesn’t have to live with that kind of guilt. I would’ve rather him not be in the music business, but he is. I just tell him to understand the nature of the game and the nature of the game is to lie a lot. These people will sell you dreams. As long as he understands that and has the temperament for that, he’ll be alright. One of the things that stood me out from a lot of the guys in the business was that I was a no nonsense guy. I didn’t lie to people. If I told somebody I was gonna do something, I did it. If I promised somebody, I came through with the promise as best as I could. That’s what made me, with all of the baggage I came into the music business with, that’s what made me stand apart from everybody else in the game.
How James Rosemond Inked Deal With The Game
“Game mentioned it in his op-ed that he just did. It was a meeting that I had with Dr. Dre and Jimmy Iovine. They were concerned about me managing Game because of the Tupac rumor. I told them that the rumors was just that, just a rumor. However, I said, ‘Listen, I don’t know how to convince you that the rumors with Tupac is a rumor, but if you can find one person that can say that I gave them a bad contract, then I will walk away from Game.’ Jimmy Iovine looked at me after that and said he knew I was telling the truth when I told him that. I told him if he could find anybody. I’d been in the game for 15 years at that point and had done a bunch of deals. I said, ‘If you could find anyone that would say I’d gave them a bad contract…’ Forget that I slapped them up, that I hung them out of a window. I said, ‘Find someone that I had gave a bad publishing contract or management contract and I’ll walk away from Game.’
Drug Laws & Regrets
“There needs to be some kind of reform with these [drug] laws. There’s no reason why I should be sitting in a United States penitentiary with multiple life sentences on hearsay that someone says they saw me with something. I think that needs to change. I think the other thing is that no one should have a life sentence for drug dealing, especially when they are phantom drugs, just because someone is saying it. I think those two things go together. But here it is, a guy like El Chapo who’s about to get extradited to America, who was literally on foam wire and they busted him with the drugs that he was sending to America who will have the same amount of time—I have six life sentences. He will get the same amount of time that I got with no drugs. That’s not fair. There’s no way to rationalize fairness in that kind of conversation. So nobody with drugs I believe should have life in the hearsay part of it. It makes us all vulnerable. Now it makes us vulnerable for anything to happen to where people can be targeted and set up and people can plant stuff and the next thing you know you’re doing 25 years in some penitentiary because of nonsense.
“I have a lot of regrets. But you know, in life you may go through regrets. My biggest regret is that when I left the hood, I should’ve probably just left the hood alone. It just seemed like everything, when it came to me, was almost like a reality. There was nothing fictions when it came to Jimmy. You could have a guy rap about tons of kilos and it’s not real. But, let a guy a rap that “I promise to pay back Jimmy Henchman” and the next thing you know, I murdered the guy. That was my reality. That became my reality and my biggest regret is that maybe I just kept it — whatever this word ‘real’ is in the urban community — maybe I just kept it too real. I don’t know. I was just being me. I can’t change my history.
“One of the other regrets I have is that I’m upset that Tupac ain’t here to clarify nothing. Yet you have these guys interpreting things off of a record. What makes me even more upset about that whole situation, I’m not the only guy this guy mentions in the record. Why am I the only one persecuted on this? I don’t understand it. The guy starts the record off mentioning a bunch of people. He doesn’t even get to me until the end of the record. But the most memorable clip off of this record is me. I don’t get it, man. The only person who’s been persecuted for this record is me and I don’t understand it, bro. My regret is I wish I would’ve just been in a business that didn’t create the kind of visions it does to where people would take it as though it’s facts.
“You have a guy like Todd Kaminsky who is a rap groupie who is listening to Tupac. He becomes a prosecutor. Here’s my luck, he gets a high-powered job in in the United States government attorneys’ office. The first case that he tells Loretta Lynch that he wants to investigate is me. You’ve got a guy that listens to rap music who doesn’t even understand music that’s trying to interpret this nonsense, then you call down Dexter Issac who gives him a story that 20 years ago that I paid him to rob and shoot Tupac because I wanted a ring for my baby mother. Who would believe something like that? Only somebody who is a fan of rap that would be that gullible and incredulous to believe such nonsense. That’s how I end up being prosecuted and persecuted at the same time.”
HipHopDX reached out to Todd Kaminsky’s office for comment. We have not received a reply as of press time.
Justin Hunte is Brand Ambassador of HipHopDX and hosts The Breakdown and #DXLive. Former Editor-in-Chief of DX, Hunte’s been featured on Revolt TV’s “Revolt Live” and the AllOutShow on SiriusXM, as well as in Billboard magazine, digital campaigns for Lexus, Honda, Brisk, and Simple Mobile. Prior to joining HipHopDX, Hunte spent 5 years working in investment banking at Banc Of America/Merrill Lynch and has covered music, politics, and culture for numerous publications. He is currently based in Los Angeles, California. @TheCompanyMan on all socials.