Um… what in the world is happening here…
Now, I’m not a very musical person for whatever reason… and I generally don’t care about who Taylor Swift is dating or what music artist assaulted somebody… it just doesn’t interest me much.
But I am an artist, I do care about all art in a general sense, and I do like to read TechDirt. Which is how I came across Mikel Knight…
The case involves Jason Cross, a “country rap” musician who performs under the name Mikel Knight, who has apparently made a name for himself through a highly aggressive “street team”operation that basically travels around in vans pushing people to buy Knight’s CDs — and there are plenty of accusations of sketchy behavior around how those street teams operate, and how Cross treats the people who work for him. Apparently, Cross was not happy with a Facebook group entitled “Families Against Mike Knight and the MDRST” (MDRST standing for Maverick Dirt Road Street Team, which is what Cross calls the street team). He then used a court in Tennessee to try to get Facebook to identify who was behind the group, and then demanded that the page be taken down. That effort is still ongoing, but has been temporarily postponed, while he then filed a separate lawsuit in California against Facebook and whoever is behind that group, a variety of things, including breach of contract, negligent misrepresentation, negligent interference with prospective economic relations, unfair business practices and various publicity rights violations. Oddly, as Levy points out in his post, despite listing John Does as defendants, the complaint doesn’t describe anything anyone did other than Facebook. However, as part of the discovery process, Cross did (of course!) ask Facebook to identify the people behind the group criticizing him.
Now one thing about me… I don’t like artists who, instead of defending their beliefs and art, resort to attempting to suppress other’s voices.
It’s offensive morally and contrary to the entire idea of being an artist.
That seems to be exactly what Mikel Knight is trying to do and that really got me hot and bothered… So off I went to see what the internet had to say about Mikel Knight and boy oh boy was it not good.
If you pay any attention to the country rap realm, you may have heard of a performer by the name of Mikel Knight who originally hails from San Antonio, TX, and is now based out of Nashville. Mikel goes under a couple of handles, such as “The Maverick,” “The Maverick of Music Row,” the “Urban Cowboy” and “The Country Rap King.”
But the allegations and stories about the practices of Mikel Knight and the Maverick Dirt Road Street Team go beyond being overworked and circumventing local ordinances. Stories of physical abuse, mental anguish, individuals being abandoned in small towns, and even the death of street team members in auto accidents after being overworked have been circulating for the last year. Yet Mikel Knight seems to still enjoy superstar status in certain circles (partly because he presents such a high-profile persona through his vehicles), and few questions have been raised about what is really behind Mikel Knight and his street teams.
Mikel Knight’s real name is said to be Jason Cross or Jason Michael Cross, and he’s said to have hid this name because of his criminal past. Jason Michael Cross is 37-years-old with a birth date of 09/06/1976. A search of the Davidson County (Nashville) Criminal Court Clerk Database turned up 20 separate court cases against Jason Cross since 2006, and one as recent as September of 2014. The counts include multiple counts of aggravated assault, harassment, vandalism, theft, and multiple drivers license violations.
- 12/5/2006 – Aggravated Assault
- 5/20/2009 – Protection Order Violation (3 Separate counts)
- 5/21/2009 – No Driver’s License
- 11/3/2009 – No Driver’s License
- 4/8/2010 – Theft of $500
- 4/8/2010 – Harassment – Distress
- 4/8/2010 – Vandalism of $1000
- 6/28/2010 – Harassment
- 6/28/2010 – Aggravated Assault (Bond of $75,000)
- 8/4/2010 – Vandalism of $1000
- 8/4/2010 – Harassment
- 8/4/2010 -Harassment – Distress
- 8/4/2010 – Aggravated Assault (felony)
- 8/4/2010 – Theft of $500 (felony)
- 6/7/2011 – No Driver’s License
- 12/28/2011 – Driving with a Suspended License
- 9/23/2014 – Driver’s License Revoked
Since Mikel Knight claims to be originally from San Antonio, Saving Country Music also checked with the Bexar County Criminal Court and found multiple arrests and court actions for the same Jason M. Cross with a birth date of 09/06/1976, including an aggravated assault from 2006 that a warrant for his arrest is currently issued for.
- 02/18/1995 – Attempted Robbery (felony – received 10 years probation)
- 02/19/1996 – Assault with a Deadly Weapon (felony)
- 03/16/1996 – Assault with Bodily Injury
- 05/16/1998 – Assault with Bodily Injury
- 09/2/1998 – Driving with Suspended License
- 09/7/1998 – Assault with Bodily Injury
- 09/07/1999 – Assault with Bodily Injury
- 05/27/2006 – Assault with Bodily Injury (Pending, warrant issued for his arrest)
Because of his attempts to cover up his real identity, Saving Country Music cannot 100% confirm that Mikel Knight is the same Jason Cross the above arrest records belong to, but it can be confirmed that the two separate arrest records are for the same individual, match up with what is believed to be Mikel Knights real name a birth date, and match up with Mikel Knight’s known whereabouts at the time of the incidents. There is also the possibility there are other arrests or criminal actions against him in other locations.
I suggest you read the whole article…
It’s quite a doozy… Mikel Knight does not look like anybody you’d ever want to support as an artist.
And frankly, I have no idea how anybody could morally justify purchasing a Mikel Knight album when there’s so many great and honest music artists scraping by on some paypal donations and a bit of hope…
I mean really, why buy anything from Mikel Knight when you could easily find 50 new musicians on SoundCloud that you like just as much (if not more).
Maybe hit that ‘donate’ button while you’re there too…
Update (9/08/2016) – Mikel Knight Crews in Maine
It seems Mikel Knight’s street teams are currently doing their rounds in Maine! If you live in Maine it seems your local police department has already heard of Mikel Knight… so no worries (kind of embarrassing to have multiple police departments warning their residents about you don’t you think?).
Police in Oakland, Maine have sent out a warning about Mikel Knight and his road crew. Mikel is an urban-country music artist who is from Texas but now lives in Nashville.
Questions have been asked about what is really behind Mikel Knight and his street teams. There are arrest records in just about every state they visit for various charges including assault, trespassing, and threatening.
If you can’t see the image it says:
Oakland Police Department
Multiple police departments throughout Northern New England have been issuing warnings about the Mikel Knights crew selling CDs in parking lots and allegedly using aggressive and confrontational tactics in order to boost sales. We have not had a report in Oakland, however these vans have allegedly been seen in Fairfield. A simple google search shows a history of complaints nationwide. No one can force you to buy a CD in a parking lot. If you have an issue with any solicitor please call the local police and inform them so we can follow up. – Sgt Frost
So there’s that…
If anybody out there has a Mikel Knight story to share or has heard some local news, please go ahead and share it in the comments section below.