If you’re interested in the life and work of Raymond Martinez — aka Ready, the man who pulled a Mac-10 on cops in Times Square last week and was shot dead — you can go to Melodream Entertainment or SARFM tonight from 6 to 9, one of his colleagues tells us, and hear his music and the other side of his story.
Melodream Entertainment’s CEO Michael Walker says he recorded Martinez on and off at the Melodream studios over the past four or five years. He never gave him a contract, Walker says, because “honestly, he never asked us.” He says Martinez told him he’d turned down other offers because “he wanted to handle it himself,” though Walker doesn’t remember what labels Martinez said he’d been dealing with.
But Walker says he is clear that the CDs Martinez was moving when he was shot were of his own music — not generic ones used for scamming, as has been suggested in the press.
“He had the hustler mentality,” says Walker, “but never wanted to sell drugs, or any of that, so he sold his own music, I have mix tape after mix tape of his,” some of which Walker will play on tonight’s show. “He was aspiring and he did it independently. So when you see those pictures of him with Al Sharpton, Russell Simmons, it’s because they respected him for what he was doing.”
Walker says Martinez was “trying to build a record label,” that he and his crew went out every day to move product “like it was a job” and the “other individuals” who were scamming tourists “were not part of his group, and were not doing what he was doing.”
“The only thing I fault him for,” says Walker, “is not getting a license or Tax ID or whatever was needed. And definitely carrying a weapon of that magnitude wasn’t the best thing for him to be doing.”
He suggests that Martinez had his reasons of carrying. “I talked to him almost every week about these things that were happening, economically, person to person,” says Walker. Martinez had some bad experiences with cops. “He explained several thing that had happened,” says Walker, “where he saw pedestrians being pushed off of bikes and being messed with for no reason and ticketed. And he himself [getting ticketed], for selling his own music… He was not a thug, but a frustrated person. It doesn’t excuse his actions, but it started a long time ago.”
You can see videos of Martinez’s work at his MySpace page, along with him winning a quiz-off with Kanye West (and receiving a gift certificate from Foot Locker), and hear more at Melodream this evening.