Added NYPD Commissioner Kelly, "Whereas some of the other violence was sort of attendant to the business itself, now I think they're trying to exploit it and make money off of it."
But C-Murder says if he projected a more benign image his career would be over. "I wouldn't sell a record because my fans would know that's not me," he said. "They don't expect me to just sit in that booth and write about stuff that the news or the media want to hear about."
Record executive Dash adds there is a double standard between predominantly black and predominantly white music. "I remember Woodstock Part II was a mess," Dash said, referring to the 1999 rock 'n' roll concert festival that exploded in a mass of riots and rapes. But, Dash said, "nothing more about it than that" transpired. "There wasn't any new laws, there wasn't any investigations. It just was."
Dash insists that Sigel's time in prison is being used to show the consequences of his criminal acts. While Sigel is in prison, Dash is supervising his clothing line, "State Property" -- named after clothing given to prisoners.
Sharpton says what media giants are doing to market hip-hop is causing nothing short of a crisis. A few weeks ago, he met with three commissioners at the Federal Communications Commission and urged them to join his campaign.
"This is the same FCC that affected a national election around the exposure of Janet Jackson's breast, that may have offended some Americans, but didn't hurt anybody," Sharpton said. "But [with] actual bloodshed there's been no response." Broadcasting experts caution that Sharpton's proposal raises all sorts of First Amendment issues.
Finally, as a sign of just how heated matters can proceed in the high-stakes world of hip-hop riches and reputations, Williams reports that after her initial interview by ABC News, she received a rather ominous phone call "from an acquaintance at a record label who, after finding out I participated in this piece here, suggested that I not continue because it would not be good for my physical well-being."
Talesha Reynolds, Courtney King and Henry Navas contributed to this report.