A hard drive belonging to TDE sound engineer Derek Ali was taken from his car earlier this month.
Two hard drives belonging to Top Dawg Entertainment engineer Derek Ali’s were taken from his BMW earlier this month. The car had reportedly been broken into outside of an Equinox gym in Hawthorne, California.
The suspects were two men who police linked to a number of other burglaries in the area. “Basically these guys are serial car burglars,” Hawthorne police Lt. James Royer told the Los Angeles Daily News. “They prey upon victims who leave items viewable from the outside.”
Police recovered a hard drive on December 8, arresting 23-year-old L.A.-resident Jonjairo Espinoza. Detectives uncovered Espinoza’s fingerprint from Ali’s car door. Hawthorne police say Ali was “very, very happy” to have his belongings returned to him.
It is unknown whether the hard drives contained music by Kendrick Lamar on them. Though one copy remains at large, both hard drives were encrypted, ultimately rendering them useless to the thief.
The Grammy-nominated producer and sound engineer, better known as MixedbyAli worked with Lamar on his albums DAMN and To Pimp A Butterfly.
As an in-house sound engineer for TDE, the hard drives may have contained work from a number of artists on the roster— this includes SZA, ScHoolboy Q, and Isaiah Rashad. The unreleased music was reportedly valued at around $1 million.