Derek “MixedByAli” Ali is a 27-year-old engineer for Top Dawg Entertainment. He’s worked with Kendrick Lamar on To Pimp a Butterfly—won a Grammy for that one—and DAMN. Now he’s up for two Grammys in 2018, including Album of the Year for producing DAMN. and Record of the Year for producing “HUMBLE.” He is what we might call a “fire” producer, and his material/clients are worth as much.
According to a report published in The Daily Breeze, Hawthorne police (in southwest L.A. County) have found a hard drive belonging to Ali that they claim contains $1 million worth of original music. The theft occurred on Dec. 7, and the device has just now been recovered, with a thief in custody. Presumably, the thief was breaking into vehicles and stealing whatever he could find—and had no idea what musical potential he’d stolen.
It’s unclear whether the hard drive contains works by Lamar or other artists. As Noisey points out, we know there were enough songs on it to put the tag of $1 million on the collection, but we don’t know how the police quantified the material. We can at least speculate that a songster as prolific as Kendrick and a producer as dedicated as Ali have compiled a few dozen songs together.
Though Ali was “very, very happy” about the returned hard drive, another encrypted copy remains at large. Fortunately, it’s of no use to whoever got their hands on it.