Interview by: Aimstar

THE SOURCE: We only have 30 minutes right?

Big Meech: Yeah, or as many times I call you back in fifteen minute intervals (laughs).

THE SOURCE: (laughs) Okay. Describe BMF. Who is the Black Mafia Family?

Big Meech: It’s an entertainment company (laughs).

THE SOURCE: Can you expand on that?

Big Meech: The music and the [Juice] magazine. That’s what I was trying to do before they brought all this other stuff in here from my brother and them.

THE SOURCE: So why do you think you are where you are now?

BIG MEECH: (laughing) Why do I think I’m in jail? Why am I here?

THE SOURCE: Yeah, why do you think that?

BIG MEECH: To be honest, because evidently they didn’t like what I was doing, or what they thought I was doing. That’s how I look at it. Anytime you’re Black and you got a little power, and you’re trying to be successful and you’ve got money, just for some reason then here they come. Like, five days after Jeezy went platinum [for Let’s Get It: Thug Motivation 101], they locked my ass up. (laughs)

THE SOURCE: So you feel like it was a deliberate attack against you?

BIG MEECH: Yeah, of course. It didn’t just happen overnight. They had been trying their hardest to mix me up with drugs and they never could do it. And then all of a sudden, they got my brother on wire-tapped conversations — him and his right-hand man — and they and put me in it. Like, birds of a feather flock together.

THE SOURCE: And you guys weren’t even living in the same state…

BIG MEECH: Not only were we not living in the same state, we hadn’t even been communicating for the past three years prior to them picking me up.

THE SOURCE: Was there any particular reason?

BIG MEECH: I mean we both had our reasons for why we weren’t really communicating. But that was just family stuff.

THE SOURCE: So to play devil’s advocate, with you saying that BMF was/is an entertainment company and some close to you say a marketing firm, so then why would you label yourself the Black Mafia Family?

BIG MEECH: Because I got guys from all different cities and states together, that was just one way of looking at it. Everybody using — like, you got Irv Gotti, using Gotti’s name and you’ve got Murder Inc. So I felt like, with us being from different states, to show us being all grouped up, we became the Black Mafia Family and there have been no problems. And it had my initials. (laughs)

But we’ve been called all kinds of things that just happened to be the one, from Big Meech Family to Big Meech Flenory. Some white folks see it and think it stands for Black Mutherfuckers, all kind of shit, but Black Mafia Family just kind of stuck. And we’re living in a day in time where mystique sells. Just to be mysterious, that was our pitch. You got Cash Money, they were like the Cash Money Brothers. Like I said, you got Murder Inc, you got 50 Cent, shit BMF.

THE SOURCE: Like you said, there are these crews of families — you have Murder Inc, Badboy, DeathRow, but you had tons of people flocking to you. How were you able to get so many people amassed to follow you? What was the mission?

BIG MEECH: It’s real. Everybody wants to be a part of something that’s real. And a person like me, I’m down to Earth. I’m from the hood to Hollywood. I mess with people from all walks of life. I reach out and touch some people in the best way that I can. And I guess I’m kind of a likeable guy. Even with having so many friends from different many states, I always went to those states and lived there and ended up finding a friend or two that I liked and I wanted to see them do good too. So that was my mission, to really just try to help as many people as I can to do good. It didn’t make no different of color; if you was Black, white, Chinese, Hispanic — I messed with all kinds of people. And that was my mission to bring something real to the industry where I felt there was a lot of fake-ism.

I was around a lot of guys that could have helped me, that didn’t help me, but I didn’t ask for their help also. And I’m talking about when I was hanging around Badboy, and I ain’t gonna say Murder Inc because Irv Gotti was going through their own problems and they still tried to help me. But a lot of guys like, being from the South, I’m right there in Atlanta where So So Def is, I didn’t go to them to ask for help, but I ain’t get no help from them. So I had to do everything on my own.

It was kind of hard for me to believe that someone could come from the streets like myself and make it successfully anyway, without getting locked up.

And you know, I guess I proved myself right by getting locked up before I could really make anything happen like I wanted to. And that was the thing because you read so much about how such and such sold crack, or they sold a lil’ heroin or they sold weed and they became a successful artist. Well, it just didn’t work out that way for me.

I had a hard time believing that a lot of these guys really did much of what they said they did because it was so hard for me. The feds, everywhere I look they was sending memos to radio stations, telling them not to play my stuff, our music, telling them that we drug-dealing murderers. From the radio stations to the clubs, from Atlanta to Miami, it was ridiculous. I didn’t believe it until one particular radio station in Atlanta had let it be known that this had happened, they had got a memo. And actually it was the program director over at one of the radio stations. And that’s when I said, “Man, this shit is serious.” They was really trying they’re best to block whatever it is we trying to do. Which all we been trying to do is be successful from the time that they tried to say that I did the double homicide in Buckhead. I put the billboards up because these people had put my face in the paper as being a murderer, when I’m trying to run this company. Look, I didn’t put a billboard up like call 1-800-Cocaine, or 1-800-we-kill. Their was a 1-800 number for BMF Entertainment and Juice Magazine. I’m trying to promote this label and this magazine and take it as far as I can, to sights unseen. I thought I could do it. But with these people, everything I did they tried to make a mockery. Like, ‘Oh, he boasting,’ and that ‘He’s a kingpin.’ Naw, it aint nothing on that billboard that said 1-800-buy-drugs. It said BMF The World is Ours, a slogan. You know what I’m saying, I got the, “You can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em program.” That’s what I was trying to put together. Then these people just tried to make everybody scared to do business with us, or play our records or even buy the magazine. So it’s just ridiculous what they did to me.

THE SOURCE: So let’s try to go back to the beginning then. How did you get involved in the music business?

BIG MEECH: I had been trying to do something with music for all of my life. I’ve always been a fan of music; I always loved music from the early ’80s. I used to break-dance, DJ, all of that. So I always loved music. It’s just that once I got myself established, you know, I started out in the streets doing the wrong thing first. But once I got my money together and myself established, instead of somebody that’s trying to rap, like Bleu and them, getting out there trying to sell drugs or anything to make their careers flourish, I [thought I] could help them with what I have. And that’s basically what it was between Bleu, Jeezy and everybody. I was trying to help them out. Jeezy was even rapping before he met me. But nobody was listening to the shit until he was around me, until we was listening to it and I’m making/paying the djs play it. That’s basically how it is. I always wanted to be in the music business. A lot of my friends [have] always been in entertainment. If you hang out in Atlanta, everybody that I hung out with in the clubs in Atlanta is now stars…all of them. (laughs)

THE SOURCE: So would you say that you’re responsible for where Jeezy is now? Because I know there has been a lot of talk about your relationship to him, in the past versus what is it now. Can you describe that a little bit?

BIG MEECH: Our relationship is fine. It’s all it can be from a jail cell, you know what I’m saying. And of course I helped his career, they wouldn’t be listening to it if it wasn’t for me. Yeah, I helped it, a lot. …He done came to visit me a few times. I still haven’t gotten to a prison yet [though]. In here it’s only 30 minutes to a window, for the past three years, cause that’s where I’ve been… in this county jail. Now, I’m waiting to ride off to a prison in the South somewhere, soon hopefully. I can’t wait. I’m just ready to get out of here; I’m just tired of the 30-minute visits to a glass. He came twice to see me. Akon came a couple of times to see me. Suge came a couple of times to see me. Keenan that played Fat Albert from the Keenan & Kel Show, he came to see me. It’s been cool, but I’m just ready to get to a prison and start my bid.

THE SOURCE: And you’re working on an appeal as well, right?

BIG MEECH: Yeah. Yes ma’am, I am.

THE SOURCE: How has that process been so far?

BIG MEECH: Well, the thing is I just got sentenced September 12th [2008] to 30 years. And what it is, is that I got up until a year to file the necessary paperwork and get back in court. I’m just trying to get a sentence reduction. I could end up taking my plea back and going to trial or if they came with a sentence reduction — if they talking 20 years and they don’t want to go trial — then I’ll take the 20. I’ll be fine with that, you know.

Operator: You have one minute left.

BIG MEECH: All I want is a sentence reduction. I’m not trying to go to trial unless I have to. Plus, it’s a way for me to get back in the courtroom without my brother because they wouldn’t grant me a severance. To go into the courtroom and go to trial with my brother, with all the evidence that they had against him would have made me look guilty.

THE SOURCE: The operator just told me that I have one minute left, fyi.

BIG MEECH: Yeah, if it hang up, I’ll just call you right back. (laughs)

THE SOURCE: Were you pressured to plead guilty to the charges, because I found that…

BIG MEECH: I mean, you know, it’s 30 to life. If you go to trial and you lose, it’s 30 to life. And they most likely gonna give you life for the amount of drugs and all the money they saying was made. My thing was—

Operator: Thank you for using Evercom. Goodbye.

Operator: You may start the conversation now.

BIG MEECH: Hello?

THE SOURCE: Yup.

BIG MEECH: Yeah, I’m back. (laughs)

THE SOURCE: (laughs) So you were saying it’s 30 to life and that’s when you got cut off.

BIG MEECH: What I’m saying is, the charges we’re facing was a minimum of 30 to life. I thought that I was signing a plea with a minimum of 20-30, but I didn’t. I actually signed a 30 to life plea, which the judge has the option to give me, or my brother 20 — if he wanted to — or somewhere in that range. But we actually signed a 30 to life plea, which is what makes me want to take my plea back. That’s where I’m at right now; that’s why I’m trying to get back into the courtroom because 30 is too much.

Actually, the statutory minimum on a CCE charge is 20 years, 20 to life is what you’re facing. And on the money laundering charge, it’s 0 to 20. And that’s what we plead out to, CCE, Continuous Criminal Enterprise, and money laundering. So one is a 0 to 20 and the other is a 20 to life. So really, our plea agreement should’ve been for 20 years, where they get this 30 I don’t know. They just enhanced us on the plea; they just gave us a 10 year enhance. The judge ended up convicting us of money laundering and CCE, but he gave us 240 months on the money laundering and 360 months on the CCE charge. And that ran up the term.

THE SOURCE: Wow, that’s crazy. Damn.

BIG MEECH: (laughs) Sounds like you’re madder than me.

THE SOURCE: Let’s say you can’t get this appeal and you have to do 30 years. You’ll come out when you’re in your 60s.

BIG MEECH: I’ll come out at 60. I got three years in. I got the drug program, which will take a year off plus six months [in a] halfway house, so that’s like 18 months total. So 30 years is like 25. I got three full years in plus the drug program will take off about five, so I will do about 20 [more]. That’s without the laws changing and not taking my plea back and I would just have to stick it out with this time.

THE SOURCE: Have you thought about what you would do once you get out? Has that even crossed your mind at all?

BIG MEECH: what I would do once I come out at 60? (laughs)

THE SOURCE: Yeah. What are your thoughts?

BIG MEECH: Whatever I plan on working on when I come out, I lan on working on while I’m in jail (laughs). I have a lot of options; I’ve got things to keep me busy with this movie stuff.

THE SOURCE: That’s what I was going to ask you about next.

BIG MEECH: I feel like that’s a blessing in disguise that will keep me busy while I’m locked up. I mean, I can’t benefit for a crime. So I’m not benefiting from it, but I am assisting in the project to make it as close to the truth as possible.

THE SOURCE: Is it your life story or is it a story about BMF overall?

BIG MEECH: Well, BMF is me. (laughs) So, I guess you can say it’s my life story. It’s me; I built it. I’m the owner; I’m the one who brought it to life. It’s me. And you’ll get the story from my point of view.

THE SOURCE: When is it slated for release?

BIG MEECH: A lot of the terms of the deal haven’t been disclosed yet, so I’m not really sure when it’s coming out. But I know I can help the writers with the story cause we can’t do it from here with this 30 minute business stuff.

THE SOURCE: I noticed on your myspace page that you wrote a note to everyone looking for Juicy girls. Is the magazine still out?

BIG MEECH: Actually, the magazine had come to a stand still. Cause all of the sudden, sometime after I got picked up, I tried a couple of times to get a bond and I said that I was part owner of the magazine, that’s when the feds started looking into the magazine. And really, Juice brought the idea to me and I said we’d help bring it to life. That’s what happened. It’s at a stand still right now for about a year and a half, but we’re thinking about putting it back together. She has been making the small version of Juicy magazine. Me and her just started communicating cause they had changed the phone system in here and we really had a hard time communicating. These people are crazy you know. This county jail stuff is designed to break you, but they can’t what they didn’t create.

THE SOURCE: What do you think will be different when you move to a state prison versus county?

BIG MEECH: I can’t listen to no music; I can’t watch any music channels. You can’t move around. You can only work out with whatever you can do with your own personal body, like push ups. They don’t have a pull up bar. When you in the county you don’t do nothing but eat, sleep and shit. That’s all you do and watch tv programs. They won’t let us listen to no music; we don’t have no headphones. We don’t have no touch visits. Nothing. It’s kind of inhumane, for real.

THE SOURCE: Do you think the federal government, to a certain extent, was just cracking down on Hip-Hop heads because you were a part of a long string of Hip-Hop heads going to jail.

BIG MEECH: Of course. It wasn’t a time that we went to New York and the Hip-Hop cops were not in cabs or something following us, or sitting outside our hotel rooms. At that particular time it was me, Jeezy, Bleu, Fabulous and all of us hanging and these people is behind us every step of the way like fans. We really couldn’t do nothing wrong if we wanted. What I used to tell them and we would all laugh about it is, if somebody shot at us or tried to kill us, they should catch it all on tape, they should be on the scene and be able to prevent it. We didn’t really need no bodyguards as much as the Hip-Hop police was around. So I feel that it was definitely charging Hip-Hop with the situation. They didn’t have me with no drugs. I’ve never been caught with any drugs, no large sums of money or nothing. I had a crack case in ‘88. You know I was 19 going on 20 years old and that was the only drug case I had. Other than that I haven’t been caught with any cocaine, large sums of money and here it is: these people following me around, pick me up in Dallas, Texas and bring me all the way back to Michigan for an indictment. Which I had no wire-taps. All they had was some witnesses against me that was going to get in court and lie, and say that I bought some drugs from them, or they seen me around or something. Other than that they really didn’t have no one that we know of, that could say that they seen me around any drugs for the past 10 years.

THE SOURCE: I read somewhere about Omari McKree being one of the first informants, mentioning your name. And how did that make you feel given the fact that you did have a relationship with him?

BIG MEECH: I did have a relationship with him, but they lied. He was never going to testify. They had him testify against Bill too, but he backed down. He did not testify. But I seen the write up in the Creative Loafing that they had about what he supposedly said, but these police, they play so many games. I can’t say that he didn’t say it, but I don’t believe that he was going come to be no witness against me. And I’ve talked to him.

THE SOURCE: You have?

BIG MEECH: Yes.

THE SOURCE: Since you’ve been locked up you’re saying?

BIG MEECH: Yes, I talked to him since that was in the paper.

THE SOURCE: There were about 16 people that were charged, but there were about 49 people that were indicted who were involved in the situation with the feds in general, that have been either questioned or brought forward. Out of those people, would you say that the majority of them were BMF?

BIG MEECH: Out of the 49 that were indicted, I would say that besides myself, it might have been three actual, real BMF members that be with me. The rest of the people be with my brother. I knew some of them — mostly all of them and some were from my neighborhood — but they ran with my brother and his crew. These people had it to where anyone with a BMF tattoo on them was BMF. And that’s not necessarily so. When you look at all of the DVDs and the magazine, you never seen my brother in the picture or nan DVDs with me, or the guys that be with him. So they couldn’t have been BMF and that’s what I was trying to get out. I am BMF. Everybody that hang with me is apart of BMF. My brother’s people, that’s his people. Some of them wanted to be or they felt like they could get a tattoo because that’s my brother. So you can call some of them wannabes but the majority of them were wannabes. Besides myself thee of the guys, like I said, out of that 49 was real BMF members like J-Bo, Do and Wayne. If I’m not mistaken, out of the first two indictments, I think those three.

Other than that, they just indicted everybody else in Atlanta, in California, all over the world. I ain’t never seen nothing like it like how do you just indict different people from all over the world. Like Michigan, I don’t even be up here doing anything. I didn’t have no house up here, no girlfriend up here. I just have my mother and my father, my two daughters, my sister and my nieces and nephews. But I don’t have a home up here.

Operator: You have one minute left.

Big Meech: I only came to visit this place two times in the past eight or nine years from right before the time they came to pick me up. They came to pick me up in October 20, 2005. I came up here like October 4th or 5th because the Juicy magazine had came out with Neyo on the cover and Jeezy on the other cover. I came and gave some away to the kids in my neighborhood that I had autographed. Other than that I haven’t been up here. I came up here one more time in 2004 before when my oldest daughter mother died. Other than that I haven’t been to Michigan since ‘96.

THE SOURCE: Have you spoken to your brother?

BIG MEECH: Briefly. The feds let us talk for about an hour down at the Federal building. Other than that they’ve been keeping us apart.

Operator: Thank you for using Evercom. Goodbye.

Operator: You may start the conversation now.

BIG MEECH: Hello?

THE SOURCE: Yup. (laughs)

BIG MEECH: Yeah. (laughs) This is longer than the visit we would have had through the window. (laughs)

THE SOURCE: (laughs)

BIG MEECH: We really talked for an hour, and that was trying to get him to take the plea because I felt that he was going to get life if he went to trial, if we went to trial. I would have went to trial if they gave me a severance without him, but they refused to give me a severance, which is a separate trial from. For us to go to trial together, my lawyers would have had to point the finger at him like, ‘He got caught with this,’ or ‘He was the one talking on the phone and he was saying…” And I really didn’t want to do nothing like that, that’s like dry snitching.

THE SOURCE: Does he feel responsible?

BIG MEECH: I don’t know he should because from my understanding they came to him in the beginning and told him that they would let everybody else go if he took 15 to 20 years. This is what I heard actually from his girlfriend. And she doing 58 months.

THE SOURCE: How is Juice doing?

BIG MEECH: She taking it hard cause it’s hard without me. It’s been kind of hard for her but she’s doing the best she can to stand on her own two feet. But its hard with her family being from New Orleans and dealing with Hurricane Katrina, and now they living in Gulfport, Mississippi right now. It’s been hard basically starting almost over. And you got to be careful because anything that was linked to me they was trying to forfeit.

THE SOURCE: A lot of people were saying the truth is, that its because you were being flashy that you brought that kind of attention to yourself with the Feds.

BIG MEECH: I was promoting my business, if you wanna call that being flamboyant. I am a flamboyant person, but I had nothing to hide. If I was 100% selling drugs, then you can say that I was doing it wrong but if I’m trying to promote an entertainment company and a magazine, then that’s your job to be flamboyant. Then that let everybody know that this is crew to be with, this is the family that you want to be with. This was real and that’s what I was trying to promote. I was flamboyant; I am guilty of that.

THE SOURCE: How would you describe your life before you got locked up?

BIG MEECH: (laughs) Beautiful. I didn’t have to want for nothing. You know, if I was a selfish person and if I was doing anything wrong, I had plenty to sit down with and just do me, build a family life, which is what I should’ve did. But it’s hard when I’ve been used to helping people all my life, I was trying to help everybody get something and not just help myself. I was rich enough to sit on down, but I wasn’t rich enough to sit down and take care of everybody else too. Maybe that was a problem but I can’t cry over spilled milk. It is what it is, I’m a man and I’m a take mine like a man. And I didn’t get life. If the worse comes to worst, I gotta knock out these 20 years, but I tried to help out everybody else. I could have easily got out of the Feds’ way and not put any billboards up, didn’t try nothing with a magazine or no entertainment company and just sit on down.

THE SOURCE: What would you say to other entertainers and moguls who are watching what has happened to you?

BIG MEECH: If you’re a mogul, then you already done made it. You just have to be careful. The things is with these Feds is they won’t let your past stay your past. Most of us done walked a crooked line to get where we at or to get where we’re headed to try to be successful. I guess when it came to me, they refused to let my dark stay in the dark. They had to bring it to light. I’m not saying that I never hustled, that would be a lie. Of course I did, I had no choice. When you grow up in a poor inner city like Detroit with nothing, that’s what you have to do. There was no way around it; I had to do it. I grew up poor with nothing, that what’s made me end up doing what I did. But I tried to change. I tried to make that change that so many so-called people made changes to try to be successful. I thought I could do it too. This just let me know that I couldn’t though, that they refused to let me do it. It’s kind of hard to say cause you got other music moguls or artists out there and they only doing a little something. They ain’t doing it as big as I was doing it or whatever the case may be, so they don’t have to worry about it like that. When it comes to the Feds, they think everybody is doing something wrong. If they can get enough evidence against you to indict you — you see how they did DJ Drama, hitting him with the RICO, which was ridiculous. I don’t even understand how you get RICO off of selling mix CDs? I don’t really understand that, but they came up with it. They did it. What’s going to happen we don’t know, but they did it. They did it to make him snitch because maybe he had some more information on people I don’t know, but that’s how these people work. They’ll bring trumped up charges against you to try to scare you. They feel like maybe if you’re facing life in prison that you’ll want to say something about somebody else that’s doing something. That’s just the type of game that these people play. So I can only tell any other independent company to be careful. And the ones that are already successful, they still need to watch they back because they just waiting on you to slip out. They coming at you at all angles like they did T.I. with his bodyguard. These people they don’t quit. They are determined to say that you did something wrong.

THE SOURCE: What do you think about the possibility of Obama being the first Black President? People are saying that if he wins, come January 20th, it means a whole new level for Black people. What are your thoughts?

BIG MEECH: I think he will make a change and I’m hoping that somewhere along the lines he will make a change with this prison system. I think that it’s actually a good time for a Black President but he’s going to be under a lot of scrutiny for it being a kind of like a Depression era. So he really is walking into someone else’s mess. As long as people can look at it like he does have a lot to clean up, and nothing is going to change overnight for any of us — for the economy or for the inmates — I think it’s a good idea for him to be President. I actually think he’s going to win probably by a landslide. At least he’s trying to make a change. Whoever we put in office right now it’s going to be hard on them cause everything is messed up from Wall Street to the street. So it’s really hard, but it’s a great time for him to be President and he might be able to feel the poor communities’ problems, being that he’s a Black man and he that he not just comes from that but that’s the direction he’s looking in. We’re looking at it from the same point of view. Not to call him a drug dealer or nothing like that, but he’s been a poor Black man so he knows the same struggles on the way up. So maybe with him being a Black President, he might try to help some of those struggles that other people would ignore.

THE SOURCE: You said that you hope he can change the prison systems, what kind of changes would you like to see?

BIG MEECH: For one, bring the 65% in, reinstate parole would be a good idea and then there’s mandatory minimum sentences; that’s the main three right there. The prisons is the third thing they spend the most on in the United States right now, but they just got a lot of non-violent offenders, people they label drug kingpins, or because their sentence has a mandatory minimum of 10 or 20 years, they have to do all this time, it’s ridiculous. And here a murder can get out of manslaughter in three or four years. And this guy never did nothing but sold some drugs.

THE SOURCE: I heard you were currently in the hole because of your commissary?

BIG MEECH: I get out Saturday. If you got too many towels, too many cookies, bread, too many oranges in your room, I guess they call it contraband. Cause everything you get you’re supposed to eat if ain’t your commissary. So I had about three or four oranges, some extra cookies, some extra bread to make some peanut butter and jelly, and tuna sandwiches, some extra towels. They were a bit lenient on me. They usually give a person about 20 days, but I hadn’t had no trouble the whole three years I been here, so they gave me five days DDU, which is Disciplinary Detention Unit.

THE SOURCE: So can you go outside?

BIG MEECH: I get an hour out; I’m locked down all day. I get an hour at 11pm, when everybody else is locked down. I can use the phone, take my shower or watch TV and then lock back down. And they take your mack at 6 in the morning and don’t give it back to you until 9 at night. (laughs)

THE SOURCE: How’s Bleu, have you spoken to him at all?

BIG MEECH: He’s alright. He’s fittin to get a meatball. He ain’t getting over ten years so he good.

THE SOURCE: Is his album still going to come out?

BIG MEECH: I’m not really sure where he is on the album, cause I really just — being into my case— I just kind of got away from what was going on with the music. And we really didn’t start talking until he got locked up, through that or through his manager. I talked to him on the phone a couple of times through three-way.

Operator: You have one minute left.

BIG MEECH: But other than that what he’s really doing with the album situation.

THE SOURCE: And I have to ask about Jakob the Jeweler.

BIG MEECH: He’s a real one, he didn’t snitch. (laughs)

THE SOURCE: (laughs) How did ya’ll meet?

BIG MEECH: I met him through a mutual friend just to buy some jewelry. I went to buy jewelry from him a couple of times. All the man did was sell us jewelry. We were starting an entertainment company. He didn’t like, he just sold some friends — entertainers — some jewelry. That’s it.

Operator: Thank you for using Evercom. Goodbye.

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