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Love For Da Hater

After a local hip-hip artist is carjacked, musicians band together to help.

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After falling victim to a carjacking in East Memphis a few weeks ago, Memphis hip-hop artist Jason "Da Hater" Harris has received nothing but love from his friends.

When Harris' friends in the local hip-hop community heard about the incident, they banded together to create a collaborative mixtape to help their friend buy another vehicle.

Harris pulled over to help a lady change a flat tire at an East Memphis BP gas station on January 29th. As he placed her spare tire on, he discovered it was also nearly flat.

The air tank at the BP station was empty, so the two drove to a nearby Shell station at Poplar and Kirby. As Harris pulled in, he saw a middle-aged white male sitting under the station's sign, but he said he didn't think anything unusual about it. After he finished pumping the spare tire, Harris looked up to see the man driving away in his white 1996 Dodge Intrepid.

Harris then pulled what he calls a "Mel Gibson Lethal Weapon move" on the car thief.

"I tried to run and jump through the window," said Harris, an assistant football coach and health teacher at Whitehaven High School. "Once I saw the car rolling down the street, I began reaching in my pockets to call the police and realized that my phone was in the car."

After the carjacking, Shalishah Franklin, communications manager at the Memphis Shelby Crime Commission and a friend of Harris, contacted 29 local musicians, requesting one track from each for a compilation album to help a "mysterious" friend.

"I did not tell them who it was at that time, and I did not tell Jason what we were doing because I wanted to make sure it would happen first," Franklin said. "On the strength of trust in me, the supportive nature of our creative community, and the will to do good, I received 18 tracks in two days."

Love 4 Da Hater, an 18-track collection of raw-but-soulful hip-hop, was created over a three-day period. The diverse catalog features music from "Da Hater" himself, as well as DJ Hush, Cities Aviv, Knowledge Nick, and many others.

The mixtape — actually a CD — is being sold at hip-hop venues and also is available as a MP3 download at loveforthehater.tumblr.com. Though the download is free, donations are encouraged.

Franklin hopes to raise at least $1,000. She said she's not worried about people downloading the album for free online because the artists will still receive exposure. "We are steadily raising money through the online Pay Pal opportunity as well as at various concerts," Franklin said. "That level of support in such a short period of time is what motivates us to continue to help Jason."

Franklin said Harris often used his vehicle to give student football players rides to and from games and practice. She's hoping donations and album sales will raise enough money to help Harris buy a new car. Harris' Intrepid was paid for, and he only had liability insurance.

Kevin Smith, also known as DJ Hush, produced several tracks on the mixtape. Smith said people shouldn't be fooled by Harris' "Da Hater" moniker: "That's his persona, but if you know anything about Jason, you know he's anything but that."

"I want nothing but love for 'Da Hater'," Smith said. "I hope he gets what he needs from the mixtape."

Since his vehicle was stolen, Harris said he's been catching rides from family members. He said he's thankful for his friends' efforts, but he's reluctant to accept the money they raise.

"I did have an unfortunate happening," Harris said, "but there's people out here that are worse off than I am."

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