Dick Nixon

From Exordium Wiki
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Dick Nixon

Nixon in 1991
Background Information
Birth Name Richard Milhous Nixon
Born 9 January 1913

Yorba Linda, California, U.S.

Died 25 December 2006 (aged 93)

Nice, France

Occupation Attorney, FBI Operative, Record Producer, Music Executive
Genres Golden Age Hip Hop, West Coast Hip Hop, G-Funk
Years Active 1982-2004
Labels Uptown Records, Tricky Dick Records
Spouse Patricia Nixon (m. 1940–2002)
Issue Tricia Bush • Julie Eisenhower

Richard Milhous Nixon (9 January 1913 - 25 December 2006) was an American attorney, CIA operative, music producer, and record label executive. Nixon served as an Attorney for several years before joining the CIA as a middle ranking operative before taking retirement in 1979 after a botched raid on a high ranking Nicaraguan drug lord resulted in the deaths of three innocent children. However Nixon is best known for his involvement in hip-hop music as a record producer, manager, and eventual record label owner.

Born in relative poverty in Yorba Linda, California, not far from Los Angeles, Nixon excelled in his studies and attended Whittier University before graduating from Duke University School of Law. Nixon practiced commercial law for years before joining the United States Navy during World War II.

Following his resignation from the Navy, Nixon pursued a career in corporate law in the Los Angeles area, becoming one of the state’s foremost lawyers in subsequent years. He stood down as a lawyer in 1965 after he was approached and offered a job in the CIA. For the next 14 years, Nixon was put in charge of Latin American affairs, with him putting a major focus on drug enforcements. His frosty relationship with Richard M. Helms meant that he was often looked over for promotion. He was forced into retirement in 1979 after a botched raid on a high ranking Nicaraguan drug lord resulted in the deaths of three innocent children.

Nixon’s retirement coincided with the emergence of hip-hop music in New York, a city Nixon had significant ties to. By the early 1980s, Nixon had been working behind the scenes to finance emerging Hip-Hop artists. An accomplished amateur musician, Nixon began contributing production to releases he was involved in, initially as a “grudgingly tolerated dilettante” but by the late 80s as an increasingly respected producer in his own right. Nixon's trademark style emphasized live performance over sampling - many tracks he contributed production to include his own performances, particularly on piano.

In the late 1980s and early 1990s, Nixon played a key role in the development of West Coast hip hop. Despite his well-known association with New York-area artists, Nixon was very much a proud Los Angeleno; he eventually became affiliated with the LA-based Ruthless Records as a major financial backer and management figure. In light of his advanced age and genuine enthusiasm for their music, Nixon assumed a mentor-like role for many of the West Coast’s emerging artists.

Nixon is widely seen as having played a critical role in the mediation of tensions surrounding the infamous West Coast-East Coast feud of the mid-to-late 1990s; while publicly he was an advocate for West Coast rappers (his 1996 comment that the West Coast “…is the better of the two coasts. We don’t like the East Coast…” is frequently sampled to this day), he privately used his many New York ties to soothe tensions between the two scenes. Nixon is sometimes alleged to have been involved in the still-unexplained disappearance of Death Row Records founder Suge Knight around this time.

By the late 1990s, Nixon had largely retired from production; his frustrations with unstable record companies and various legal entanglements led him to form his own independent record label, Searchlight Sound, in 1998. Searchlight subsequently became a home to a variety of both East and West Coast artists, most notably several members of the Wu-Tang Clan. Nixon summed up his approach to running a label as follows: "People have got to know whether or not their manager is a crook. Well, I'm not a crook. [Searchlight artists] get everything they earn."

Nixon remained active as CEO of Searchlight until his death in 2005; leadership of the thriving label was subsequently assumed by his longtime protege Roger Stone. Nixon is a frequent reference point for generations of rappers, and his role in the genre’s history is widely praised, particularly in light of his ability to minimize violence between feuding cliques. As New York rapper and occasional Nixon collaborator the Notorious B.I.G. commented in 2005, “Only Nixon could go to New York.”