Furious 'Fans' Claim They Were Promised Cash To Attend Rapper's Shows

maleek

The popular Los Angeles music venue Catch One was scheduled to host a concert on Thursday night by an aspiring rapper named Dr. Maleek.

What club management didn’t know, until just days before the show, was that many of the people who would descend into its 350-capacity Underground space were promised hundreds of dollars to show up and “cheer, act crazy as fans and have a good time.”

But, like “fans” at Dr. Maleek shows in Oakland and New York City earlier this month, they would not see any money.

So, Catch One pulled the plug and offered refunds to ticket holders.

“We looked into this and found these allegations to be credible,” a rep said, via email on Wednesday. “We have canceled the show. Thanks for bringing it to our attention.”

According to an ad that appeared in the “Gigs” section of Craigslist in Los Angeles, “the deal is you will receive 250$. And for every friend you bring it’s an extra 150$ each. YOU will have to get the TICKETS up front (20$). BUT they are fully reimbursed and we will do a contract with you before the day you show up so it’s all clear.”

A Craigslist ad seeking "fans" for the L.A. show.

Similar recruitment ads appeared in the “Gigs” sections of Craigslist sites in Toronto, Seattle and Houston offering varying amount of money and promising surprise appearances by artists like Chris Brown, Tory Lanez and French Montana. (None of these artists were involved.)

Friday’s L.A. concert was to be the last on Dr. Maleek’s We Outside Tour, which originally had eight shows scheduled between Nov. 30 and Dec. 16 – including Vancouver on Dec. 4 and Toronto on Dec. 7.

The Vancouver venue pulled the plug in September, citing a lack of ticket sales. Shows in Toronto, Seattle and Houston were also scrapped.

In an Instagram post late Wednesday, Dr. Maleek made no mention that Catch One cancelled his show. “As most of you may probably have heard earlier, a couple members of the team tested positive for Covid-19. I myself then tested as a safety precaution and also tested positive … Doing what’s right, is much more important to me, then (sic) any money!”

He vowed to recover and be ready for “multiple tours we have lined up.”

The Instagram post was subsequently deleted.

A Dec. 16th Instagram post that Dr. Maleek later deleted.

Armonie Jay, who was scheduled to open Dr. Maleek’s show on Friday night, insisted she knew nothing about people being promised cash to act as fans. “My team and I are not aware of any allegations against Dr. Maleek as this is my first time working with him,” she said. “I do not speak directly to Dr. Maleek but I am hoping the allegations against him get resolved because that’s very unfortunate.”

FEELING BURNED

“Diane” (not her real name) said she was contacted by a man using the name “Baka” who offered her cash to attend Dr. Maleek’s show at The New Parish in Oakland on Dec. 2 and pretend to be a fan.

“I was told I would be not just reimbursed for the tickets the next day but I would receive $300 for attending plus $200 for each person I got to come,” Diane told iHeartRadio.ca, via email. “I did the math and it seemed like a pretty sweet gig for me.”

She said her concerns that it was a scam were mitigated by the fact that she was told to purchase the tickets from the venue. “The worst that could happen was that I’d lose the $40 I spent,” said Diane.

When she hesitated signing the contract Diane said “Baka” became “aggressive” and “unprofessional.” She eventually signed.

At the concert, Diane claimed, every person she spoke to “was under the impression they were going to be paid” to cheer on Dr. Maleek and be photographed and video recorded. “Footage from this event would appear that this artist was very popular, when in actuality most of the fans in attendance seemed to barely know his work,” she said.

Diane remained optimistic and figured if 200 “fans” each received around $500, the total spent would not be unreasonable as far as marketing budgets go.

The following day, she messaged “Baka” asking when to expect her payment. He replied that he was in a hospital emergency room after being in an auto accident. Days later, with still no payment, Diane accused “Baka” of scamming her and blocked his number.

"Ima make it to the top, whether you like me or not... #BrickCity in full action I promise you that....." - Malik Gabertai (Dr. Maleek) in a May 7, 2013 Facebook post.

Also at the Dr. Maleek show in Oakland was “Katie” (not her real name), who responded to a Craiglist ad in late August. There were red flags – notably that “Sam” refused to provide her with a copy of the contract right away.

“We can’t do that just cuz I’m doing it all at one time once show sells out sorry,” he texted her, according to a screen shot of a conversation supplied to iHeartRadio.ca. “I can’t send one out and not the rest before u step foot at show you’ll have it.”

Katie said it seemed possible that people were going to be paid to act as "fans" at Dr. Maleek's show because most of the rapper's social media followers and the gushing comments on his YouTube videos appeared to have been purchased. So, she put her suspicions aside, believing “that an artist looking to generate hype for himself would surely not risk his reputation in the age of screenshots and viral social media.”

On Oct. 25, “Sam” contacted her via text claiming the Oakland show “is nearly sold out” and promising “we have confirmed some big special guests.” (There were none.) It was a little more than a month later that Katie received a copy of the contract.

“Sam” texted Katie on the day of the show to confirm she would be there. “Lots of energy screaming ! Lots of fun. Be in touch in am. When main artist come out go crazy!”

Katie attended the show with a friend. “It was terrible,” she said. Even with so many people believing they would be paid for being there, “the crowd thinned out.”

Five days after the concert, Katie had not received the money she was promised.

“Soon sorry,” read a reply from “Sam,” who claimed he “just checked out er.”

“Sam” proceeded to vent about other disgruntled “fans” who contacted local media outlets with their concerns. “Some people breached contract,” he told Katie, later promising: “You will get paid.”

When Katie asked “Sam” if he understood why she was suspicious that she’d been scammed, he replied: “Not really. A girl named [redacted] is actually f**king up the whole payment for everyone. So if you want a blame it’s her. Because instead of checking out and paying everyone I’m being told to deal with her.”

He claimed “it’s going to get lawyered up soon.”

The person “Sam” was blaming is a journalist in Oakland who launched an investigation into the fake fan scam. He accused her of “going around Making lies up Which I have to deal with.”

“Sam” stopped communicating with Katie.

“Lisa” (not her real name) was contacted by “Sam Malarsky” about acting as a fan at the Oakland show. She bought tickets for herself and five friends on Oct. 31 and was promised $1,800.

The day after the show, Lisa contacted “Sam” wondering when she was going to see her money transfer.

“Got in car accident hold on I’m checking out er soon,” he replied, according to a screenshot of their conversation provided to iHeartRadio.ca. (“Sam” must have been in the same car accident as “Baka,” who gave Diane the same reason for not issuing payment.)

Lisa was sympathetic and checked in on “Sam" two days later. After repeated messages asking about her money, he replied: “Tomorrow another rep will take over and contact.”

No one else contacted her and when she continued to inquire with “Sam,” he promised she would be paid on Dec. 17. Then he blocked her number.

Lisa DM’ed Dr. Maleek on Instagram asking how to get in touch with “Sam.”

“Don’t know who that is,” he replied, adding that he had “no clue” who was promoting his tour. “I’ve heard this story, been investigating fired everyone from this tour.”

“You should contact who you spoke too (sic). We do not pay people to come to our shows. Sorry luv.”

The car accident “Sam” and “Baka” claim to have been in was brought up again with “Mark” (not his real name), who bought three tickets to the Oakland concert and was promised $700.

He was contacted directly by “Baka,” who claimed to “work on behalf of a record label touring department for OVO.” He warned Mark: “No mentioning of any of this.” (OVO Sound is a label founded by Canada's Drake, Noah Shebib and Oliver El-Khatib.)

Mark described Dr. Maleek’s show as “completely underwhelming” and said many in the audience were bored.

When Mark messaged “Baka” about compensation, he replied: “Got in car accident hold on I’m checking out er soon.”

Mark asked about his money again on Dec. 7 and “Baka” responded: “Hey man will Handle been a Lot of fishy stuff and breaches going on.” That was his final message.

In a text message, "Baka" claims to be connected to OVO.

More than 4,600 kilometres away, "April" (not her real name) tells a nearly identical story. She said she was recruited by “Sam Malarsky” to attend Dr. Maleek’s show at SOBs in New York City on Dec. 9.

The following day, she texted “Sam” asking about payment. “Sorry on phone with Zelle and Venmo,” he replied, according to a screenshot of the conversation furnished to iHeartRadio.ca. “After 20 people it froze.”

On Dec. 11, April asked again and “Sam” responded “Weekend.” On Dec. 13, she tried again. “Yeah Venmo and Zelle been freezing up,” he replied.

April said “Sam” has since stopped responding to her messages.

No one at SOBs responded to a Dec. 8th email asking if the venue was aware “fans” were promised cash to buy tickets. The day after Dr. Maleek’s show, the venue posted photos on social media and boasted about the “SOLD OUT show.”

“YOU WILL NOT LUNGE”

The contract received by “fans” and obtained by iHeartRadio.ca is a poorly-written and legally unenforceable four-page document. It shows no company name or address and purports to be from a “Sam Malarsky (Employee ID: 2365383).”

It reads, in part: “The fan is responsible for attending and rendering services at this event. This shall include making sure to show up on time … staying the full duration of the time, making appropriate efforts to learn artists (sic) music, creating an energetic, positive experience at the concert, learning lyrics to sing along with, having a good time, and making sure logistically you are VACCINATED and can present appropriate proof at the door.

“Additionally waiting in line for entrance, being in large groups and acting accordingly, positive vibes and a knowing of what is going on.”

The contract promises to pay hundreds of dollars "to the ‘fans’ attending via cash app, Zelle, or Vemmo (sic)” as well as reimbursement for tickets to the show and $10 for parking. “Drinks and food will not be credited for, but will be taken into account, with any additional bonuses paid, based on observed exceptional ‘fan’ behaviour at the show.”

The first page of the contract "fans" were asked to sign.

According to the contract, “fans” are not allowed, for 30 days, to “discuss, evaluate, write comments, about the show, in the manner which it was presented, and your contract will be assigned unique code in case of leakage to determine.” It warns of “full legal action in accordance with the state of California” for violations of the non-disclosure clause.

“Fans” are asked to “make a concerted effort” to learn nine Dr. Maleek tracks prior to the show so he can “feel the full experience from everyone in attendance, this includes but not limited to, phones being up, lights out, hands up, etc.”

The agreement also stipulates that if any “A+ celebrities come out on stage you will not lunge or do anything crazy for the safety of artists, beyond reasonable concert behavior.”

WARNING SIGNS

The opportunity to get paid to pretend to be a Dr. Maleek fan was flagged online as early as July 2021.

On Reddit, a text message from the number “Sam” and “Baka” used to contact prospective “fans" was shared in a Reddit thread as a "Perfect Scam Example." According to the text, those considering the offer were told they had to sign a non-disclosure agreement “basically agreeing to not disclose any info about the event, especially because of the caliber of names attending.”

They also had to know “who the main artist is .. His name is dr maleek (@drmaleek)” and get familiar with his music before the show "to engage as a real fan.” The message added: “You would be required to buy the ticket for the show like a real fan off the website.”

More red flags were raised back in September on an online forum where “Sam” and the phone number he uses were subjects of discussion.

“Gale” wrote on Sept. 21: “I was contacted twice by this number through texts. One was Baka and the other was Sam … Baka said he was from OVO Sound Records and Sam just said a recording label.”

A post dated Oct. 30 from “Rae” reads: “When I delayed a few hours buying the ticket because something felt off to me, [Sam] started being wildly rude and unprofessional. When I expressed that I was just worried this was a scam because he couldn’t even tell me what company he worked for, he really unhinged calling me a ‘lying a$$ trick.’”

iHeartRadio.ca first reported on the Craigslist ads on Sept. 20.

THE PLAYERS

Sam Majorky, Sam Malarsky, Sammi Soave, Sammi London, Baka, Mo Alzar, Ian Michael and Broyden Isiah are just some of the names that show up in communications about Dr. Maleek. All use Gmail accounts and none appear to have a significant, or any, online presence. Their messages typically have the same bad grammar, incorrect legal terms, and words and phrases like "deformation," "attention seeker," "vendetta" and "affiliates."

Text messages from "Sam" and "Baka" appear to come from the same number.

Dr. Maleek shows up on various platforms as Malik Gabertai and, according to public records, both he and Mohamed Sammi Gabertai filed in 2016 in Riverside, California to change their surname to Hamza (as did Layla Gabertai).

In an email from Dr. Maleek's "management" to an Oakland journalist, the individual identifies himself as Broyden Isiah – a name perhaps inspired by Brandon Isaiah Poche, who Malik Gabertai took to small claims in 2019, according to public records. (According to public records, Malik Gabertai was sued in 2018 by Midland Funding LLC and in 2020 and 2021 by Cavalry SPV I, LLC. Both are debt collection companies.)

Most of the messages from the email address for Dr. Maleek's "management" (a Gmail address he displays on his Twitter profile) have, oddly, been anonymous.

In email conversations in September and again this week, an individual claiming to be Dr. Maleek’s “management” refused to identify himself. On several occasions, "management" has declined to answer questions.

Using an email with the name “Ian Michael,” someone wrote on Sept. 21: “When writing journalism the burden of proof is not on me to prove it’s real but on you to prove it’s fake. We don’t have to answer you.”

Following publication of an article about the ticket scam – which made no mention of Dr. Maleek – an individual who identified himself as “Sam Majorky” – not the aforementioned “Malarsky” – made contact.

“Would love to know where you got the info from its (sic) a scam,” he wrote. “Letting our legal team know about this … We have not scammed anyone nor intend to. And this is deformation as a journalist no information was put into this. And we want it removed.”

“Deformation” is not a legal term (he likely meant defamation) but it comes up frequently in communications regarding Dr. Maleek.

“We are notifying you of the deformation caused in the article to our artist and it’s (sic) affiliate brands and are requesting the article to be taken down within the next 24 hours,” read an unsigned email from the rapper’s “management.”

On Dec. 14, Dr. Maleek’s “management,” in another unsigned message, warned: “This is our final notice of deformation … This is the final notice before we will serve papers to iheartmedia.ca and all other affiliated entities for deformation and loss of wages.”

(There is no iheartmedia.ca.)

Of course, basic journalistic standards prevent an article from being removed simply because someone does not like it, and a claim of defamation relies on something being untrue.

So, who is behind the scheme?

The unnamed “we” in the contract is, according to the document, “in no regards affiliated with the venue, Artist directly, or any affiliate acts.” The only name on the agreement is “Sam Malarsky” – not the “Sam Majorky” who claimed via email to represent Dr. Maleek and denied any knowledge of a promise to pay “fans” to show up.

Promotional materials for Dr. Maleek’s tour display a logo for Dr Mobb Productions, which according to the California Secretary of State is not a registered company. It also has no online presence except for a LinkedIn page for a “Sammi Soave,” who identifies as CEO.

On Dec. 15, someone using the name "Marlon prescott" and claiming to be "a consultant for record company" on the cusp of signing Dr. Maleek, made contact. "I do admit that he can get a bit rough around the edges and really don't know how to deal with people," he wrote. "I just spoke to Dr Malik and he sounded very vague about this I'm not sure what's going on."

Notably, "Marlon prescott" referred to "Dr. Malik" instead of Dr. Maleek.

iHeartRadio.ca was unable to verify the authenticity of the email from "Marlon prescott." The photo appearing on the Gmail account matches one used by a Marlon Prescott on a Soundcloud account (inactive since 2014), a Facebook page (dormant since 2015) and an Instagram account (inactive since 2016).

BAD RAP

While getting answers about Dr. Maleek is challenging, threats and personal attacks seem to come easy.

In a message wherein the unnamed “management” insisted “in no way is dr maleek or any affiliates involved with any ‘scam’ towards any concerts/shows of his,” he added: “You for sure got to be dealt with.”

“Sam” or “Ian” has also written: “You for sure off your rocker man, looking for attention.”

An email dated Sept. 28 from “Chris Monsanto” (with an address that misspelled the surname) read: “It looks like you have a personal vendetta against it I would say bad journalism on your part.”

A Chris Monsanto who was hired to edit several music videos for Dr. Maleek was surprised to learn his name was used. “That is definitely a fraudulent email address and that message was NOT sent by me,” he told iHeartRadio.ca this week. “Thanks for making me aware of this.”

At least one personal attack was publicly credited to Dr. Maleek. In a Sept. 29th Instagram Story on his account, a message read: “@JRK_MEDIA THIS GOOFY CORNBALL MAKING UP FAKE STORIES USING MY NAME FOR CLICKBAIT. ANYTHING FOR THE VIEWS THESE DAYS SMH. SPAM HIS COMMENTS WITH [middle finger emojis].”

(It was a surprising attack given that Dr. Maleek’s name was not mentioned anywhere in the original article and appears only once near the end of a follow-up article.)

The “cornball” reference was revisited this month in a social media attack on Brooklyn rapper Bryce Quartz, who attended Dr. Maleek’s show at SOBs in New York City with the promise that he would be paid.

When he later alleged that he was scammed, Quartz received DMs from “Mo Alzar,” who wrote: “Corny white boy. You look so corny making lies.” Later, “Mo” wrote “You looking corny” and called Quartz an “attention seeker" and "queer."

Oddly, bizarre legal threats from Dr. Maleek's "management" have reportedly been sent to iHeartRadio U.S., which has not published any article about Dr. Maleek or the "fan" scam and is not responsible for articles published on iHeartRadio.ca.

Other legal threats have been sent to outlets before anything was published.

Following Dr. Maleek’s concert in Oakland on Dec. 2, “fans” alleging they were scammed began reaching out to local news outlets. On Dec. 7, one reporter who started investigating the claims received an email from the aforementioned “Broyden Isiah" from Dr. Maleek's "management."

Denying knowledge of the scam, he wrote “word has went around that potential news article would be released on this” and demanded contact info so “our lawyer can forward any pertinent information in regards to anything falsified or demeaning being released in our artist name.”

TRANSPARENCY

Even as shows on his We Outside Tour got cancelled as far back as three months ago, Dr. Maleek kept them listed on promotional materials. When his Vancouver show was scrapped by the venue in September, Dr. Maleek displayed the show as "SOLD OUT" in an Instagram Story.

And, soon after Catch One pulled the plug on his show, Dr. Maleek jumped on Instagram to blame a positive COVID-19 test. He later deleted the post.

In a message to "April" on Wednesday, Dr. Maleek claimed he “may be the victim of a smear campaign because I have no idea where this is coming from … I have nothing to do with scamming.”

He did not explain how a third party would stand to benefit from packing his concerts with "fans."

 

Where indicated, names have been changed upon request. This article has been updated since it was first published.