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A corner of the DMV’s hip-hop scene got the prime-time treatment on MTV’s show Catfish Wednesday night. Er, kind of. Kidd Cole, a self-proclaimed hip-hop artist who’s better known around town for being, well, a con man, was the main subject of this week’s show, which typically helps track down people who are duping fake love interests through online dating.
This episode, however, focused on the shady business tactics of Kidd Cole, who does apparently live in the D.C. area. He claims to be a music producer under Kanye West‘s G.O.O.D. imprint (the label doesn’t know who he is). Kidd Cole enlists the help of a Philadelphia woman he met on Twitter, who had wanted to break into the music industry, to book security and limos for “press events.” But when it came to pay the bills, Kidd Cole disappeared and the woman was left with the mess. The show works with the woman to track him down. The MTV investigators discovered during the show that the music Kidd Cole claimed he produced on his SoundCloud page was actually just ripped from other artists. He also had an MTV artist page set up, but anyone, according to Catfish, can create these pages.
As Catfish quickly discovers, this wasn’t Kidd Cole’s first scam. There’s even a Facebook page, “KIDD COLE AKA KING COLE SCAM ARTIST,” warning people in the DMV of his conning ways. The page has 1,845 likes.
One of Kid Cole’s more prominent targets: Virginia Commonwealth University. The Richmond Times-Dispatch reported this month that Kidd Cole—-real name Jerez Coleman, 19—-was charged with scamming the university by tricking it into thinking that he was arranging a performance by rapper Big Sean. The Richmond Circuit Court Judge ordered a mental health evaluation of Coleman to determine if he was sane at the time of the alleged crime.
When he’s approached in person on Catfish, he doesn’t admit to scamming anyone and says he wants to make a name for himself. He takes the hosts of the show to a recording studio to prove he actually makes music. But neither he nor his “audio engineer” know how to work the equipment. The “engineer” later admits that it isn’t actually his studio and Kidd Cole just asked him to pretend that this is.
Calls to a phone number connected with Kidd Cole online were not returned. But a Twitter account apparently belonging to him released a statement saying: “Nobody knows how over exaggerated that catfish was! I’m am very talented at making beats and I just want everyone to hear and see that I do produce music and I attend full sail university because I’m learning the fundamentals of audio engineering but that I will be officially silencing these rumors.”
On his Twitter page, Kidd Cole lists the email address of Mark Gillespie—-one of the founders for Three Six Zero Group, a management company that represents artists like in-demand producer Calvin Harris—-as his contact info. Gillespie didn’t immediately return an email asking if he represented Kidd Cole.
Washingtonians shared their own run-ins with Kidd Cole on Twitter after the episode aired:
Kidd cole hit every— Head Hippie (@VistoHLK) May 29, 2014
notable person in
the DMV lol I remember
this shxt last year #catfish
@CatfishMTV I'd like to tell my story with dealing with Kidd Cole. I was publicly humiliated in the face of DC nightlife, in 2013— T U R B U L E N C E (@WHOisFreeez) May 27, 2014
Anyone else come across this guy?
Screenshot via MTV