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The lanky 20-something white kid crouches behind some shrubs outside an office building. He wears chest-length black dreads stuffed under a striped "Alcatraz" hat and appears to be playing soldier on a sunny January afternoon in downtown Fort Lauderdale. "This is how we do," whispers the rapper, who calls himself Lyrikill.com. "We stake it out, and then if you look right over these bushes, you can see they 'bout to go live... And when they go live, that's when we hop out these bushes."
He's speaking into a digital video camera held by a rotund fellow who goes by "Doughboy," Lyrikill.com's self-proclaimed "sound engineer and bodyguard." Lyrikill.com uses his cell phone to tweet his followers that they should turn on their TV sets. Then he springs into action.
On a nearby corner, WPLG (Channel 10) reporter Jen Herrera, an officious brunet, is on the 6 p.m. news. She's describing a Broward County Commission corruption scandal. About ten seconds into the live segment, the rapper scurries behind her and screams, "Power 96!" — the radio station running a video contest. He's also hoisting an upside-down sign and wearing a homemade T-shirt that both read "Lyrikill.com."
Herrera is flustered. Producers cut to a still shot of the commissioner in question, but the rapper's incessant shouts can be heard. The segment ends, and Herrera growls at the kid: "Seriously? What's that about?"
He sheepishly assures her: "It's nothing personal — I do this to everybody" and adds that she is "very beautiful."
"You know what?" she fumes. "It is personal, because this is my job, and this is my career. Get the hell out of here."
Then she adds, "You pop your head into everything."
Eventually, the rapper and a giggling Doughboy rumble away. They've been bum-rushing live newscasts for three years. So far, they've ruined the workdays of about two dozen members of the miked-lapel-and-perfect-hair set. Most of his victims are employed by WSVN (Channel 7).
Though he attempts to keep his true identity mysterious, the guy is not exactly Keyser Söze. State records reveal he is 26-year-old Jordan Michael Seitz, who lives in an apartment on NE 18th Avenue in Fort Lauderdale. He has registered Lyrikill.com as a domain name, created a matching logo, and incorporated his own record label, 95 4 Sho Ent, LLC.
Seitz's best-known song is "I Love My Hooptie," an ode to beat-up cars. But he's far more famous for his newscast raids than his music. A few of his greatest hits, which are mostly available on YouTube:
• In January 2008, WSVN's Rosh Lowe is in front of O.J. Simpson's Kendall home when Seitz, talking on his cell phone, sidles up close enough to breathe on the reporter's neck. Then the rapper unfolds a sign from his back pocket and is chased by a burly crew member.
• In August 2009, Seitz joins a swarm of reporters surrounding the car of Alexandra Torrens-Vilas, recently framed by Hollywood Police officers for a traffic accident they actually caused. Holding his own microphone to Torrens-Vilas' face, he repeatedly screams, "Lyrikill-dot-com!" until WSVN reporter Nicole Linsalata grabs him and he's shoved away.
• The same month, a WPLG crew member, while setting up a courthouse newscast involving Torrens-Villas, hides a rock behind his back and dares the rapper to come closer. Seitz recruits some nearby high schoolers to distract the crewman so he can get in the shot. Remarkably, the plot works.
Seitz's Bay of Pigs moment came November 17, 2008, when a WSVN crew member took offense to Seitz's presence on a set in front of Simpson's house — and was clearly shown, on live television, trying to whack the invader with a metal pole. Seitz filed a report with Miami-Dade police against the crew member, later identified as 68-year-old Pedro Tellez, but then declined to pursue aggravated assault charges. Tellez couldn't be reached for comment. Said WSVN public service coordinator Lily Pardo: "We really do not want to participate in this story."
In fact, it's nearly impossible to get news producers to acknowledge Seitz on the record. "It's a free country, and we're filming in public places," WPLG Vice President Bill Pohovey remarks timidly. The station's assistant news director, Steve Owen, is more forthcoming: "Honestly, if I say anything about him to you, I'm giving him what he wants, which is more publicity."
On a recent weekday, the renegade rapper meets with New Times at a Whole Foods Market in Fort Lauderdale. He resembles a Caucasian Lil Wayne sans face tattoos. He wears a neon-green sweatshirt emblazoned with his rap name, hot-pink shoes, and Jackie Onassis sunglasses.
He says he began freestyling when he was 6 years old, attended predominantly black Stranahan High School, and has a bachelor's degree in advertising from Tallahassee's Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University. He has promoted his rap career by buying ad time on MTV and BET. He often wears his cell phone number in neon-lit numerals around his neck and sells his mixtapes in Ziploc bags for a dollar on the street.