Mikel Knight's street team raises controversy in Mid-Michigan - WNEM TV 5

Mikel Knight's street team raises controversy in Mid-Michigan

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SAGINAW TOWNSHIP, MI (WNEM) -

He has an unorthodox style of music and an unorthodox way of selling it.

Mikel Knight's street teams are no stranger to controversy or even the police, but new claims accuse the star of much more than just selling his latest country-rap album.

The Maverick Road Street Team visited a Saginaw Township Kroger parking lot. They were promoting Mikel Knight's music and trying to cell his CDs.

The street team was chased off by the Saginaw Township Police Department because they were on private property and did not have the proper permits.

It's the way the group operates that has some questioning the legitimacy of their objective.

The street team goes from town to town with about seven vehicles with Mikel Knight's name emblazoned on the side. They stop at gas stations or strip malls in hopes of selling his music.

The group has been around Mid-Michigan for a couple of days. The promoter for Mikel Knight claims this is the way they run their business and has been for more than three years. They sold more than two million albums during that time.

Some question their tactics, claiming the sales men are pushy. They also question the background of some of the people on the team.

Monti Samuels, leader of the street team, said there's no malice.

"We're about promoting for one, two, more importantly, changing lives. We've got a second chance program that we're running here, a company as independent as can be, and we're out here employing guys that are second chance, like I mentioned. Giving them an opportunity to take care of their families, make some money and do it in a legit fashion," Samuels said.

He said the men who work for him are paid on commission and get half of the sales they make.

As far as what second chance means, he said some on the team are ex-convicts or ex-felons. They sign contracts saying they'll abide by the rules put out by Knight's team.

Stephon Johansen listened to a Mikel Knight CD for the first time on Tuesday.

"No, I've never heard of him, but I like it," Johansen said.

He decided to give the CD a try after being approached by a man selling it.

"We're just good people out here trying to make a living," said Michael Cudney, Mikel Knight employee.

Several men who work for the country-rap artist were out trying to do the same thing.

"It's 100 percent commission based. They get 50 percent of what they sell. If they sell a CD for $10, they get $5," Samuels said.

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