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The last day of REVOLT Summit in Los Angeles took place on Sunday (Oct. 27), and we were even more eager to soak up more wisdom from some of the industry’s greatest executives, creatives, and leaders.
This followed day two’s festivities, which was filled with special conversations with REVOLT Summit co-chairs Top Dawg Entertainment that was moderated by Snoop Dogg alongside SZA and Jay Rock, a Generational Wealth chat between Master P and son Romeo Miller, a powerful Follow Her Lead panel with Beautycon CEO Moj Mahdara, Storm Reid, Lilly Singh and Cari Champion; and so much more.
Overall, the theme was clear: Hip hop is the world’s greatest genre and we’re just living in it. Read five takeaways from day three below!
1. A Sip with Issa Rae & Melina Matsoukas
Issa Rae is one of the most powerful black women in not only film, but entertainment as a whole. Not only is she the mastermind behind the “Insecure” television show on HBO, but she’s a role model for all aspiring women with dreams of making it in on the big or small screen. For the first time ever, the Los Angeles native brought her SIP series, which is described as “intimate and unscripted chats over drinks with influential creatives about their unconventional journeys,” to REVOLT Summit.
Melina’s impressive resume includes directing an episode of “Insecure” in the first season, winning a Grammy for directed Beyonce’s “Formation” video, and more recently working on the new movie Queen & Slim written by Lena Waithe.
The energy in the room did not go unnoticed, as these two badass female bosses took the REVOLT stage. Off the bat, Issa reminded the audience, “You can’t create change unless you do something provocative.”
Melina agreed: “I like to create change in my heart. I like to challenge what’s out there and challenge the status quo, challenge racism that exists in our everyday lives and the institutions in our country.”
When deciding what projects she chooses to take on, Melina stated, “It’s just in your gut. It’s what you have passion for. For me, I know that I’m a multifaceted human being and I have many likes and I have to be able to connect with it as a foundation. I don’t want to be involved in a project because you think I’m cool. I actually had bad luck with that, working with people who I find are friends. We don’t necessarily align creatively or professionally. So, I try to take the relationship out of it.”
2. The Westside Story panel with Mustard and Ty Dolla $ign
Los Angeles hails a lot of hip hop history from Tupac to Dr. Dre to N.W.A. In this generation, the city serves as home to two of the game’s hottest artists: YG and Ty Dolla $ign.
Who better to moderate this discussion than the legendary L.A. radio personality Big Boy? With fire intros for both, the Real 92.3 L.A. Morning Show host listed all their accolades from Mustard’s critically acclaimed Perfect Ten album and Ty Dolla’s recent collaborative feature on “Hot Girl Summer” with Megan Thee Stallion and Nicki Minaj, which took summer 2019 by storm.
Speaking on his ability to formulate hits, Mustard said: “I’m just living in the moment now, taking it day by day. I work the best under pressure. My mom used to tell me, ‘You’re only as good as your last hit.’ I live like that, it’s cool. I live by that pressure.”
He also comes from humble beginnings. The DJ added: “When we were younger, we used to go to his (Ty Dolla) house. Me, Ty, YG, etc. He was teaching me how to make beats. I really wanted to make beats. He taught me certain stuff, but I ended up getting my own program. I didn’t use his program, but he gave me a sound I still used to this day. I took it home and practiced and practiced. It was weak at first.”
When it comes to Los Angeles, Ty Dolla reps his city to the fullest. “West Coast is everywhere fasho — from the music to how we dress,” he said.
Ty also emphasized his wide range of genres. He stated, “It’s for sure just me. Being really into music — any type of music really. I jump from a song with Christina Aguilera to a song with YG. Anything, it’s just being me and a person who studies music for real. Really loves music, not just to be famous like these other [artists].”
3. The Leading the Latin Culture panel featuring Fat Joe
This year more than ever, Latin culture has emerged as one of the biggest cultural sounds. Specifically, it’s the sub-genres of Trap and Reggaeton that have taken over radio airwaves and charts all across the world.
Moderated by Abby De La Rosa from Real 92.3, this panel conjoined Fat Joe, N.O.R.E., Snow Tha Product, and Spiff TV. Topics covered included everything from their own identity with their ethnicity, barriers in music, breaking through to the mainstream, and more.
For those who don’t know, N.O.R.E. is black Puerto Rican. He even brought up a recent encounter with Fabolous, where the “Drink Champs” co-host told him “how much I wanted him to represent his Dominican side more.” It was also one of his best friends in the world, Big Pun, who influenced him the most.
Snow Tha Product chimed in to agree that her biggest influence was also Big Pun. “Seeing Big Pun, Eminem, Lauryn Hill. I remember hearing Big Pun rap and being like, ‘What?’ He’s Latino and I’m Latina. So, I’m like, ‘Okay, I know I can do this.’ To this day, he will forever be underrated no matter how high he’s recognized.”
With Fat Joe paving the way for Latino rappers in the game since he started in 1993, he brought us back to his days in The Bronx.
“I was raised in a neighborhood that was 99.9% black,” he explained. “We didn’t have social media or Instagram, all you know is your little four blocks or 10 blocks. When I grew up, real talk, I thought I was a white/black guy. Swear to God. You go to my pictures, it’s me and 50 black guys. Green eyes and blond hair, I thought I was albino and shit.”
“But, when I became a teenager, one of my friends was like, ‘Come with me to my hood.’ I was like, ‘Where’s that?’ He took me and it was 99.9% Latino over there. There was a black guy over there speaking Spanish, he thought he was Puerto Rican. It’s my true hip hop origins, knowing I’m Latino and representing Latino everywhere I go. I’ve been the Latino Cuban rapper since I was born, since day one when you saw me.”
The Terror Squad member also relayed his personal problem with artists who are Latino, but never claimed it. Regardless, the audience was able to get a sense of how he was able to bridge the gap in not only music, but culture.
4. The Ball So Hard: Players Taking the Power Back panel featuring Ice Cube
For sports fans, this was one of the most highly anticipated panels at REVOLT Summit. Moderated by sports expert and media personality Stephen A. Smith, this conversation between LeBron James’ super agent Rich Paul, and West Coast’s finest and basketball league owner Ice Cube covered topics from the world of professional and college basketball to how players can be empowered to not just own the court, but the game as a whole.
Having worked with one of today’s greatest NBA players, Paul shared his expertise on the industry and how agencies work. A standout moment came when he shed light on his perspective of education in the league. While school is important, sometimes life hits you right in the face.
He stated: “For you to represent a player who’s choosing to test the water, for me, I wanted to go to the NBA. But, didn’t know if I was good enough. I tested it. They want you to have a college degree, certain things to play. But, what you learn from a day-to-day basis, they can’t teach you in a university. For me, that was a restriction. To those with higher education, it’s not even a thing that’s implemented in our environment. We have so much going on. How the hell are we going to think of a higher education? I can’t. We had to put food on the table… no one should be restricted.”
When Smith asked Cube about empowerment, the West Coast spitter explained the importance in the climb, which is something that he experienced first hand.
He said: “When you put a team together, you want to put together some smart people for sure. When it comes to the climb, the struggle, we get so caught up in the results that we want — not really take the journey as meaningful, as the finish line. It’s really about taking whatever you do and understanding that I’m a craftsman. Whatever I’m doing, I have to show my talent, my skills. I have to be the best everyday.”
Cube continued: “Then, you find yourself getting those results you want. You’ll find yourself at the finish line. My thing is to hone in your talents, hone in your skills, show people your talents. Sometimes people come up to me asking, ‘Yo man, what can I do for you Cube? I want to work for you, Cube.’ What the hell can you do? You show me what you can do. Now you bringing something to the table.”
Then, he drove the point home: “The journey is just as beautiful as getting to the top.”
5. The Global Influence of Hip Hop panel
Moderated by Ebro Darben from Hot 97, this conversation centered around the impact of hip hop on a global scale, while ensuring to preserve the connection between international hip hop artists and their fans.
Stefflon Don, who hails from the U.K. and is of Jamaican descent, and exploded onto the American scene with her 2017 single “Hurtin’ Me” featuring French Montana, revealed the fulfillment in seeing dancehall and Afrobeat evolve — in her lovely English accent.
She commented: “Dancehall has always been around, it’s always been at the forefront. It’s big everywhere. With the Afrobeat stuff, that actually started in the last few years. It’s slightly been growing and growing, and slightly taken over. It’s amazing to see because a lot of stuff that was said about Afrobeat and the way it was represented in the media was in a negative light.
People were scared. I love that Afrobeat has made more people pay more attention to Africa and the real roots. We’re more proud than before. That in itself is amazing, so so amazing.”
Director of Urban Music at Youtube Tuma Basa added, “Places in Africa right now have so much growth. We don’t need the validation anymore, we just need the dollars.”
The grand finale was Diddy popping up onstage to drive the point home: “We on our way! We gon’ all get together. We got something coming for 2020. We gon’ show you the real Africa! I just want to say THANK YOU!”
To close out the weekend on the highest note, audiences were blessed with a full-blown concert that put on for the West Coast; as Roddy Ricch, Saweetie, Kamaiyah, Rubi Rose, Stefflon Don, and Ty Dolla $ign closed out the show.
REVOLT Summit in Los Angeles was one for the books! Until next year!