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If you wanted to earn a degree in the art and power of hip hop, REVOLT Summit x AT&T would be the only university to attend. So, who better to be the President of that university than Sean “Diddy” Combs? If there’s one thing that the hip hop pioneer and REVOLT Media & TV founder knows how to do; it’s to inspire, educate, celebrate, and elevate the culture. Diddy has been doing just that for over 25 years.
“I’m bringing it right to the community,” Diddy shared on his Instagram account the night before the magic began. “Bringing the information to where it needs to get to. A lot of people asked me why I didn’t throw it in Buckhead. I said that it’s right in the heart of the community. We’re happy, and we’re proud to be here.”
From the moment that you received your armband credentials and walked through the security checkpoint onto the campus, you could feel the energy. It was both positive and electrifying. Thousands of young black people were hungry for the knowledge, wisdom, and advice of the culture’s real movers and shakers, as well as the support and connection of their peers.
The first day of REVOLT Summit in Atlanta was filled with captivating panels that covered topics such as fashion, technology, music production, comedy, social media, and art. And for those who thought that they would attend the conference, hand their mixtape to Diddy, and get signed on the spot, should probably keep dreaming. But while that may not have happened, they weren’t too far off — there was even a music competition.
The REVOLT Summit showcased just how influential hip hop culture is. It extends well beyond music, and day one was proof of that. REVOLT TV breaks down five of its best moments.
1. Swizzy & Timbo
Swizz Beatz and Timbaland are two men in the industry who are unmatched and legendary. Collectively, they’ve created the soundtrack for the culture. Their catalogs are endless, and there’s not one major artist in the culture that they haven’t worked with in some capacity. As the two sat down for a one-on-one conversation, they swapped stories of how much they admire each other, gave up all the game and talked about everything from the importance of education to the difference between producers and beat-makers.
Swizz Beatz stated: “There’s a difference between a producer and a beat-maker. It’s a big difference. And I feel we need more produces than beat makers. We got a lot of beat-makers out there doing a lot of beats, but they not equipped enough to get in front of artists and construct a song. Challenge that artist in the studio. Let them know why your presence is important because... [The artist is] going to still collect beats and not care about who you are. But as a producer, [the artist] kind of [has] to go back and make that phone call [to you]. That’s why me and Timbaland are still in the business 20 years later.”
Timbaland shared the Swizz Beatz songs he wishes he would have made, saying, “Ain’t no song gonna come one in the club that’s hotter than mine,’ that’s what I said in my head because I’m competitive, but when that [Jigga My Nigga] came out…I was kind of like mad at Jay-Z for going to you. It was so hot. I was like damn I wish I could have made that beat. That was one of the illest beats I ever heard at that time. And then the other was [Money, Cash, Hoes].”
2. Hit Factory
Producers are now becoming just as popular, if not more, than artists. Brandon “Jinx” Jenkins moderated this inspiring panel featuring some of the most sought after producers today: Sonny Digital, Hit Maker (a.k.a. Young Berg), Justice League, and Trackgirl. These new, young producers have created iconic songs, and their production tags have taken on a life of their own. The theme of their advice was pretty simple: Don’t follow trends, follow your heart, and do you!
Here are a few affirmations and gems from the panel:
Take a chance on yourself.
The internet—let it connect you, don’t let it affect you.
Producers are now like artists. Do different things outside of the studio.
Producers, are the trendsetters.
Interning is definitely great. Get one.
Pay attention to the goosebumps.
Social media can really impact your mental health. So you have to be careful on social media looking at other people’s careers. Just focus on what you are doing.
Network laterally. Your peers are going to be your biggest champions.
You can’t be one foot in and one foot out of this. You gotta really go hard body on everything, and that’s how you wake up in this position talking on this REVOLT panel.
3. Africa Got Something To Say
Africa has had something to say for a long time. It’s just that no one wanted to listen. Now, Afrobeats is something that the culture is proud of, and a large part of this new pride is because artists such as Jidenna, Tiwa Savage, Davido, Rotimi, Wale, and Burna Boy — all popular, chart-topping artists from the continent — have infiltrated the hip hop culture worldwide.
This candid discussion between Jidenna and Turna Basa gave remarkable insight into how imposed self-hate has forced those in the culture to reject African music until recently.
“We call it xenophobia, but it’s really Afrophobia,” award-winning artist Jidenna, who was born in Wisconsin, but grew up partially in Nigeria, shared. “You were taught to be afraid of Africa when you were young, every one of you. I was too when I came from Nigeria. I didn’t want to be Nigerian. I didn’t want to be that. Nobody did. We were always taught to fear Africa because that’s the power source. It’s the one thing that unites each of you here and all of humanity, ultimately. It’s also because our wealth as black people in this country, in the Caribbean and Europe will be directly connected to how we deal with Africa, how we envision it, and how we invest.”
4. Monetizing Social Media: The Money Behind the Clicks
Everyone is social media-obsessed these days, spending hours scrolling through looking at how other people live their lives. Well, these four social media influencers have found a way to monetize their time on social media. Not only do they have millions of followers, they now have millions of dollars, and have mastered the art of building an audience, a brand, being consistent with giving their followers what they want, and monetizing their influence. They shared their come-up stories with media personality Janee Bolden, who moderated their panel. B. Simone is still looking for a “boyyyyyfriend,” but with a cosmetic company and other significant deals. While Blame It on Kway has figured out the perfect balance between being himself and his highly sought after character TiTi, all while opening restaurants (Krab Queenz) throughout the country. He’s on number three in less than nine months with more on the horizon.
Shiggy, on the other hand, has found a way to take his dances from the streets of New York to stages throughout the world with “Degrassi’s” finest and Toronto’s king, Drizzy Drake. Lastly, Candice Craig found her success in dance comedy skits. Now, as a solo artist with her newly released single “Singles Out” and her own clothing brand, Count Me In VVIVIIVIII — Candice hasn’t looked back.
Here are a few affirmations, social media tips, and gems from their panel:
Listen to your followers.
Don’t try to go viral. If you are consistently making good content, it will happen naturally.
After you post, immediately go live. Tell people to go like your last post, talk to them, and show them that you like their post, and your likes, views, and followers will triple.
5. The Art of the EnTRAPreneur—“It’s All About Ownership”
The conversation was moderated by technology entrepreneur and investor Dr. Paul Judge who showed his growth, love for his community, and his new commitment to his health after shedding 60 pounds.
Furthermore, Jeezy’s conversation was brilliant. The rapper explained how he transformed his life from a dope boy to a masterful entrepreneur, as a real estate owner, a marketing agency, technology agency, Avion Tequilla (a deal where he turned down money for ownership), and Defiance Fuel Fitness Water. Jeezy also shared that the most important advice that he could ever give is to know that anything is possible when you believe in yourself and bet on yourself every single time. Ten albums and 15 years later, he recently acquired all of his masters back from Def Jam, and proclaims that he is on a mission to teach the culture the importance of ownership.
“Music is my talent, but business is my passion,” Jeezy shared. “I don’t ever want anyone to box me in and tell me that I can just be a rapper because I never said that I was a rapper. I said that I was a corporate thug.”
Jeezy continued, “At the end of the day, they are not going to respect or let someone in straight off the streets and you’re walking in the boardroom smelling like a pound of weed, you got all these chains on, and you don’t have any skills. So you can’t go from the streets to walking into a company and closing a deal. So, everything is like levels and steps. I knew early on that the streets was a step, I wasn’t suppose to stay there. And when I got into music, I understood that it was another step. It’s something that I’m good at. I was good at the streets. I’m good at music, but when I saw what it was with business, I said I want to be good at that too. At the end of the day, I’m not going to stop until I’m great at that. Puff used to be a dancer. He’s one of the best to ever do it, so what if you told my brother he was just going to be a great dancer or a great producer. You have to keep going. Why stay boxed in?”
With all that from just day one, REVOLT Summit x AT&T has kicked off as an experience that celebrates the power of hip hop, connecting people who are passionate about building their dreams, taking control of their future and pushing the culture forward. If you aren’t able to attend the three-day event, make sure to keep it locked with REVOLT for daily recaps over the weekend.