5 highlights from day two of the REVOLT Summit in Atlanta
REVOLT TV breaks down five of the best moments from day two in ATL.
The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of any other agency, organization, employer or company.
Hip hop is a culture, a movement, a voice that emerged in the Bronx, New York. Since its inception, the culture has significantly impacted everything from politics and race to art and language. And there are two people whose impact, influence, value and legacies within the culture are cemented forever—the Notorious B.I.G. and Tupac Shakur.
Because of them, September 13, isn’t just day two of the REVOLT Summit x AT&T. Yesterday was a special day for the culture, a day of reflection, and remembrance. It was September 13, 1994, when Big released his landmark debut album, Ready to Die. It was also September 13, 1996, when the world lost Tupac “2Pac” Shakur.
Biggie and Pac are two icons who helped create the movement in hip hop culture. So, in honor of their legacy and immeasurable contributions, REVOLT Summit day two provided a special opportunity of empowerment to the community of ATL. The three-day offering gave thousands of young people an inclusive, accessible, and one of a kind experience with front row access to the top artists, executives, creators, and entrepreneurs.
The culture is currently in a unique space. There seems to be a lot of collaboration and growth, but without the right information, opportunities, and exposure, that’s only allowing creatives to go so far before they hit a wall. Fortunately, that’s just what REVOLT Summit has proven to give to the community. REVOLT TV breaks down five of its best moments from day two.
Day two appeared to be a little more intense than the first. The crowd seemed to have gotten a little larger, people seemed more eager to get to the panels, the Q&A lines heavily increased, panelists were not holding back, and neither were the attendees.
There’s only so long that the façade of success shown in 60 second Instagram videos can satisfy you. Moreover, the young people in the audiences appeared to be hungry for more, for better, for something real. You could see it on their anxious faces and hear it in their clear, detailed, and concise questions.
Diddy, The Cultural Leader
Diddy aka the president of REVOLT University, even appeared to be more amped up as he came on stage right before The Making Of: Quality Control panel to introduce the moderator, 2 Chainz, who was also celebrating his birthday.
“Turn it up,” Diddy screamed at the crowd. “Dig a little bit deeper. Get a little bit more focused and manifest your dream into a reality. If you’re going to do that, let me hear you say Amen!”
HBCU: Culture Has Transcended
Historically Black Colleges and Universities are not only crucial to the culture, but they almost make up a considerable part of the culture. One of the main components of hip hop and its movement is creating opportunities for each other when they don’t exist. HBCUs are rooted from times when educational opportunities were not afforded to Blacks at other schools.
Moderated by FOX Sports analyst Chris Broussard, DJ Drama, NBA player Robert Covington, Miss Clark Atlanta University Aretha Bernard, radio personality Fly Guy DC, and CEO and Owner of Slutty Vegan Pinky Cole joined alongside. The discussion wrapped around how their HBCU experience impacted their lives and why it’s essential to support and pour into HBCUs.
Chris Broussard stated: “We recognize that while it is, of course, important to continue to fight for our rightful place in mainstream American institutions. It is also important to support, strengthen, and fortify our institutions with the black community with HBCUs being right up there at the top of the list. We also recognize [that] HBCUs are sleeping giants and if we in the African American community can increase our support of them, particularly our wealthy, powerful, and influential African Americans — athletes, entertainers, public figures, whatever it may be. We can make these institutions even greater than they already are for the benefit of black America and of America as a whole.”
It is worth noting that Clark Atlanta University graduate and panelist Pinky Cole recently partnered with her mentor and friend Stacey Lee, another Clark Atlanta graduate, to pay off the remaining debt of 30 seniors from their alma mater.
The Gatekeepers (A&R)
Lenny S. needs no introduction. But, maybe you only know him as the guy that gets all of the exclusive JAY-Z and Beyoncé pics [cue JAY-Z lyrics: “I don’t post no threats on the Internet. I just pose a threat, blame Lenny S for that”]. Lenny, who is currently the Senior Vice President of Roc Nation, did A&R for a long time. This is probably the reason that Lenny brilliantly moderated this panel with A&R elites Zoe Alicia, Baroline, Ericka J. Coulter, and Ryan Press. Not only did he ask all the right questions, but he also added invaluable information to the conversation.
Everyone on stage represents the music industry’s biggest labels and most successful artists, and have been doing so for quite some time. Everyone apart of this panel gave invaluable advice on various A&R topics, but there was one piece of advice on rejection that everyone should consider.
“I think rejection is probably what makes some of the biggest artists who they are,” said Ryan Press, who is the son of longtime Temptations tenor Ron Tyson. “JAY-Z couldn’t get signed, so he started his own record label. Lady Gaga was on three or four different record labels. So I think that’s what actually builds you. I know I’ve been rejected. I didn’t get into one of these companies until I was 29/30. No one wanted to hire me, so I just think you just have to keep pushing. But the rejection is what’s going to build you to keep grinding. So, I think the overall thing is to never stop unless it doesn’t feel real to you anymore.”
The Art of Independence
The Art of Independence panel featuring Russ, Gabby Peluso, Timothy Lowery, Roe Williams, YBN Cordae, Dooney Battle, and Jayson Rodriguez, proved to be extremely important for artists who are trying to figure out whether they want to take the independent route or the label path, and what that really means.
When an artist is independent, they share that information with a strong sense of pride, and that’s because to be independent and have any success means that you are one-hundred percent responsible for it. That is something to be proud of, but to be truly independent, you have to be completely okay with hustling all day, every day and mastering every aspect of the industry because you have no label behind you. It’s just you.
Being independent truly has its benefits. But, making this decision truly requires someone to be completely honest with themselves on whether or not they can be completely self-sufficient. During the conversation, the panelists gave some pretty good advice.
Check out some of the gems that they dropped below:
“To be a celebrity or a star is to seek the approval of the masses, and that can weigh heavy on someone, so don’t be too hard on yourself.”
“You are in charge of your destiny.”
“Stop being so focused on trying to show people that you’ve made it on social media. You want to be real-life rich, and let the internet catch up. If it doesn’t catch up, at least you’re real-life rich.”
“Always bet on yourself.”
“Love every part of your journey.”
Don’t run away from your struggle. Flip the struggle into a positive. That’s what will connect with others.”
“People always ask, ‘what’s the next step’ when they believe that it’s taking too long for their big break. To that, I say, “The next step is to always do the previous steps over and over again.”
The Making of Quality Control
This panel was undoubtedly the most anticipated for day two. Every seat, every empty space, and every corner of the room was taken up as attendees packed out the tent to hear Coach K and Pierre “Pee” Thomas discuss with moderator and friend 2 Chainz how the creation of their record label, Quality Control, significantly impacted the music industry. As one of the most powerful independent labels in the country with some of the top hip hop artists today on their roster, they are doing what a thing of the past for almost every other label —major and independent was. Coach K and Pee share that they spend a significant amount of time and money on developing their artists, who they genuinely consider family and not just a big paycheck. Coack K and Pee gave two significant pieces of advice to everyone in the audience:
Coach K stated: “Everybody just sees the flowers. But to really make it, there is a struggle, and you got to be willing to put everything that you got in your soul into something that you believe to see it through.”
Pee added: With independent artists, don’t chase the money when you are trying to get someone to sign you. Don’t always just look for the money. Yeah, I know that everybody has to have money to pay bills and take care of their family, but all of us came from nothing. The majority of us came from poverty… As soon as you get some money, you’re going to blow it and if you are getting money the legit way, then you already know the IRS [is] going to take a large portion of that and then you got to take care of your fam. So, money is going to go by so fast, so don’t always go for the money. Make sure you structure yourself to where whatever you create, the money would go into the project. Put the money into your creativity or whatever you are trying to work with. And if you make that work, you’re going to get so much money on the back end anyway. So, don’t just think you have [just to have a check]. Invest in yourself.”
The audience got a huge surprise when successful rapper Lil Yachty, one of the artists that they managed and developed before they signed him when the world even knew who he was, ran out on the stage and hopped on the couch in between Coach K and Pee and started giving advice.
Lil Yachty stated: “It’s always light at the end of the tunnel and you can do anything that you put your mind to. But, [to] do it, you have to first attempt. You have to try [it]. And nobody is going to just give you anything in life—ever. No one will ever hand you fortune and fame. You have to manually go out there and get it. And don’t ever allow anybody to steer the direction of your future because, at the end of the day, nobody lives the life you live, but you.”
Do you feel a little FOMO? Stay tuned with REVOLT as we continue to keep you updated on the best moments from REVOLT Summit in Atlanta.