Hip Hop super-fan, Joanna Abeyie, heads straight into Compton to discover Hip Hop’s fascinating world of music, money and mayhem.
Want to know How to Make Hip Hop Million$?
Well, meet Joanna Abeyie; a british broadcasting journalist, business owner and hip-hop super fan. Being a life-long fan of the Rap culture, Joanna decided to film a six-part-series in hope to answer that exact question. She said:
“I wanted to make a programme that indulged my interest in both entertainment and business. So, I decided that I would make a series called ‘How to Make Millions through Hip Hop’.”
On her quest to learn more about the money and business within the hip hop industry, 29-year-old Joanna traveled around the US; including some of America’s most dangerous neighbourhood.
Starting her journey in the heart of Compton, California – the birthplace of West-Coast gangsta rap legends, including Dr. Dre, The Game and Kendrick Lamar; you’ll watch Joanna make so many fascinating, yet shocking discoveries.
We found this short series so interesting that we decided to talk to Joanna, to find out more about her passion for Hip Hop; and to ask her what she had learnt along her travels…
Read our interview with Joanna Abeyie
So, what’s Compton like?
Compton was mainly lots of projects, and there was evident poverty there.
It isn’t anywhere as scary as you might imagine. But, I’m not sure if that had anything to do with the fact that The Game’s stepdad was driving us around in a bullet proof van or whether it has just quieted down!
He took us down a street they called ‘hoe stroll’, which was home to many prostitutes; so yes, there is clearly issues around social mobility and opportunities there.
One thing I was surprised by was the Bloods and Crips existence; some areas were still very much areas that were populated by both gangs.
What do you like about Hip Hop music?
I like Hip Hop music because, for me, it represents triumph over adversity.
Hip Hop has demonstrated the rise in influence, and it convinces listeners that dreams and aspirations are achievable through drive, creativity and determination.
We know now that many of our most prolific Hip Hop stars were from socially disadvantaged environments, this is very inspiring to me.
How did this documentary come about?
The idea came to life when I decided to shoot the documentary idea myself, just to prove to myself and commissioners that I could pull it off.
I decided to travel across several states in America interviewing several stars about their businesses, how they made millions, how they managed to become business owners and build empires outside of their music career.
I managed to travel to LA, Las Vegas, Miami, Philadelphia and New York with a friend of mine, taking along my own camera equipment and using a useful contacts book to shoot a series of interviews with high-profile artists like Rick Ross and Snoop Dogg, to name just a few.
It took a few months but then eventually we managed to get the green light.
What’s was your favourite part of the trip?
I loved meeting everyone. It was such an adventure. It’s so difficult to answer this one because I have learnt so much from everyone I met, the production team and the places I experienced.
But, if I had to pick a favourite, I loved speaking to the Brits – that being Estelle and Dizzee Rascal. I felt very proud of them
Talk us through meeting with Dizzee Rascal…
Dizzee, for me, is one of our hidden treasures. He’s very intelligent, and I don’t think that the side of his expertise that he shared with us throughout filming is one that everyone has the pleasure of seeing and hearing.
For me, he’s a real, genuine artist and entirely about making good music. He seemed less concerned with being rich and driving a good car and more focused on making music that was making us all dance in the clubs.
I like his understated profile and passion for just being a good artist. I think that his attitude is a testament to his success.
Dizzee was extremely supportive of our show and made time for us while he was in LA working on new music.
He instantly got what I was trying to achieve with the series and almost became the other producer haha!
He was full of ideas on discussion topics and introduced us to other key names he felt would be great contributors.
And, what’s Estelle like?
Estelle was funny, honest, frank and refreshing. I was proud of the fact that she came over to the US and just cracked on with owning her success.
She’s a real entrepreneur and again very understated. She has her own label, had great contacts, great ideas and quietly goes off and does her thing; and I think it’s brilliant.
Sometimes I think audiences can be guilty of thinking because there hasn’t been much noise around success, then it doesn’t exist; but, sometimes some of the emptiest barrels make the loudest noise.
How does UK Hip Hop differ to the US?
I think the UK Hip Hop scene is still growing and in comparison to the popularity of Hip Hop artists in the US, we have to do more to celebrate raw hip hop over here.
I think, in the UK, our closest genre of music to the kinds of Hip Hop that is popular in the US is Grime music; it would be great if we could have our UK hand print firmly in the genre.
What do you think of Grime music?
I’m a fan and always have been! I have some faves; including Kano, Stormzy and Wretch 32 – if they would class themselves as Grime, often that word is over-used and artists don’t like to be boxed into a genre. But, those are my top three!
So, what was the biggest discovery you you made about Hip Hop?
That it’s a humble art form.
I think we are often blinded by the bling and glitz of Hip Hop life; but my experience with the genre while filming this shorts series was one which just demonstrated individuals with real grit and work ethic.
It was less about the riches and entirely about people who were passionate about what they do and dedicated to being the best at it.
Finally, how do you make hip hop millions?
By finding ways to be making money and positively influencing society even when you’re fast asleep!
Find something you’re so passionate about that you’ll do whatever you need to be the best at it.
Once you’ve identified that, make sure that you own all the means of your production; or, if you can’t do that, make sure you create formal business relationships.
How To Make Hip Hop Million$ is available to watch on All 4 at channel4.com/shorts