Saturday, August 13, 2022

LL Cool J Taps Hip Hop Icons for ‘Rock The Bells’ Brand Expansion

(Source: Kevin Winter/Getty Images North America)

*LL Cool J is expanding the universe of his SiriusXM Rock the Bells channel by making several hip-hop icons stakeholders in the brand. 

“I really believe in this culture, I’ve lived it my entire life and it’s time that hip-hop actually benefits from hip-hop,” LL tells Billboard about the alliance he has formed with rap pioneers including Big Daddy Kane, Run-D.M,C., Eric B, Roxanne Shante, Salt N Pepa, Fab 5 Freddy, and others. 

LL has brought on a team of investors to help turn the Rock the Bells homepage into the premiere destination for old school rap fans.

When asked what he hopes people to get from the site, LL explained, “The platform is going to give people a place to read, shop, listen and vibe… all the elements of hip-hop, with content, commerce and experiences. I feel like the classic hip-hop Generation X fan has basically been forgotten about. It’s either “okay boomer” or millennials with some Gen-Z sprinkled in, but people have forgotten about Generation X. We’re the pre-eminent voice of classic and timeless hip-hop.”

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Here’s more via the press release: 

Paying homage to the founders and pioneers of the Hip-Hop movement, Rock The Bells formed an unprecedented Hip-Hop alliance with Big Daddy Kane, RUN DMC, Eric B, Salt N Pepa, Fab 5 Freddy, Risk, Crazy Legs, Roxanne Shante and Jonathan Mannion. Hand-selected by LL COOL J to receive ownership in Rock The Bells, these influential icons will bring to RTB their authoritative knowledge that shaped the culture directly from the source.

As part of the expansion, the company brought on strategic investors including Redpoint Ventures, Bozoma Saint John, Harvard Professor Henry Louis Gates Jr.,The Azoff Company, Mark Cuban’s Radical Investments, Glenn Hutchins’ North Island, and Eddy Cue, among other groundbreaking leaders, with pioneering investor Geoff Yang (founding partner of Redpoint Ventures) as co-founder and Chairman. 

To drive this next phase of growth for the Rock The Bells brand, LL COOL J has hired an experienced leadership team of top creative and executive talent from Facebook, Farfetch, Highsnobiety and Lollapalooza. 

Rock The Bells also boasts audio and video content dedicated to the cultural moments and figures that define the classic Hip-Hop. While visiting the site, consumers can listen to LL COOL J narrate features on Hip-Hop icons and  stream LL COOL J’s  Rock The Bells Radio, which just celebrated its second anniversary as one of the most listened to channels on SiriusXM.

Rock The Bells commerce hub will feature limited-edition drops and modern products with vibes that speak to the timeless and classic Hip-Hop culture, ranging from affordable everyday products to premium luxury items. Rock The Bells will curate product drops around moments like Around The Way Girl, alcohol, books, Graffitti, DJ/sound equipment, personal care/grooming, apparel,  sneakers, Luxury and more. The commerce team is led by GM of Commerce Jamie Naguiat, who comes to RTB from Farfetch and will oversee the marketplace, RTB private label, and collaborations. 

Rock The Bells new commerce destination expands on the successful Rock The Bells Drop One that premiered earlier this year with hoodies, Ts anchored by the Shepard Fairy-designed Rock The Bells logo, and an exclusive partnership with ROOTS on a limited-edition varsity jacket that was rocked by everyone from Dr. Dre and Eminem to Mecole Hardman at the Super Bowl LIV Championship Parade.

In the coming months, Rock The Bells will roll out virtual experiences celebrating timeless Hip-Hop culture with its community across its digital platforms, with IRL events to be announced for 2021.

“We’re the leading voice that rocks with Gen X and those with a Strictly OG mindset,” says LL Cool J, founder and CEO of Rock The Bells. “Rock the Bells uplifts the people and moments at the forefront of Hip-Hop, through our best-in-class storytelling, shopping platform, and experiences. We’re putting ownership in the hands of the Black community and the pioneers that started the culture.”

 “LL COOL J is a pioneer of classic Hip-Hop with over three decades as the voice of authority in the culture, “ says co-founder and chairman Geoff Yang. “In partnering with him on Rock The Bells, I was drawn to his vision, knowledge and passion to connect Hip-Hop’s history to the present. There is a demand for content, products and experiences that speak to the Hip-Hop culture, packaged in a modern way to connect with and activate legacy fans – as well as current and future generations.”

Ny MaGee
Ny MaGee is an entertainment reporter with over 15 years of experience working in the film industry in areas including production and post-production, marketing, distribution, and acquisitions. She has worked for legendary film producer Roger Corman, Quentin Tarantino's production team at Miramax, the late Larry Flynt, MTV/ VH1, Hallmark Channel, Paramount, Jim Henson Co., Parade Magazine, and various LA-based companies representing above-the-line talent.




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