What’s the Play on IGTV

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NEXT TO join us in this weeks live episode of ‘What’s the Play?’ is American rapper, media executive and producer, Benzino.

Many may know him from the VH1 series Love and Hip Hop: Atlanta however we learn more about who he is aside from reality tv.

We kick off the conversation learning about his younger years and The Source, an American single-sheet Hip Hop newsletter that he launched alongside his friend, David Mays, back in 1988. Now an online entertainment website, he discusses his reasons for eventually selling the publication.

Benzino has been known to find himself feuding with other artists. When asked about his relationship with Eminem, he acknowledges his lyrical ability, giving him his musical accolades however opens up a discussion on what Hip Hop really is within black culture. It’s no secret that the two had an intense feud which began over a decade ago over a low rating that Eminem had received in The Source, which he believed to be a result of his race.

Benzino tells us that his issue with Eminem was never personal, stating that Eminem, as a white artist, can make Hip Hop music but occupying a space within black Hip-Hop culture was a whole different ball game.

He also speaks on his Love and Hip Hop: Atlanta experience and how many major moments of his life occurred on the season, particularly the passing of his mother and his engagement to his now ex, Althea. Followers of the series will be familiar with the explosive reunion episode which saw Benzino, along with fellow cast members Stevie J, Joseline Hernandez and many others engage in an on-stage brawl which he touches on with Play, ending the live with some inspirational words of advice for viewers.

 Watch episode here –

‘What’s the Play?’ – Live with Donatella

Also a member of the Love and Hip Hop franchise is UK’s very own, Donatella, who sits down with us to share her views on being the first woman to present on GRM Daily.

Working in what was known to be a heavily male-dominated scene, Donatella describes how she pushed through the criticism of working with grime MC’s whose music had not reached the mainstream market and continued to focus on working in the industry. This eventually afforded her the opportunity to be the first woman presenting on GRM Daily.

Along with being the first woman to present on a platform as major as GRM Daily, she also became the first British member of the Love and Hip Hop franchise, giving us the tea on whether this reality show really was a true depiction of reality or simply just scripted drama. She, however, makes it clear that she is not one for all the drama.

 Watch episode here –

What’s the Play?’ – Live with Will Dzombak

Will Dzombak is best known for being the CEO of Taylor Gang Entertainment, managing Grammy-nominated rapper, Wiz Khalifa.

Starting off his career as a concert/party promoter, he gained the necessary skills to eventually become an artist manager. His advice to those wanting to become artist managers is a reflection of these skills that he learnt; he suggests having a willingness to continuously want to learn and being open to new ideas. He also places emphasis on the concept of networking, which he equates to ones net worth, believing that the music industry is heavily about who you know.

The two also go on to discuss the Red Bull Culture Clash in 2016. The clash saw Eskimo Dance, Mixpak, UKG All Stars and Wiz Khalifa & Taylor Gang go sound system to sound system at The O2 and Dzombak reveals that he in fact employed Play to join the US side of the clash which was indeed Taylor Gang.

Watch episode here –

‘What’s the Play?’ – Live with DJ Target

To end this weeks live sessions, BBC 1Xtra presenter and long time member of Roll Deep, DJ Target, joins us to talk about growing up in east London, Pay As U Go and Roll Deep.

Growing up in 90s London, Target recollects the emergence of Jungle, an electronic music genre, that took over rave scenes which was a defining moment for U.K. music, showing a sound that was solely British without US influence. He grew up living next to Dizzee Rascal, Wiley and members of Roll Deep so musical talents were all around him. Seeing other musical collectives surfacing such as So Solid Crew, he joined the Pay As U Go team and began taking bookings over London across multiple garage raves. He then transitioned from Pay As U Go to Roll Deep, another British grime crew.

He also tells us briefly about his book, Grime Kids: The Inside Story of the Global Crime Takeover. This book marks the debut publication for the Roll Deep member, who has been a consistent figure in the scene since the development of the Pay As U Go collective. The book follows his story of how he set out in the industry, beginning with the Jungle scene and the influence it had on him. Upon being asked if he would ever turn Grime Kids into a movie, he reveals to us that he has in fact begun working on a tv drama.

Check out his book, now sold on Amazon, Blackwell’s and Waterstones.

He also shares his advice to artists who are looking to be signed stating that he looks at musical talent first and foremost but also the commitment that the artist has towards their craft.

 Watch episode here –

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