Quickly Emerging As The Russell Simmons of African Hip Hop, Industry Visionary Emmett Hill’s Company Launches Its U.S. Branding Of Artists From Ghana, Nigeria and Other African Nations On ‘The United States of Blood Diamonds,’ A Mixtape Collection Hosted By DJ Whiteowl
Hey American hip-hop fans–time to expand your horizons and check out the sounds and flows comin’ at ya, bringing you some of Africa’s biggest hip-hop celebrities.
In the same way the British Invasion transformed rock and roll in the 60s, the explosive influx of superstar artists from countries like Ghana, Nigeria and South Africa is about to change the hip-hop game in America both artistically and commercially.
CNN did a special report on the phenomenon these artists generate in their homelands. The last two BET Awards included showcases for freestyling young performers from Ghana (2010) and Nigeria (2011). Now Emmett Hill, founder of Diamond Soul Management, is opening an exciting, multi-faceted new world of branding opportunities in the U.S. and across the globe for African hip-hop artists.
Taking his cue from the way Russell Simmons and Def Jam mainstreamed hip-hop in the 1980s and 90s, Hill’s goal is to make African Hip Hop a marketable commodity in the U.S. and worldwide.
First up: the release of United States of Blood Diamonds, a mixtape collection featuring 12 artists from Ghana, Nigeria, South Africa and other African regions rapping over American hip-hop beats. Distributed by Ingrooves Distribution—an arm of Universal Music Group—the mixtape is hosted by DJ Whiteowl and includes tracks by prominent artists M-I (from Chocolate City Music), Jayso (signed to the Ghanian label Skillions Records) and Sarkodie, the first African artist signed to Akon’s Konvict Africa label.
The Liberian born Hill’s impressive track record as an indie label owner includes moving 30,000 units of his former artist Rebel Clan in the mid-2000s. In 2005, Warner Bros. South Africa (also known as Gallo Music Group) nearly signed Rebel Clan, but Hill turned down the offer due to location issues. He is represented by John T. Robertson, one of the top entertainment lawyers in Philadelphia.
“Diamond Soul Management will not only create a major buzz through the music industry,” Hill says, “but also help the artists gain street credibility by promoting the mixtape online and throughout every city in America with organized street teams. My long term goal is to get them signed to major U.S. labels and open a door for American consumers to experience their music for the first time. They deserve the recognition they are now receiving and it is my great privilege to introduce them to new audiences throughout the world.”
In many ways, the African artists emerging in the American market is a complement to the popularity many U.S. rappers enjoy in Africa. The annual MTV Base Africa Awards, seen annually by millions of viewers in Africa and worldwide, is also known as M.A.M.A (MTV-AFRICA-MUSIC-AWARDS). American hip-hop greats Rick Ross The Game, Flo Rida and many others have performed at this event.
This year’s MTV African Music Awards (M. A. M. A.) were hosted by U.S Hip Hop artist Eve and sponsored by Zain (the fourth largest mobile network in the world), in association with MasterCard. This event attracted over a billion viewers across the world. Launched in 2005, MTV Africa reaches over 90 million viewers in about 10.5 million households in 48 countries in Africa, and still growing.
Starting the new year with a new sound and bound to shake up the music industry, United States of Blood Diamonds is coming at ya in early 2012.
Look out for it and get ready to groove!