Happenings

Published on July 12th, 2017 | by Just Jay

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Russell Simmons’all Def Digital Partners With Sessions X & Talsa Media To Produce Eric B. & Rakim’s 30th Anniversary Reunion Concert Film

Russell Simmons’ All Def Digital (All Def), the fastest growing consumer media brand in hip hop and youth culture, will partner with Sessions X, a pioneering 4K video streaming and VR platform featuring HD audio, and the creative content and music boutique Talsa Media, to produce a concert film and documentary featuring the iconic hip hop duo Eric B. & Rakim. The renowned DJ and MC performed together for the first time in 20 years on Friday July 7th at New York’s legendary Apollo Theatre, marking the 30th anniversary of “Paid In Full,” the platinum album considered by Rolling Stone as one of the Top 500 albums of all time.

Along with Eric B and Rakim, the sold out show drew legends and luminaries from the world of rap and hip hop such as Ice T, Mase, Michael Bivins, Flavor Flav, Fat Joe, Maino, Al B. Sure!, Joeski, Lovebug Starski, Slick Rick, EPMD, Kid Capri, Kool Herc, Rich Boy, Special Ed, Lost Boyz, Peter Gunz, Roxanne Shante, T La Rock among many others.

Russell Simmons, founder of Def Jam Records and chairman of All Def Digital, who signed Eric B. & Rakim and released “Paid In Full,” will Executive Produce the documentary film. “I’m thrilled that the world, and a new generation, will have the opportunity to witness the creative spark that Eric B. and Rakim lit in hip hop,” said Simmons. “I remember still the first time I heard “Eric B. Is President,” perhaps more timely now than ever. The duo moved the culture forward, and DJs and MCs to this day stand on their shoulders. I’m honored to work again with these great artists.”

The concert documentary was shot and will be produced in 4K, HD and in virtual reality by Sessions X, the on-demand video streaming platform for music fans. “Sessions X focuses purely on real music fans, with intimate concerts in HD with album quality sound,” said Josh Killham, President. “We have new artists and legends in all genres, and with this film we have an anchor in hip hop for our fans.” Wally Eltawashy, founder of Talsa Media, brought the project together and will co-produce. “When I heard that Live Nation was putting on this show, and it sold out in no time, I knew we needed to document the performance so it could be shared around the world,” said Eltawashy.

“We have a conference room at our office literally named “’Paid In Full,’” said Sanjay Sharma, CEO of All Def Digital. “For All Def, it marks a continued expansion into both music-related programming and premium long-form content. Our long-form series ‘Traffic Jams’ on Spotify features some of the hottest artists in hip hop, like Joey Bada$$, D.R.A.M., Jidenna, E-40, T-Pain and more. At the end of the month, we’ll release our first theatrical documentary “Romeo Is Bleeding” about a spoken word poet who uses lyricism to break out of dire circumstances. And we recently announced ‘The Definitive History of Hip Hop,’ a major documentary series about the origin and rise of the movement. In many ways, all these projects owe a debt to Eric B. & Rakim.”

Eric B & Rakim added “With Cara Lewis handling the show, Russell managing the film and all of our friends joining us on our homestage of the Apollo, we really got the Paid in Full Posse back together for an amazing night celebrating the culture of HipHop.”

The reunion show was shot in Ultra High Definition, using the latest virtual reality technology, and will be taken out to the market by Simmons this summer for broader distribution. Attached photo credit is by Marc Millman Photography

ABOUT ERIC B. & RAKIM
Legendary rap duo Eric B. & Rakim celebrated the 30th anniversary of their genre-defining debut album by reuniting onstage for the first time in 23 years. The duo are almost universally recognized as the premier DJ/MC team in all of hip-hop. Not only is their chemistry superb, but individually, each represented the absolute state of the art in their respective skills. Eric B. was a hugely influential DJ and beatmaker whose taste for hard-hitting James Brown samples touched off a stampede through the Godfather of Soul’s back catalog that continues up to the present day. Rakim, meanwhile, still tops fan polls as the greatest MC of all time. He crafted his rhymes like poetry, filling his lines with elaborate metaphors and complex internal rhymes, and he played with the beat like a jazzman, earning a reputation as the smoothest-flowing MC ever to pick up a mic. Together, their peerless technique on the microphone and turntables upped the ante for all who followed them, and their advancement of hip-hop as an art form has been acknowledged by everyone from Gang Starr to the Wu-Tang Clan to Eminem.

ABOUT ALL DEF DIGITAL
All Def Digital is the leading media company for youth culture rooted in hip hop. All Def produces and distributes original content through its own media properties, social channels, traditional and premium television, theatrical motion-pictures, live events, and brand partnerships through its in-house agency ADHD. All Def also manages a curated network of emerging and established talent including social video stars, stand-up comics, writers, actors, poets and hip hop recording artists. The fastest growing media brand in urban youth programming, with over 5 million subscribers and fans monthly across YouTube, Facebook/Instagram, and Snapchat, driving over 200 million monthly views, All Def’s growth is also punctuated by category- leading engagement and video retention metrics. The company is headquartered in Los Angeles, California, with offices in New York. Its investors include Nu Horizons, Greycroft Partners, Third Wave Digital Partners, e.ventures, Advancit Capital, Andreessen Horowitz, and WPP.

About Sessions X
Sessions X is the pioneering on demand video streaming app, which features intimate in-studio performances, interviews, and behind-the-scenes content in brilliant 4K video and High Definition audio, offering an unparalleled sensory experience. It’s music the way it was meant to be seen and heard. The Sessions X app is available in the Apple app store, Google Play, and on select Samsung televisions. www.sessionsx.com.

About Talsa Media
Founded by Wally Eltawashy, Talsa Media is a creative media company building music, film, television, advertising, and branded properties. Headquarters are in Los Angeles and Toronto, with a production slate of multimedia assets in development.

About the Apollo Theater
The legendary Apollo Theater—the soul of American culture—plays a vital role in cultivating emerging talents and launching legends. Since its founding, the Apollo has served as a center of innovation and a creative catalyst for Harlem, the city of New York, and the world. With music at its core, the Apollo’s programming extends to dance, theater, spoken word, and more. The Apollo is a presenting organization that also produces festivals and large-scale dance and music works organized around a set of core initiatives: Apollo Music Signature Programs—Amateur Night, Salon Series, Apollo Music Café; Legacy Series—work that celebrates and extends the Apollo’s legacy through a contemporary lens; global festivals including the Women of the World (WOW) Festival and Breakin’ Convention, international and U.S.-based artist presentations focused on a specific theme; and Special Projects, multidisciplinary work with partner organizations.

Since introducing the first Amateur Night contests in 1934, the Apollo Theater has served as a testing ground for new artists working across a variety of art forms, and has ushered in the emergence of many new musical genres—including jazz, swing, bebop, R&B, gospel, blues, soul, and hip-hop. Among the countless legendary performers who launched their careers at the Apollo are D’Angelo, Lauryn Hill, Machine Gun Kelly, Miri Ben Ari, Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughan, Billie Holiday, James Brown, Michael Jackson, Gladys Knight, Luther Vandross, and Stevie Wonder; and the Apollo’s forward-looking artistic vision continues to build on this legacy.


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