This is the 50th anniversary of hip-hop and one of the first commercially successful artists in the genre is STILL rocking the bells!
NCIS: Los Angeles’s LL COOL J, who started his career as a feisty young lyrical rapper from Queens, NY, is still impacting the game with his global platform, Rock The Bells. The platform, which doubles as a radio station and website, has announced that it just received a $15 million funding round that was led by Raine Ventures, Irving Azoff of Iconic Artists Group, and Paramount Global, with participation from Amex Ventures, Wildcat Capital Management, and Capstar Ventures. Other investors include ASK Capital, North Island (Glenn Hutchins), AME Cloud Ventures, and XO Capital.
It also has signed a first-look deal with Paramount Global.
“This Series B round is a reflection of the confidence that our investors have in Rock The Bells as a global platform,” said LL COOL J, Founder and CEO of Rock The Bells, in a written statement. “Hip-Hop is an art form that many people doubted from day one, but our culture continues to rise to higher heights! I’m honored that Rock The Bells is leading this resurgence of timeless Hip-Hop, while simultaneously bridging the generations. I’m so excited about all of the amazing things we have planned for the community, fans and brands! This is just the beginning.”
LL and Rock The Bells and Paramount Global have partnered by entering into a multi-year first-look deal. That agreement covers feature films with scripted and unscripted content. There is also the opportunity to live-stream the upcoming 2023 Rock The Bells Festival as it continues the celebration of the 50th anniversary of Hip-Hop.
The collaboration between the two entities will also help identify and develop co-branded merchandise opportunities that combine Paramount’s intellectual property with relevant storytelling in hip-hop. Paramount Global will also supply help with marketing for Rock The Bells content, experiences, and activations.
“Paramount is thrilled to expand our deep relationship with LL COOL J with our investment in Rock The Bells,” said Bruce Gillmer, President of Music, Music Talent, Programming & Events at Paramount. “We look forward to working with him to shine a spotlight on Hip-Hop culture and icons through music, events and diverse content.”
The next event taking place for Rock The Bells is the return of the annual Rock The Bells Festival, taking place on August 5 at Forest Hills Stadium in LL’s hometown of Queens. Rock The Bells will also host Rock The Bells Cruise: A Hip-Hop Experience leaving Miami to head to the Bahamas on November 13-17.