The year of 2016 was almost over. I had reached the benchmarks required for my K880 project micro-grant. I had created my Highlight Deck for Hip Hop Orchestrated’s work from June 2016 to December 2016. I knew I was working toward my K880 project goal, but did not realize how much work had been done in just six months. I did not realize that in less than six months I was done with my Emerging City Champion Challenge.
When putting the 2016 Highlights on paper, I realized that the high school me would be so proud. The high school me would be saying, "See I told you that you had it in you to run after your dreams to be in the Music Industry."
MOGUL STUDIES: HIP HOP HEAVYWEIGHTS + DAYDREAMS
Although on paper, I was done with this project, in my heart and mind I knew I was just getting started. As a kiddo I was fascinated by the epic hero tales of the moguls from the Hip Hop Music Industry. The “from nothing to something” American tales steeped in Hip Hop Culture was the tale I wanted for myself. Any documentary about Jay-Z, Dame Dash, P. Diddy, Russell Simmons, Lyor Cohen, Kevin Liles---I consumed it.
One of my favorite movies during my high school years was the Roc-A-Fella Records documentary Backstage. I watched it so much that I had memorized the dice game freestyles of Jay-Z, DMX, and Black Muslim security guard. I had also memorized the gems that Dame Dash dropped about Roc-A-Fellas relationship with Def Jam. I also took mental notes on the magnitude of the cultural shift in live music culture that the 20-somethings of Roc-A-Fella Records took on to create industry acceptance of an all hip hop concert line-up.
As a teenager and on into my twenties, I would sit and dream and plot and strategize about how to find my path into the Hip Hop Cultural Industry. By the time Emerging City Champion fellowship opportunity came across my radar, I had let go of the idea of becoming the next generation Jay-Z/Dame Dash hip hop culture business genius.
I often felt I did not qualify to be a part of the Hip Hop Music industry. I had never sold drugs. I did not have to learn how to survive in public housing. And, I was a woman wanting to get in a very "this is a man's world" industry. How was I going to be a mafioso-style Hip Hop mogul like Jay-Z. Although I had landed an internship at BET Networks in 2011 during my junior year at university, but it did not turn into a job offer. That meant the P. Diddy Uptown Records method into the music industry was out. I did not live in New York City, LA, Miami, or Atlanta. I lived in Charlotte, NC, so in my mind becoming a Raymond “Benzino’ Scott Hip Hop Media mogul, on a hyper-local level, was most likely going to be the closest way I would get to achieving my teenhood Hip Hop Mogul daydreams.
The Hip Hop Business documentary that inspired the Hip Hop Mogul daydreams of Octavia Moore, founder of Hip Hop Orchestrated.
Requiem for a Lost Dream
To be honest I had totally let my Hip Hop Industry daydreams fade away and just settled for being in the media industry period. So the plan was to be a part of Charlotte’s local magazine-maker culture. From college journalism & PR courses to freelance writing gigs into a part-time job as a cashier to eventually working at an entry-level job at a local magazine was where I landed.
I learned a lot, but my creative soul was yearning for more. My creative soul was dying a slow, non-creative death. Then a new route into the Hip Hop Cultural Industry emerged. It was awakened by being a part of a DJ Battle training with the Charlotte-based DJ school, With These Hands Academy. Then the mentor-focused non-profit Hip Hop University pulled me into the world of Hip Hop philanthropy and Hip Hop educational curriculum. I was going to be a part of enhancing the Knowledge element of Hip Hop Culture through Hip Hop University, and it gave me a feeling that I had stepped into my purpose.
Octavia Moore on Deck
Founder of Hip Hop Orchestrated (Octavia Darko) on the decks at her first DJ Competition back in 2015. This is the moment when she fell back in love with Hip Hop music & culture.
Revival of a Found Dream
I had given up on finding a way into the Hip Hop music industry, but looking over that one-pager highlighting the accomplishments of my Emerging City Champions project for Hip Hop Orchestrated over the past 6 months reawakened the Hip Hop dream within me, but this time it had a new angle… Hip Hop social entrepreneurship.
You have the opportunity to reignite those daydreams. You can rekindle, or find, that passion within you. You make your dreams come true. You just have to find the lane that works best for you. I am just choosing to do this the Hip Hop way.
Make it Happen: The Hip Hop Generation Guide to Success
by Kevin Liles with Samantha Marshall