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“If you want to put down your Smith & Wesson, your Glock, your AK47 and pick up a microphone, get in the booth and spit out some lyrics, who knows what can happen?”
—-Robert W. Lewis III on Rep Yo Set

HAIL, HAIL THE GANGSTAS' ALL HERE

Universal to Release Rep Yo Set Hip-Hop Compilation of Rappers From 27 of L.A.’s Toughest Gangs
Take a producer who has worked for Dr. Dre and rap talent from 27 of L.A.’s toughest gangs and what do you have?

Rep Yo Set, the brainchild of Reputable RecordsRobert W. Lewis III and veteran music executive (and Dre colleague) Charles “Big Chuck” Stanton, is a two-CD compilation set for an August 8 release on Universal Motown Records, with a documentary to follow.

Stanton was the VP and “ear to the street” for Dr. Dre’s production  company for eight years and worked with such superstars as Eminem, 50 Cent, Jay-Z and The Game. The album will be distributed through Universal Motown via Lewis’ Reputable Records and Big Chuck’s Drama Family Entertainment.

“We wanted to give back to the communities,” explains L.A. native Lewis, who managed to get Universal Motown’s Sylvia Rhone on board early on. “To give these guys the opportunity to redirect their energy in a positive manner. These same neighborhoods have produced some of the best and most talented rappers out there.”

Big Chuck, who has worked with everyone from Michael Jackson, New Edition, Boyz II Men, Luther Vandross and Anita Baker to old-school rap icons like Eric B and Rakim, Kool G. Rap and Nas, will oversee the creative elements of the project with his 24-year-old nephew prodigy, Ron Feemster.

“You have to find those focused enough to go forward,” Big Chuck explains. “You have to show them gangbanging doesn’t save lives, but brings pain to our families.”

“If you want to put down your Smith & Wesson, your Glock, your AK47 and pick up a microphone, get in the booth and spit out some lyrics, who knows what can happen?” adds Lewis. “These kids have lived these stories they tell. They know the streets, they know the life, so they have plenty to write about.”

Among the 27 artists they’ve discovered are such potential stars as G-Cell (Avalon Gangsta Crips), Tyson (Kelly Park Compton Crips), Squeak RU (Neighborhood Pirus), Red Rum (Avenue Pirus) and the Holmes Street Watts, named after their gang.

Rep Yo Set is a kind of American Idol for the hood, with future stops planned in N.Y. and a sequel in L.A.

“Guess that makes me Simon Cowell,” laughs Big Chuck. “But I’m fair. That’s the difference. I actually know talent and music. I’m not just criticizing. I’m looking for artists that can have careers, not just one hot record.”

 

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