“D-Day Launch Event” hosted by PaydayLA in partnership with Plyte, Buzzfeed and NGLA took off at the Buzzfeed Headquarter in Los Angeles on Feb. 28. The event showcased live performances by Reverie, Noa James, Zay Hilfigerr among others, sounds by QwessCoast and provided a platform for young rappers and performers from around the nation.
Over the past 10 years, with the popularity of social networking sites like Instagram, the music industry has shifted from being predominantly dependent on record labels to being more independently operated. This is good and bad because new coming artists have a lot more freedom with their art and how they conduct business, but without the proper education or mentoring, it can be a convoluted jungle to navigate. The launch introduced Plyte, a company that guides their talents to their full potential.
I had the opportunity to talk with Justin Ramirez, Ramirez is the CEO of Plyte, when asked about his thoughts on the event and the entertainment industry, the Founder had this to say:
“Plyte is about empowering artists to master their music business. We do this through community awareness, education and by helping our artists grow their own team. Artists need support no matter where they are in their career, and we specialize in helping each reach their full potential of career growth.”
During the event, a lot of artists gave a performance, many of which were associated with Plyte. I spoke with B8gie Foo first, he is a rapper whose sound has a slowed down depth that I felt to my bones, standing tall with gold grill coveting his smile, he talked about how he has been rapping since he was 8 years old, it was after “seeing Lil Wayne rap when he was part of “The Hot Boyz.” Quite fitting since during his performance, B8gie turnt the crowd up by getting us to yell, “I’m that motherfucker”. He spoke about his respect for the Young Money label and Lil Wayne’s grind that got him there. He wrapped it up saying, “ I want to do something that will outlive me”.
As a skeptic, I approached B8gie with a question regarding the culture that Hip Hop sets a tone for. It’s difficult to not acknowledge the history of gang violence that Hip Hop glorifies and, to my dismay Boogie replied, “A lot of people feel like rap music has to have a certain subject matter, so like ‘If you wanna rap, you have to be a hip hop artist’, I’m not a gangsta rapper, at 8 years old I started rapping like Lil Wayne, like a gangsta rapper, but I’m not a gangsta rapper, this is how I make music, I revisited my first project, the one I did 3 years ago, and I revisit it, so I rap along side myself, and listen to it, that was my way of giving back to Hip Hop, like, You don’t have to sound like this, you don’t have to be aggressive, you don’t have to be a gangster, you don’t have to sell drugs”.
Reverie Love is one of the few leading female rappers in today’s counter culture with over 3 million views on YouTube for the song she performed called “Give it Time”. As I find my way to talk to her, I find her busy speaking with Justin; she is one of Plyte’s represented artist. She stands tall with a pink outfit on, and is very fit. Her performance told the story of drug abuse, she had a very determined look as she sang out the lyrics and rapped her verse. You could tell it was her experience speaking through her. Reverie has been rapping professionally since she dropped her first record in 2009.
When I found a moment with her, I noticed the tattoos that covered her body. On her upper right arm, It is a colorful picture of a little fairy, she has wings and is looking up- as if she’s about to twirl, and she’s wearing a white dress. I asked Reverie what inspired the tattoo and she openly entrusted the story about the abortion she had when she was a young girl, I noticed a slight gloom in her voice. Quickly she said it was something she was planning on having removed. This isn’t something that is easy to talk about, and the partisan public opinion has never allowed woman to speak out about body rights without the sting of shame. Reverie Love is one of the few artists brave enough, despite the stigma to continue to share their story. Much like the rest of her discography, her performance was an unapologetic plea for change.
Along side the seasoned stars, I spoke with two young emerging rappers from New Jersey. Lil Donn and YBC are no stranger to NGLA, the rappers have been hustling in Los Angeles ever since their arrival from Jersey. The two performed together with a track that fueled our soul with more energy than I personally could handle.
It was a night that showcased how far Los Angeles’s new wave of counter culture had come in 2020. The artists that performed inside Buzz Feed’s headquarter were not competing with songs that rap about tits, ass and cash that rack clout online. The messages and truth in the rap verses I heard wasn’t just made for likes and views for the internet, the music that echoed the street of Highland Avenue that night was anything but, it was real life problems. It was a glimpse into the evolution of hip hops and rap music, and the social issues that artists were rising for till date. Truly one to mark history.