Get ready for a bigger and deffer Rock the Bells ahead of its namesake music festival’s November return to Cool James’ native Queens.
LL Cool J and Paramount Global, the company behind the long-running drama NCIS: Los Angeles starring the iconic rapper and actor, led a $15 million Series B funding round for the return of Rock the Bells, as well as a first-look deal with the media brand. Per the release, the hip-hop platform founded by LL Cool J in 2018 will focus primarily on content, commerce, and live experiences.
Raine Ventures and Irving Azoff joined Paramount Global in leading the funding round, with AME Cloud Ventures, ASK Capital, North Island, and XO Capital among those joining the effort, per an official news release.
The name of the organization and its signature music festivals is inspired by the third single off the 55-year-old mogul’s 1985 debut album, Radio.
“This Series B round is a reflection of the confidence that our investors have in Rock The Bells as a global platform,” LL Cool J said in a 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.”
In its previous Series A cycle announced in April 2021, the organization raised $8 million.
Additional plans for the investment include developing more long-form projects, launching retail partnerships and experiential activations, and expanding across the pond in Europe. It will also grow its annual Rock the Bells Festival.
“Paramount is thrilled to expand our deep relationship with LL Cool J with our investment in Rock The Bells,” Bruce Gillmer, President of Music, Music Talent, Programming & Events at Paramount added. “We look forward to working with him to shine a spotlight on hip-hop culture and icons through music, events and diverse content.”
This year’s Rock the Bells festival is scheduled to take place on Saturday, Aug. 5, at Forest Hills Stadium in Queens. Rock The Bells will also present Rock The Bells Cruise: A Hip-Hop Experience in partnership with Sixthman, taking off from Miami to the Bahamas on Nov. 13-17.
Added Rock the Bells Presiden James Cuthbert on the heels of the news:
“Rock The Bells has brand affinity that’s been built over time through consistency and authenticity. We hold our audience’s trust, and we grow together by asking them to be a part of everything we do. Our partners proudly support our work because it spans generations, cements a legacy, and continues to elevate Hip-Hop in a way that honors the artform and highlights it deservingly.”
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