It’s been eight months and four days since “Holler If Ya Hear Me,” a Broadway show inspired by the music of Tupac closed, but hip hop-preneure Russell Simmons is not at all concerned. He is, in fact, positive he can raise the bar, and the curtain, with the recent announcement of his Hip-Hop musical, “The Scenario.” The musical is based on an original story written by author and hip-hop historian Dan Charnas, best known for his book, The Big Payback: The History of the Business of Hip-Hop.
Simmons says the musical is a celebration of multiple generations of hip-hop, part love story and part protest. The fabric of hip hop has been woven from New York to all points of the globe and the list of hip-hip songs is equally as long, so the biggest question is what songs and artists will make their way to the stage or the soundtrack of “The Scenario?” How in the name of an Al Sharpton snatchback can Simmons exclude the artists from the house that built Def Jam such as LL Cool J, EMPD, Slick Rick and Public Enemy or the likes of Tupac, Biggie of Weezy and Yesus?
Simmons says never saw “Holler If Ya Hear Me,” as a celebration of hip-hop, nor does he see “any way in the world to compare what I want to do with what they did.” He also adds “The Scenario” will lean more toward a celebration of the music of hip-hop than social commentary, although “you can’t help but mention that it did more to integrate America than any other pop cultural phenomenon.” Simmons may be the “one” to make this endeavor a success on to something big, since he did, win a 2003 Tony for producing “Russell Simmons Def Poetry Jam.”
Successful Broadway musicals from a variety of genres such as rock with American Idiot, pop group Abba’s Mama Mia to the more recent, Motown: The Musical along with Beautiful: The Carole King Musical, but rap/hip-hop music has yet to produce a Broadway hit. Simmons and his open check book crew of producers are planning for the premiere of “The Scenario” in late 2016.