In January, Rap Snacks celebrated the 50th anniversary of Hip Hop with its first annual Rap Snacks Disrupt Summit! The two-day event featured a conversation on culture, community, family, and creating wealth with Hip Hop icons and top entrepreneurs including Master P., Romeo Miller, E-40, Meek Mill, Quality Control Music Executive Kevin “Coach K” Lee, and more! We had the pleasure of catching up with Rap Snacks founder, James Lindsay, about the jam-packed event, the importance of community investment, the new mouth-watering snacks Rap Snacks is cooking, and more. Keep reading for the highlights from our chat!

The inaugural Rap Snacks Disrupt Summit took place a few weeks ago! How was it?

It really was beyond our dreams. With the response from the audience as well as our distributors, it was unbelievable. We couldn’t have asked for a better response. It was our 1st one and we had to get our feet wet, but it was really a big success for us. It’s going to be a yearly event, so we’re planning now for next year, and it’s going to be bigger and better. And now we know what we can do to make it even better, so I’m excited about it. And what made it special for us is that we were the first ones to celebrate the 50th year of Hip Hop with our Summit. Rap Snacks has been around 28 years and Hip Hop has been around for 50 so it’s a great connection that we have within the hip hop community and we wanted to be the first ones to really celebrate it. 

What was the motivation behind creating the Disrupt Summit?

Information is key. And as far as Afro-Americans in this country, we’re sometimes behind the 8-ball, because we don’t have the information that takes our businesses to another level. Over these 28 years, I’ve gained a lot of experience and understanding. There’s a lot of information that I know, and I [wanted] to get it out to other people that need the information. As far as the people in the culture, we’ve been disrupting these industries for a long time, but nobody gives you credit for it. From Jay Z with Rocawear, Russell Simmons with Phat Farm, and James Lindsay with Rap Snacks. I wanted to first and foremost remind people of what we’ve done, but also remind people of what we potentially have going forward with being able to create our own brands that we can eventually start serving our own communities with.

What was one of your biggest takeaways from the Feed the Soul panel?

Everybody on that panel had a different story. [They talked about] the struggle that they had to go through to really get to where they were at. But the common denominator was when they found the information out, that’s when they elevated their careers.

Why did you call on these particular rap artists and entrepreneurs to speak on the topics of culture and creating wealth?

[They each] offer something different. Master P has been doing this for a long time with products, brands, and music. And he was able to speak to the audience on all of that. E-40 was one of the first independent artists, as P was, to speak about independent music, owning your masters, and really doing some of the things that most artists want to do now. [Artists] get into the business and don’t even want to sign with labels now. They want to have a promotional contract, they want to own their masters, and be true entrepreneurs. And most of them on the panel had some type of entrepreneurial experience, and that’s why I invited most of these guys.

What are some things that the community can do to achieve generational wealth?

First and foremost, we have to start creating and producing our own products. How can you create new generational wealth when you aren’t really capitalizing on producing products? In addition to that, investing. The average kid doesn’t understand the stock market, so we have a Stock Boss Up Program where we’re teaching kids from a young age how to invest in the stock market. Financial literacy is learning how to produce products, learning how to invest your money, and learning how to make money from investing. People don’t like to have the conversation, but we have to start having the conversation because the rich are going to get richer, and the poor is not going to get anything.

Tell us more about the Boss Up program, and others that you have!

We have several programs, and the focus of our Stock Boss Up Program is the Stock Boss Up app. You can download the app, be a participant, invest, and follow other people that are investing on our app. We’re working on something and hopefully by April, you’ll be able to go on there, learn how to invest, and invest your money in real time in the stock market. We’ll be the first of that kind. But we have several programs around the country. We also have the Back Spinz program where kids go into the studio, and they learn how to produce. Wise Intelligence from the legendary group Poor Righteous Teachers, runs our foundation, and we’ve done a lot of good stuff with the foundation.

That’s amazing. Why is it important to you for Rap Snacks to invest in the community?

I tell people all the time, if you are extracting from the community, you have to reinvest in what you are extracting from. So, we get paid from people buying our product, but if you continue to extract you have to make the people buying your product healthier. And we [at Rap Snacks] feel like we have a commitment to that. There’s so much that nobody is doing, that we stick out like a sore thumb because we don’t advertise it. But when you ask people how Rap Snacks is investing in the community, we just point to X, Y, and Z, and you can see. That’s a big part of what we do at Rap Snacks everyday.

What’s one piece of advice you would give a rising entrepreneur?

First, you have to know your marketplace and establish that. And just have the natural love to give back. I always tell people, the best advice I can give is to love what you do. Because if you have the passion behind that and it’s not just about the money, you’re going to find a way to give back. 

Is there anything new we can expect from Rap Snacks this year?

We came out with all new types of products and flavors that nobody else has on the marketplace. We’ve done a lot of potato chips but we wanted to expand on popcorn because people are eating a lot more popcorn. People are really excited about our ‘All In’ Lil Baby Popcorn. We did a ‘Rick Ross Sweet Chili Lemon Pepper’ Popcorn. We’re coming out with ‘Nicki Minaj’s Truffle and Honey Barbeque’ Popcorn probably in the next month, which is going to be a killer. We have a ‘Moneybagg Yo Hot’ Popcorn too. We’re also looking at adding more to our soup, ramen noodle business, and adding more flavors. We have a Rick Ross one, and it’s a chicken lemon pepper flavor. And we have an ;All In Hot’ flavor for Lil Baby that we’re looking at. We’re looking to expand that business this year. And we’re going into some cans for our lemonades. Just doing some different things from a flavor perspective. We’ve really hit the ground running when we repackaged the brand in 2016-2017, and we haven’t looked back since.

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