WE tv Orders 'Empire'-Like Docuseries Featuring Famous Hip-Hop Families (Exclusive)

The six-episode show will follow the aspiring offspring of music legends including Damon Dash, Rev. Run, Russell Simmons, Master P, El DeBarge and Pepa.
AP Images
Romeo Miller, left, Master P, Angela Simmons, Russell Simmons

WE tv is looking for its own Empire.

The female-driven AMC Networks-owned cable network has handed out a six-episode order to docuseries Growing Up Hip Hop, The Hollywood Reporter has learned.

From Entertainment One, the series will explore the real stories behind some of hip-hop's most well-known figures and their famous offspring.

Each episode will focus on how their children are challenged with maintaining their own identity while evolving the hip-hop sound and culture they came from.

Set to participate are music legends Damon Dash, Rev. Run, Russell Simmons, Master P, El DeBarge and Pepa and their offspring:

Romeo Miller is a musician, actor (formerly known as Lil' Romeo) and the son of Master P. He’s on track to take over the music empire his father built, but is that really his path or will he veer off course? He consistently leans on close friend Angela for guidance and support.

See more 'Empire' Cast Before They Were Stars

Angela Simmons, the daughter of rap pioneer Rev. Run and niece of Russell Simmons, is a hip-hop socialite, model and fashion designer of her own line, Foofi. Angela is a social media powerhouse who’s hoping to translate her fashion success into dollars away from the comfort of her father’s fortunes.

Damon “Boogie” Dash is the namesake of his father, Roc-A-Fella co-founder and media mogul, Damon Dash. Like father like son, “Boogie” is also an entrepreneur having co-founded Chipz Cookies as well as a record label and NYC art gallery.

Kristinia DeBarge is the daughter of James DeBarge from the legendary yet troubled group DeBarge, and a singer-songwriter. With her father in prison, Kristinia leans on her uncle, hip-hop legend El DeBarge, as she struggles to choose between family and fame, all while considered the outsider of this tight-knit group.

Egypt Criss, the daughter of Sandra “Pepa” Denton from Salt-N-Pepa and rap icon Treach from Naughty By Nature, is actively pursuing a solo music career. Her overprotective mother, however, has yet to bless her career choice based on her own experiences in the hip-hop industry, which she helped establish.

TJ Mizell, the son of the late Run DMC DJ, Jam Master Jay, has stepped into his father’s shoes as a DJ, spinning at the hottest events and venues around the world, yet always on his mind is his father’s mysterious and still unsolved murder.

"Hip-hop is a hugely popular music genre, but beyond the songs it has become a lifestyle and has influenced a generation of young people," WE tv president Marc Juris said.  “Growing Up Hip Hop profiles what it’s like to be raised by hip-hop legends, living in their shadow while trying to balance success and independence. This series will be right at home in our growing lineup focused on the authenticity and the challenges of real people and real relationships, and we can’t wait to share these distinctive original stories with WE tv viewers."

Growing Up Hip Hop is executive produced by eOne's John Morayniss and Tara Long; Miller, Angela Simmons, Percy Robert Miller (Master P) and Datari Turner whose Datari Turner Productions co-produces. WE tv's Lauren Gellert, Suzanne Murch and Mark Powell will oversee for WE tv.

For WE tv, the series comes as the cabler posted 8 percent and 10 percent gains among women 18-39 and women 25-53, respectively, in its recently concluded second quarter. The series will join a roster of originals that also includes Braxton Family Values and Marriage Boot Camp Reality Stars, both of which are on pace to deliver their best seasons yet. WE tv is the No. 1 cable network on Thursday nights among African-American adults and women 18-49 and 25-54.

Growing Up Hip-Hop will premiere in late 2015. A specific date has not yet been determined. 

Hip-hop fare is in high demand following the success of Fox's Empire. Starz also has 50 Cent-produced drama Power, while VH1 is adapting Dan Charnas' hip-hop bible The Big Payback as a backdoor pilot.

EmailLesley.Goldberg@THR.com
Twitter: @Snoodit

comments powered by Disqus