Roy Scott had dreams of being a rapper. Growing up listening to and becoming inspired by artists like Tupac and Bone Thugs-N-Harmony, Scott had been inching closer and closer to his dream, eventually signing with a label and collaborating with Tech9.
One day, while driving his young son to school, Scott had a “light bulb moment” that let him know this brand of hip hop wasn’t his path.
“Everything changed for me when I pick up my son from school, when I see him repeat my music, as we know, music promoter, drugs, violence, etc.. I just knew at that point of my light bulb moment, I reflected on how impactful music, specifically hip hop music and culture, was on me. I knew I couldn’t be this influence on anybody else,” he explained.
The seeds then began to sow for Healthy Hip Hop, an app that is a platform for kid-friendly hip hop music that has the lyrics to educate and encourage elementary school age kids, but still go hard for the parents.
Healthy Hip Hop was conceived to be a website that fuses high quality hip hop music production and songwriting, with concepts that will inspire and teach child healthy habits. With music created by his partner, Wes Smith, the app features animated characters, such as Smith’s PJ Panda, that rap and sing about subjects like learning to use the potty, healthy dieting and positive affirmations.
While the kids are learning from the words, the parents and teachers can still vibe from the stellar production. Scott stated that while Kidz Bop and Baby Shars have had success, “there was nobody really filling that void of creating hip hop for children that is still relevant that parents can listen to.”
Scott recognizes that hip hop historically has been important to cultures all over the world and despite it getting a bad rap for some of its imagery and subject matter as of late.
“For the last, I want to say at least 10 or so years or more, has been the most influential genre of music in the world and is the most consumed genre in the world,” Scott said. “Even though this is kids’ music, it just sounds relative to what you’re hearing in the streets. It sounds like what you’re hearing on the radio in the communities.”
After hooking up with his first partner and taking Healthy Hip Hop to schools for live events, Scott took the leap to get some big investment dollars via ABC’s Shark Tank in 2016. At the time, Scott and his partner were pitching Healthy Hip Hop as a multi-disclpine company, including a television property, music, merchandising.
Although shark Kevin “Mr. Wonderful” O’Leary made them an offer ($500,000 for the television property only), ABC told him that the network would not proceed with televising their episode. Then, things went from bad to worse after Scott spoke with one of the show’s executives.
“That’s what he told me was like, ‘Well you know, ABC, the network this comes on, is owned by Disney. They looked at you guys as competition. So welcome to Hollywood,’” Scott said.
Although this depressed Scott and caused his first partner to quit, he saw it as a blessing in disguise. “It was the best and worst validation. So Disney sees this as a threat. We’re on to something,” he shared.
In the coming years, Scott found a new partner in Smith, and pivoted Healthy Hip Hop into being a tech company. He’s amassed grants from Google for Startups & Techstars, and crowdfunded the venture using Republic, which unlike reward-based sites like Kickstarter and GoFundMe.com, is equity based.
“Let’s just say you seen Healthy Hip Hop and you like it,” Scott explained. “You want to invest, you can invest starting at $100. That would translate to having ownership of small ownership stake in some shares in the company.”
Scott is looking to have classroom utilize Healthy Hip Hop to help with the education process for teachers. “We first started testing the tech in the early phases,” Scott said. “Primarily, the biggest use case for Healthy Hip Hop is to get kids up and active kind of, to start their day or morning energizer, and also throughout the day for brain boosters.
According to Scott’s research, “there would be studies that show when kids get up and get active, either prior to or during learning, helps improve focus and retention.”
As Healthy Hip Hop continues to get investors and grow capital, Scott has big plans for the app’s growth and reach. He hopes that someday down the line, a big name artist like Quavo of The Migos will become an animated character who spit a rhyme about healthy living.
“I see [us] being a global leader in children’s music programing technology and education. That’s why we say that urban Disney–you know what Disney is doing–we believe we can do that.“