WEtv looks to cash in on ‘Empire’ with ‘Growing Up Hip Hop’

Romeo Miller

Romeo Miller attends the Cyboard BET Awards Gifting Lounge at the Ritz-Carlton Residences at L.A. Live in June. Miller will star in and executive produce the upcoming WEtv series “Growing Up Hip Hop.”

(Paul A. Hebert / Invision / Associated Pres)

Fox’s hit soap “Empire” followed the highs and lows of a fictional family navigating the music industry and trying not to kill one another. And now WEtv is looking to cash in on audiences’ interest in rap empires with its latest docu-series.

The network announced it would mine the stories of real-life rap industry families on “Growing Up Hip Hop.”

Set to air later this year, the six-episode reality series will follow industry legends and their offspring.

Roc-A-Fella Records co-founder Damon Dash, RUN DMC founding member Rev. Run, Def Jam co-founder Russell Simmons, No Limit Records founder Master P, R&B singer El DeBarge and Salt-N-Pepa founding member Sandra “Pepa” Denton provide the foundation for the series.

“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,” Marc Juris, WEtv’s president, said in a statement. 

Here’s a family rundown:

The son of Master P, Romeo Miller (formerly known as Lil’ Romeo) is a musician, actor, former college athlete and spokesman of ICDC College who is on track to take over and rebuild his dad’s empire, now known as No Limit Forever.

Angela Simmons, the daughter of rap pioneer Rev. Run and niece of Russell Simmons, is a hip-hop socialite, model and fashion designer looking to break away from the family fortune. 

Damon “Boogie” Dash is following in his father’s footsteps, having co-founded the gourmet food company Chipz Cookies along with a record label and an art gallery.

Kristinia DeBarge is looking to carry the R&B legacy of her famous lineage. The daughter of James DeBarge of the group DeBarge (who is perhaps best known as Janet Jackson’s ex-husband), she’s a singer/songwriter who has already found modest success. With her father currently behind bars after being arrested on assault with a deadly weapon and drug charges, Kristinia will lean on her uncle El DeBarge, who himself has long battled substance abuse issues.

Egypt Criss, the daughter of Pepa and Naughty by Nature’s Treach, is pursing a music career while under the watchful eye of her mother, who has yet to fully support her musical aspirations based on her own experiences in the industry.

TJ Mizell, the son of Run D.M.C. member Jam Master Jay, has inherited his late father’s passion for DJing but struggles with the mysterious circumstances of the unsolved murder that claimed his life.

“‘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,” Juris’ statement continued. “This series will be right at home in our growing line-up focused on the authenticity and the challenges of real people and real relationships.”

“Growing Up Hip Hop” is executive produced by John Morayniss and Tara Long for eOne along with Romeo Miller, Angela Simmons, Master P and Datari Turner.

WEtv has yet to set an air date for the new series.         

For more music news, follow me on Twitter: @gerrickkennedy