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DJ Prince Hakim Released Spirited New Single, R.O.Y.A.L.T.Y, a Colorful Dedication to Funk, Pop Rhyt
As the son of Robert “Kool” Bell, founder of the illustrious group, Kool & The Gang, DJ Prince Hakim Bell knows a thing or two about making undying music.
In fact, he executive produced Kool & The Gang’s first Top 10 single in 10 years called Sexy.
"I was a performer, rapper and hype man for Kool & The Gang for 10 years," Bell says. "When we went to Africa and Kenya, and they let me open for them a decade ago, it was 300,000 Black Kenyon’s in the crowd. It was incredible,” Bell revered his best performance to-date. “And, we went on tour with Van Halen. We played at all the arenas around the country with Eddie Van Halen and David Lee Roth. They opened, and I was on that set where they performed, “Jungle Boogie.” Can you imagine [that]?
'As for my DJ career, [memorable performance] it was playing for Bill Clinton. He’s a powerful man, in a powerful room, and I was the DJ. I was in the room with the President. He came over, complimented me and we took a picture.”
Influenced heavily by his father and a few others, who were pippin hot when Rhythm, Blues & Funk, were wildly celebrated, Bell released R.O.Y.A.L.T.Y featuring Walt Anderson.
R.O.Y.A.L.T.Y kicks off with instrumentals and vocals like Bruno Mars 24K Magic, but indicative to his own style.
“I love the 80’s. I think what me and Bruno Mars have in common is that we love real music. We use real musicians in our songs. We have break downs and bridges. We have great tempos, and our records are fun,” Bell explained passionately the different levels and arrangements of his musicianship.
“I’m the DJ version of Bruno Mars. Thank you, Bruno Mars for inspiring me. Thank you, Shalamar for inspiring me. EPMD inspired me on this song. There is a lot of inspiration there. The co-writer whose singing, Walt Anderson, he wrote the lyrics in the song. I’m the melody king. I have great melody. My lyrics are okay. I like to co-write with people that are better than me, in that aspect. I did that with Walt who’s singing the song, and we got a hot joint. We got this record and it’s amazing.”
The song coaxes good vibrations with ease. Its elements are mixed with Funk, Pop and R&B, which puts you in the mindset of the 70’s, where music embodied free and fierce messages, whether a tribute of requiem or an earthly celebration. It meant something from lyrics to the instrumentals… It provoked reaction.
Bell started his musical passage with seriousness about 4 years ago. He’s toured and dropped beats across the globe ranging from New York to Tokyo. He’s performed at Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival 2015-2016, Tory Sport Flatiron, in addition to opening at clubs in New York. He DJ’d for the Clinton Foundation and at Carnegie Hall.
Although music is life now, he spends time caring for his ailing mother who’s battling brain cancer. The beat master says that he’s dedicating his musical journey as well as his success to his mom. DJ Prince Hakim Bell plans to feature the buoyant single on his forthcoming EP, “Healing Love,” which is set for release sometime in November.
“My friend in Africa, he used to be in this group called The Boys. I don’t know if you remember this group, they were big. It was under Motown. Stevie Wonder did the Unsung on them. I’m on that, Unsung. He is in Africa now, I asked him to pray for my mom. He sent me an African prayer that they do. In this prayer, the words #HEAL and #LOVE was in there, and I started that as my mom’s hashtags. It’s also the name of my album, “Healing Love.” It’s based on healing people, healing women, and healing humanity. It’s for women—This song will lift them up in their R.O.Y.A.L.T.Y.”
Bell is a DJ as well as a full-time caregiver to his mom—even in interview, he had to break unexpectedly to answer a call from her doctor. On the outside looking in, his world seems chaotic, but as the sanguine personality that he is, Bell finds a remarkable balance.
“It’s really spiritual. Everything that’s happening to me and my mom, it’s my mom. Everything that’s happening right now, it’s my mom. I know it is. She’s close to God right now. She’s just blessing me. You have no idea. The blessings are just pouring out. It’s the only thing that makes me feel good inside aside from being around nature, it’s music. Nothing else lifts me up like nature and music.
‘Our heartbeat is music, right? You have tempos from 80 to 100, 20 or anything, it’s the music from your heart. I have a gift and I’m sharing it 100 and 200 percent now because I see how short life can be.”
Music is part of his bloodline. Of course, he feels inspired by it. If you think about it, Bell’s dad is one of the most prolific musicians, producers, and songwriters of our time. Quite naturally, his son would want to shadow those footsteps.
Bell says that he hasn’t listened to radio in a hot minute... “I know what’s going on out there— Trap music. They are trapping, and R&B is crossing over. A lot of artist that we love, they are not getting the love like that. For some reason, we don’t stick with our legends like the Rock 'N' Roll fans will stick with there’s. For some reason, our artist will get washed up. You got to be insane to wash up Earth, Wind & Fire. Are you kidding me?
‘You got New Edition… These guys are not washed up, they are killing it. Thank God Charlie Wilson is getting recognized,” says Bell. “Then, here comes Bruno Mars doing exactly what they’re doing, but with his gift and his energy, he’s the biggest artist in the world.
There is no Bruno without Morris Day & The TIME. There is no Bruno without Charlie Wilson. There is no Bruno without Kool & The Gang."
The DJ also pointed out that Kool & The Gang had different eras to their music, but if he had to pinpoint a favorite hit from his dad’s catalog. It would be Summer Madness. Thus, Bell reminded us respectfully, that the single was sampled by Will Smith for his 90’s anthem, Summertime...“It’s the best song ever created. It’s the best single ever created,” Bell exclaimed while singing the tune that was oh, so, fun and familiar.
Bell knows his stuff. He wasn’t one of those kids that opted out of the family business by being something totally opposite of his upbringing. He's knee deep in it, while taking destiny at the helms to pursue his own musical voyage.
“It’s insane. It can be tough because people feel as though I’m set for life. I’m good. I have a lot of associate and friends in the industry, who don’t want to help. They’re right. I didn’t need help, except for the people who were part of the project. Clearly, I’m not talking about them. I’m doing it. Everything that I started from day-one, [that] is who I am today.
‘If he could work with any artist whether they’ve transitioned or they’re still here, he’d like to create with James Brown, Michael Jackson and Stevie Wonder.
“I say James Brown, because this man is so funky. He’s the man. He was so powerful. His energy was crazy. I wouldn’t be able to keep up with him, but I’d be playing the tambourine or something. It would’ve been a beautiful experience—and Michael, to be able to moon walk with him and feel that energy on stage. Gosh! Stevie, it’s just his voice, and he’s blind, playing the piano like that. He’s writing and singing the best songs in the world. In my opinion, the best songs I’ve ever heard in the world. Stevie Wonder is writing and singing his face off. Every time he breathes a note it’s passion, and to feel that onstage… Ugh!”
As for Bells musical opus… “I’m just going to keep giving you more. I have a lot to share.”
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