Hip-hop CD to benefit Negro Leagues museum

Thursday, August 28, 2008

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- A museum dedicated to a baseball league that few thought would last is getting a boost from a musical genre that was expected to have a similarly short existence.

Some of the top names in hip-hop -- Kanye West, Akon and T-Pain among them -- are performing on a compilation CD being released in October to benefit the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum in Kansas City.

"There are some very stark parallels between hip-hop and the Negro Leagues," said Bob Kendrick, spokesman for the Kansas City museum. "Neither one was expected to survive. But here we are, how many years later, and it's one of the most influential types of music out there.

"Nobody gave the Negro Leagues a chance, but it lasted 40 years."

The CD, titled "True to the Game," is scheduled to be released Oct. 21. It's the first of three that will be made to benefit the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum, each of them in the urban music genre.

Stadium Entertainment, the company releasing the CDs, was formed two years ago with the idea of producing music and giving a portion of the proceeds to charitable causes.

Camille Barbone, a founding member of Stadium Entertainment, said the company's first project not only will provide a big monetary boost for the museum, but also will give the artists on the CD a chance to "give something back."

"It's important in that the individuals we're asking to work on the projects, they need to see that there's a reason for it that goes beyond ego, goes beyond making money, goes beyond spending for marketing. Everything needs to be multifaceted now," Barbone said.

As for the artists, the CD is an opportunity for them to be recognized for doing something to help others, not the negative things people often hear about the industry, Barbone said.

And she notes that there are no explicit lyrics on "True to the Game." "It's 100 percent bona fide G-rated," Barbone said.

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