Categories
Latest News

Russell Simmons Speaks On RushCard Lawsuit & Commitment To Underserved

russel

Russell Simmons has spent the past few months rebuilding his company UniRush, LLC following a catastrophic service outage that affected over 130,000 RushCard holders that gave way to a period the business mogul referred to as “one of the most devastating times in his adult life.”

Rather than give into the stress Simmons has been committed to making amends. He literally put his money where his mouth is offering five months of free service to RushCard holders, cutting into a reasonable chunk of profits. Simmons went even further putting aside $25 million to cover a settlement with affected customers which came out to $20.5 million. UniRush will pay $100 – $500 per claim along with $1.5 million in legal fees. You combine this along with their transparency with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s investigation into the outage, and its clear UniRush’s dedicated to doing right by its customers.

In spite of UniRush’s growth and continued resolve to be held accountable the industry refuses to view the financial company as a serious player, something Simmons touched on while speaking with HipHopDX.

“We invented this industry. They should stop calling me a celebrity company. I didn’t brand the company. I invented the entire form of banking. All of what American Express is doing, all of what Green Dot is doing, all of what Netspend is doing, all of what Chase Manhattan is doing—we did first. We invented an industry for underserved community members. We’re not a credit card. We’re a virtual bank. For people saying [negative things] about our service, as part of the competitive service with all the people who joined our industry, the Consumer’s Union—which you know is not something you can pay for—[ranked RushCard] one of their top five companies.”

Simmons’ passion for providing services to underserved communities cannot be denied. He also shared his plans to create a credit agency to help individuals unable to build credit through traditional means, establish a solid credit history.

“One thing I’ve been fighting for and have been at the forefront of is credit—building credit for past due services. You pay rent every month for eight years on a RushCard, why can’t you get a mortgage? I think that’s a travesty. I think a lot of the big companies like Mastercard, the Visas, the others that do the processing and infrastructure work—a lot of us could come together and force them to accept this information on credit reports—the FICOs of the world. Or we should build one. Now I’m committed to building [a credit agency] if I can’t get a change in the next couple of months. I have to build a credit reporting agency that people who have consistent and strong ties to, whoever their partners are, build credit as a result of it. Whether it’s rent or paying a past due phone bill or just consistently being on-time and paying it, it should build credit. This industry has been overlooked by anybody because it’s not a big pay.”

UniRush’s growth is due in part to Simmons not shying away from innovation.

“I try to do the best I can with my company. I also realize there’s lots of innovations that no one is doing that I have to either do or do with my new partner. I have to make my new partners step up their innovations or I have to do it myself because the industry itself doesn’t care so much. It’s a sidebar for Chase Manhattan, American Express, to everyone except Green Dot and Netspend, who are our real competitors and real inspirations in some cases.”

 

This innovation has allowed UniRush to establish relationships with an unintentional demographic, millennials and they’ve seen significant growth within that group.

“This card should be for affluent people as well as underserved community members and it should be the wave of the future for millennials. This is the bank for millennials, for the future. I haven’t started doing the branding, but the growth rate for our company is 70% millennials, when it used to be single mothers. Our main target was single mothers because they were the ones that ran the family and managed the funds. Millennials who don’t like banks are coming in our direction and we haven’t even begun the branding exercise to speak to them. All of our new customers are millennials—60 to 70%.”

While most companies facing similar circumstances would never be able to recover UniRush is well on its way due in part to company’s willingness to own up to the mishap and making amends with its customers. Simmons continued involvement  in the company and his dedication to making financial services accessible in underserved communities and beyond is commendable.

You can read more about Simmons plans to bring various philanthropic programs to benefit these communities, what’s he’s learned throughout this process, as well as what sets UniRush apart in his full interview with HipHopDx.

Categories
Entertainment Music

Watch: HipHopDX & The Rapfest Present: Series 7 | Vinny Cha$e, Manolo Rose & D. DiYari (Produced by Hazel)

unnamed-3

The Rapfest is proud to announce the 7th installment their cipher series and 3rd in collaboration with HipHopDX. Their formula of meshing Hip-Hop’s established acts alongside talented newcomers and producers has been paying dividends.

rapfest

For this edition, The Rapfest recruited three of New York’s finest: Vinny Cha$e (Harlem, NY), Manolo Rose (Brooklyn, NY), and Newburgh, NY based newcomer D. Di’Yari as the UpNext artist. Per usual, the visuals are captured by the eyes of talented director Chris Zino of Exhibition Z.

“Rapfest is contributing massively to the music community because they are providing an accessible outlet,” says the series producer Hazel who hails from Vancouver and has worked with the likes of Akon and Sophia Grace.

Hazel’s beat perfectly infused the New York grittiness from the early 90’s while remaining ahead of the curve in 2015. This cipher takes you back to the core of Hip-Hop and proudly displays some of the best recent talent the state of New York has to offer.

Peep the cipher below:

About The Rapfest
The RapFest is a membership based digital platform that is designed to bridge the gap between new artists, producers, and today’s top-tier Hip-Hop talent by incorporating ciphers, networking tools, and marketing campaigns. On The RapFest, each cipher makes up an episode using some of the industries biggest names and underground legends in Hip-Hop. One beat, three artists, each giving it their all. Every artist’s cipher is shot individually, in HD, and packaged together, giving those yet to be discovered an opportunity to be paired alongside some of the best doing it. Although each will be rapping on the same beat, no two ciphers will be alike.

Categories
Entertainment Music

WATCH: HipHopDX & The Rapfest Present: Series 6 | Bizzy Crook, Mickey Factz & Maffew Ragazino (Prod. by Lavish)

bizzy-crook-rapfest

The Rapfest returns locked and loaded for the 6th installment of their exclusive cipher series, in collaboration with HipHopDX.

mickey-factz-rapfest

In today’s rap series, Mickey Factz, hailing from the birthplace of Hip Hop, rips the beat to shreds and hands it off to Rapfest’s Up Next artist Maffew Ragazino, who is just a borough away.

Maffew-Ragazino-rapfest

As soon as Ragazino is finished proving he can run with the big dogs, he leaves it up Magic City’s wizard, Bizzy Crook, who obviously isn’t tired from his tour with Wale because he murders the beat like none other.

lavish-rapfest

This cipher is a masterpiece all orchestrated by the productions of Philadelphia beatsmith Lavish. The drums provided a distinct baseline that knocks residually throughout the beat and the sample smoothly rounds it off to give the track an old school touch.

Lavish admits that his keen attention to detail makes the production process lengthy, however perfection takes time. Lavish deemed the beat perfect for the East Coast, and the Bizzy, Mickey, Maffew line up proves him right.

Took a look below:

Thoughts?

About Rapfest Cipher Series

The series in its entirety embodies an immaculate Hip-Hop platform, placing emphasis on every aspect of the genre’s musical genius. Simultaneously, that platform blends a talented array of lyricists and producers ranging from the seasoned vets to the gifted new arrivals. Since The Rapfest and HipHopDX joined forces, this series is numbered two out of a four-part collaborative sub-series. The Rapfest takes it from NYC to Philly to Miami all within this series cipher, captured by Chris Zino from the Exhibition Z Films.