The Hip Hop Project is a documentary film produced by Bruce Willis and Queen Latifah, and features hip hop mogul Russell Simmons. The cast is Bahamian Chris "Kazi" Rolle, Diana "Princess" Lemon, Christopher "Cannon" Mapp, Russell Simmons, Bruce Willis, Sway, and Doug E. Fresh.
Chris “Kazi” Rolle was born in Nassau, Bahamas. He grew up in foster care and orphanages before coming to New York at the age of fourteen to reconnect with his biological mother. A turbulent reunion led to his living homeless on the streets of Brooklyn where he began hustling at night to survive though he did continue to stay in school.
In 1996, after graduating from PSRC Performing Arts High School, Kazi began writing, directing and acting with an urban theatre company called Tomorrow’s Future, fusing hip-hop and drama to relate tales of everyday experiences in the inner city. Three years later, he created Art Start’s Hip-Hop Project, an outreach program which connects troubled teens to music industry professionals with the goal of producing their own rap album reflecting real-life issues.
He’s also the architect of Momentum, a hip-hop music label that puts the emphasis on the education and empowerment of its artists. Plus, he’s a co-founder of A.P.E.X., a non-profit organization that hosts monthly college preparation workshops and offers a tour of Historically Black Colleges and Universities.
Kazi has been featured by Oprah Winfrey on a show with the theme “People Who Are Using Their Lives,” as he now travels around the country as both a motivational speaker and a performer. Presently, he’s working on his highly anticipated debut album, “Many Faces.”
Here, he talks about The Hip Hop Project, an uplifting bio-pic which chronicles his overcoming the odds of an orphan surviving on the streets and his then going on to serve as a mentor to other unfortunate kids who find themselves in equally-challenging predicaments.