GLENN E. MARTIN is the founder and president of JustLeadershipUSA, an organization that aims to cut the U.S. correctional population in half by 2030 by elevating and amplifying the voice of people most impacted by crime and incarceration, and positioning them as informed, empowered reform partners. Mr. Martin is co-founder of the Education Inside Out Coalition (EIO Coalition) and the David Rothenberg Center for Public Policy. He is a 2011–2012 America’s Leaders of Change National Urban Fellow and a member of the Boards of The College and Community Fellowship and Prisoners Legal Services. He currently serves on a number of boards, and has often served as a re-entry and criminal justice policy reform expert on MSNBC, Fox News, CNN, and local media outlets.
Rhymes: Notorious B.I.G. “Gimme The Loot,” Nas ft. Lauryn Hill “If I Ruled the Word (Imagine That),” and Jadakiss ft. Anthony Hamilton “Why?”
Hailed as a “music guru” by Rolling Stone and cited among the “world’s Top DJ’s” by The New York Times, J.PERIOD is a master of his craft: a musical storyteller whose work bridges cultures, generations and styles.
J.PERIOD’S resume boasts collaborations with Grammy winners Common, John Legend, Joss Stone & Mary J. Blige. He has been called, “The most creative mixtape producer of all-time” by music icon Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson of The Roots.
For years, J.PERIOD’s “musical documentary” projects have redefined the hip hop landscape, merging music with narrative to tell stories in a powerful and unprecedented way. His work with hip hop and R&B titans including Nas, Kanye West, Lauryn Hill, and Q-Tip has received countless awards and earned millions of listeners. This legacy of groundbreaking work was recently celebrated in the exclusive J.PERIOD X 10 Collection.
In the past year, J.PERIOD has produced the original score for the EMMY® award-winning The Doctor, the original theme song for the relaunch of NBA TV’s flagship Inside Stuff, plus critically-acclaimed remix tributes to James Brown, 2Pac and The Notorious B.I.G.. For his efforts, J.PERIOD was nominated for DJ/Remixer of The Year at the Global Spin Awards and featured on Okayplayer’s annual Best List.
As Music Supervisor for the Brooklyn Nets’ at Barclays Center, J.PERIOD’s custom-curated soundtrack won rave reviews and was praised as the new standard for music in the NBA arena (ESPN). J.PERIOD is also credited with producing the Brooklyn Nets’ opening theme song in both of its first two seasons at Barclays Center.
Outside the studio, J.PERIOD is equally adept onstage, whether providing the soundtrack for Norman Lear or performing as Tour DJ for artists including Black Thought, The Roots, Lauryn Hill, Q-Tip & Kanye West at venues ranging from Summer Jam 2014 to Johannesburg’s Coca-Cola Dome.
Rhymes: Grandmaster Flash & The Furious Five “The Message,” Grandmaster Melle Mel & The Furious Five, “Beat Street Breakdown,” Nas “N.Y. State of Mind,” A Tribe Called Quest “Midnight Marauders,” De La Soul “De La Soul is Dead” and Ice Cube “Death Certificate”
Nitzia Scott, better known by her stage name Nitty Scott, MC, is an emcee via Brooklyn, New York. Her breakthrough came in 2010, when the video for her freestyle over Kanye West’s “Monster” went viral. She has performed at the BET Hip Hop Awards and has been featured in Billboard Magazine and The New York Times. Scott released her debut street album The Cassette Chronicles in 2011, followed by her critically acclaimed EP The Boombox Diaries, Vol. 1 in 2012 and her latest offering The Art Of Chill. She headlined her own national tour in 2014. Always known to bring both substance and lyricism, Nitty’s message is about spreading peace, empowering women and progressing culture.
Rhymes: Sam Cooke, “Summertime,” Blue Oyster Cult, “Don’t Fear the Reaper” TLC ft. Andre3000, “Sumthin Wicked This Way Comes,” and India.Arie, “Back to the Middle”
Critically acclaimed lyricist, producer, writer, director, cinematographer and all around consummate entertainer- Jean Grae has been challenging the boundaries of artistry since her debut in 1996. Whether creating music with imaginative narratives that immerse the listener in a dark world of Grae’s design, or spilling her most personal stories of love and life experiences, she always delivers an honest performance that strikes the most vulnerable parts of her audience and keeps them wondering, “what will she do next?”
Well into an almost 20 year long career that maintains not only relevancy, but continues to push the envelope of perception, marketing and branding. Grae has worked alongside Mos Def, Talib Kweli, The Roots, Pharoahe Monch, and a list that this very small bio cannot contain. Sorry, bio.
Rhymes: Aimee Mann “Save Me,” Duke Ellington & John Coltrane “In a Sentimental Mood,” and James Blake “Retrograde”
Nikole Hannah-Jones joined ProPublica in late 2011 and covers civil rights with a focus on segregation and discrimination in housing and schools. Her 2012 coverage of federal failures to enforce the landmark 1968 Fair Housing Act won several awards, including Columbia University’s Tobenkin Award for distinguished coverage of racial or religious discrimination.
Prior to coming to ProPublica, Hannah-Jones worked at The Oregonian and The News & Observer in Raleigh, N.C. She has won the Society of Professional Journalists Pacific Northwest Excellence in Journalism Award three times and the Gannett Foundation Award for Innovation in Watchdog Journalism. She has also gone on reporting fellowships to Cuba and Barbados where she wrote about race and education.
Rhymes: X Clan “Heed the Word of the Brother,” 2Pac “Keep Ya Head Up,” and Method Man ft. Mary J. Blige “All I Need”
José Olivarez is a poet from Calumet City, Illinois. He is a graduate of Harvard University and a founding member of the Teaching Artist Corps at Young Chicago Authors. He has performed and taught at high schools, universities, and book festivals across the country, and his work has been published or is forthcoming in The Acentos Review, Specter Magazine, Side B Magazine, Union Station Magazine, and Luna Luna among other places. His work has also been featured on Yahoo’s Ball Don’t Lie basketball blog, Chicago Public Radio, and on Mass Poetry’s PoeTry on the T program. His first book, Home Court, is now available.
Rhymes: Commonsense “Thisisme,” Kanye West “School Spirit,” and A Tribe Called Quest “Buggin’ Out”