1500 Or Nothin’ continues to prove over and over again why they are elites in the rap game. The multi-Grammy award-winning musician ensemble was co-founded by Larrance “Rance” Dopson, best known for touring, recording, and producing records for everyone from Nipsey Hussle and Snoop Dogg to Jay Z and Kanye West.
With their roots grounded in Los Angeles, their contributions to the Inglewood community deemed them their own 1500 Day by the City of Los Angeles, honoring them for both their talents and commitment to giving back to the people. Partnering with entrepreneur-philanthropist Twila True, 1500 Or Nothin’ opened their own 1500 Sound Academy in the heart of the city, a 21K square foot facility that resides right across the street from Snoop Dogg’s Inglewood studio. Rance, along with singer, songwriter, and producer James Fauntleroy developed the Academy as a creative hub for artists who want to learn about songwriting, engineering, along with the business side of the industry.
Their long list of credits includes Nipsey Hussle, Jay-Z, Diddy, Kendrick Lamar, Justin Timberlake, Snoop Dogg, Migos, and many more.
AllHipHop caught up with Rance and James Fauntleroy at the Sound Academy, moments before they shut down the stage with a live concert.
AllHipHop: How does it feel to be here and celebrate 1500 Day?
James: God is good!
Rance: It’s a blessing to be able to even be outside. We deserve this, this community, and bringing people together and celebrating life. Because we’ve been through a lot. Us, we’ve all been through a lot. It’s just a blessing to celebrate.
James: 1500 Day is a city holiday. The City of Los Angeles gave it to us for our community work. When I think about 1500 Day, I think about how hard our journey was. How many people we could help and change in exchange is a worthy sacrifice, so I’m super excited. I’m happy to be able to give back and keep on giving.
AllHipHop: What’s special about this year?
Rance: This year is the first year we actually opened up our stage, we’re breaking it in.
James: This is our first performance.
Rance: First performance, we got a lot of special guests. The mayor’s talking, a lot of our people are here. Shout out to all our partnerships that supported from Rolland to Fender to Youtube, everyone. We’re super excited.
AllHipHop: You guys have a documentary out with Fender correct?
James: We have a bunch of things with Fender. Fender and Rolland, we love those guys. They’re our first two partners. We do scholarships, we do day in the life with students. Product launches and contests, we do a lot of stuff with them. They really helped us make this a better experience, and make it free for the people who we made this for, which are the people in the community and the people that can’t afford it.
AllHipHop: Why is it important for you to give back? Especially 1500 Sound Academy in Inglewood.
Rance: It starts with the core. We get to help the people who we need the most help right now, the hood. We wanted to start there. Also, it’s such a blessing, we’re announcing our partnership with Fubon and TPG today – and we’re expanding to Asia. We have about 10 schools we’re building right now. We’re super excited about that.
AllHipHop: Wow, how do you have time to do all that and do the music…?
Rance: I just hang out with James to get smarter. [laughs]
James: I feel like I could do more, to be totally honest. I’m only getting started. The first thing we’re trying to do here with the academy is expose people to the value of education. In school, they give us all the same books that none of us read: The Giver, The Catcher in the Rye, etc. all these books. I’m sure they’re fantastic, but at the end of the day, there’s so much more. In life you learn as an adult and as a working professional. So that’s what this is about, I want to make sure we can bring that to where we came from. You know, I’m from here, so it’s serious.
AllHipHop: What was the highlight from Jay-Z’s 4:44 Tour?
Rance: The highlight was his birthday. We bought him this Patek Philippe watch, that’s one of our best shows.
James: It’s probably the cheapest watch he has, but he wore it.
Rance: And he thanked us on stage. It was a crazy time.
AllHipHop: What was it like hearing “What It Feels Like” back when it was finished?
Rance: That song is 8-9 years of us working on the song, so it meant a lot to us. That was one of Nipsey’s favorite songs. That’s literally the song he wanted Jay-Z on, and he just didn’t want to ask him. He doesn’t like asking people for features. It’s a blessing man, to be able to do that. Rest in peace Nip the great.
James: Man, it’s super emotional. It was a masterpiece, they did what they were supposed to do. Honestly, he did so much for us when he was here and he still is. It’s incredible, even from behind the grave he’s helping us immensely. Our business, connections, people he’s introduced us to. It’s just another testament to the energy of this, same thing with the Crenshaw store – he built something beautiful in the middle of what the world considers not valuable, or not important or special. Letting everyone know it is valuable, and they deserve to be around and have the best designs, the best clothes, the best access, whatever. He’s not only an inspiration to us and this, but to everyone with everything he was doing. It’s something we’re trying to keep going in his place.
AllHipHop: What song are you most proud of last year?
Rance: “What It Feels Like,” that was a song that was very special to me. For sure.
James: I’m with that too, I’m singing on there.
AllHipHop: Any artists you’re excited about as of recent?
James: James Fauntleroy is the coldest n#### out. [laughs] That’s what I’m hyped about.
Rance: Yeah me too. [laughs] To be totally honest.
AllHipHop: Anything else you want to let the people now?
James: Read a book baby. Harry Potter, I don’t care what it is. Read n#####!
Rance: Knowledge is power.
James: I got something for you, 1500soundacademy.com, you can go and sign up for our on-campus program, our online program, and our on-demand program. Knowledge is power, learn as much as you can. Get on the internet and research. That’s all you guys need to know. We’ll see you in the right place. If you work hard, we will see your ass somewhere.