“The truth is, I’m a hip hop aficionado—I'm obsessed with hip-hop music. I wanted to try and find as many clever ways to incorporate that into this book series. With this, I have the ability to pay homage to the great rappers from my childhood and the ones I listen to now. I think it is (Hip-Hop) such an overlooked art form when it relates to creativity and storytelling. Once you’re able to bring your passion into something, it makes it fun. "
Along with the rhymes and natural play on words from the first book, you’ll find references to songs from old-school hip-hop as well, Derek's preferred taste. Bars from Biggie Smalls, Def Jam, Q-Tip, and Dr. Dre are all hidden within the book’s scenes, giving those who are familiar with the lingo, myself included, some good old-fashioned goosebumps.
Ryan, the person who plays the critical role in the business promotion and overall vision of the series, is bringing to life the possibility of venturing beyond just books.
“We’re not just doing books. We're creating a whole universe. Hip-Hop, our bunny character, has recently been made into a stuffed animal. We must’ve gone through 20 factories to make him look exactly the way he looks in the books. We want to do other items that complement the brand like pajamas, night lights, and sticker sheets too" Ryan elaborated.
Speaking of Hip-Hop, Derek had a heart-warming confession to make in regards to how a particular character from the book was inspired.