A Kansas City hip-hop artist will compete for the chance to sign a record deal with some of the biggest music labels in the world as a contestant on “Signed,” VH1’s new reality music competition show debuting Wednesday, July 26.
Marcus Yates, 25, a cousin of Kansas City rap star Tech N9ne (Aaron Yates), is one of a number of aspiring artists who will compete under the watchful eyes of recording stars Rick Ross and The-Dream, as well as Lenny S., senior vice president of artist management for Roc Nation, Jay Z’s record label.
Yates, formerly known as “Oobergeek,” has been a fixture on the local rap scene for years. He has been featured on songs with his famous cousin, including “What’s Next” from Tech N9ne’s “Gates Mixed Plate” album, and alongside rap heavyweight Kendrick Lamar on “I Love Music” from Tech’s 2011 album “All 6’s and 7’s.” In a 2015 interview with a Star reporter, Tech N9ne spoke highly of his cousin and teased a collaboraton project, “Orbit,” that never came to fruition.
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Over the eight hourlong episodes of “Signed,” aspiring artists will go through a series of auditions, workshops and challenges, facing elimination along the way. The show will culminate in a final performance showcase, with the winner having the opportunity to sign either with Ross’ Maybach Music Group label, The-Dream’s Radio Killa Records or Roc Nation. They’ll also have mentoring sessions with the music moguls.
“Three of the biggest bosses in music coupled with the raw talent of the contestants makes for a fresh new take on a competition series,” Nina L. Diaz, executive vice president for unscripted shows at MTV, VH1 and Logo, said in a statement. “We can’t wait for fans to experience this authentic and compelling journey.”
Ross, with a slew of critically acclaimed albums, was named the “Hottest MC in the Game” in 2012 by MTV. With the help of classic rap records like “I’m a Boss,” and “B.M.F. (Blowin’ Money Fast),” the Miami rapper founded his own label, which has produced six Billboard No. 1 albums from Ross and some of his rap signees, including Wale and Meek Mill.
The-Dream is an R&B singer, songwriter and super producer known as much for the five acclaimed albums and singles he has crafted for himself as the ones he has written for others, including Beyonce (“Single Ladies”), Rihanna (“Umbrella” ), Usher, Mary J. Blige and Mariah Carey.
“Signed” will premiere at 8 p.m. July 26 on VH1.