Swizz Beatz Delivers a Global Sound for EPIX Original Series “Godfather of Harlem”
Set in 1960s New York, Godfather of Harlem is inspired by the story of Harlem crime boss Ellsworth "Bumpy" Johnson (played by Forest Whitaker). After spending 11 years in Alcatraz, Johnson returns to his old Harlem stomping grounds where he once ruled, only now it's governed by the Italian mob. The series follows Johnson's hard-fought journey to reclaim Harlem amid the backdrop of the civil rights movement.
Swizz, a native of Bronx, N.Y., wanted to deliver a global sound that fit sonically with the show's historical period yet feel contemporary. While working on the series, the 41-year-old executive music producer felt a connection with Johnson's story and the overall political theme of the show.
The series' opening track is a song titled "Just in Case" featuring DMX, Rick Ross and Swizz himself. It's a bombastic anthem with military-style drumming, call-and-response ad-libs from Swizz, and DMX and Rozay's gritty rhymes.
The second single is the spiritual song "Hallelujah" featuring A$AP Ferg, Wale and Buddy. Over a haunting piano melody and handclaps, Ferg narrates the show's main character Bumpy Johnson's determination to win in Harlem while Wale digs deep into the mind of the infamous crime boss.
Godfather of Harlem premieres on EPIX on Sept. 29 at 10 p.m. ET. EPIX – Get the channel or get the app here.
Listen to songs "Just in Case" and "Hallelujah" below. You can watch the trailer to EPIX's Godfather of Harlem as well.
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