Brooklyn-raised Jimmy Rosemond convened with others to start a conference in Miami Beach in 1992 called “How Can I Be Down?” They felt the business did not represent the culture, and Miami was the right place to showcase record label artists with the kind of audience that not only wanted to have fun, but to hear new artists, mingle with current artists and rub shoulders with record executives.
“Because of the boutique hotels the record executives couldn’t hide from the common man/woman seeking them out. It was funny because Russell Simmons would be poolside in swimming trunks talking to people who had demos in their hand,” Rosemond said about the conference.
Shortly after that Rosemond signed the duo group Groove Theory to Epic Sony that released the single “Tell Me” that peaked at number five on the pop charts in 1994.
Simultaneously, Rosemond’s production company Henchmen Production/Entertainment produced the Salt N Pepa smash hit “Shoop.” Later in the 1990s, Henchmen Entertainment would produce many records for rap stars such as Nice & Smooth and Grand Puba.
By 2000 Rosemond was a force to be reckoned with in the music business. He was summoned by Russell Simmons to help bring artists to a rally at New York’s City Hall to rescind the atrocious Rockefeller drug laws that gave drug dealers life imprisonment. He, along with rappers Wyclef Jean and Jay-Z attended, and much of the laws were later rescinded.
Rosemond would work and consult with Blackground Records and executive produce the movies “Romeo Must Die” and “Exit Wounds” under that umbrella. He got to work closely with Aaliyah and Timbaland.
“If I was baking a cake from all the success I had prior to working with Blackground Records, then being under the tutelage of Barry Hankerson was the icing on that cake,” Rosemond said.
Rosemond’s spare time was spent with his family. When he wasn’t traveling, he would occasionally go to the Rikers Island jail complex in New York to talk to adolescents at C-76 juvenile wing. He would eventually go to Haiti to assist in charity work with his friend Wyclef Jean.
It was an easy transition for him to assist Michel Martelly win his election in 2011 when he brought rappers Busta Rhymes and Spliff Star to the island to assist him in that effort. After the 2010 earthquake that devastated Haiti, Rosemond and his friends Shakim Compere and Mona Scott executive produced a telethon at the American Airlines Arena in Miami to raise $3 million in aid for those who became homeless during the tragedy.
By 2003 Rosemond was one of the most sought after managers in the business. He was recruited by many record companies to consult on difficult projects especially those that needed revalidation and resurrection. Mike Tyson was in that position at that time and Rosemond successfully negotiated the fight between Tyson and Lennox Lewis. Finding a knack for boxing, he went on later to manage the WBA Champion Andre Berto.
Rosemond was now able to choose who he wanted to manage. He was approached by rapper The Game for management, and he made him a part of the pop culture in his height of his career.
“When it was time for Game’s second album Dr. Dre was afraid of the southmore jinks, and I came to him with ‘One Blood’ – it was a hardcore record for the streets but top 40 started playing it eventhough no one thought it could happen,” said Rosemond.
Some of the artists he managed included Brandy, Mario Winans, Gucci Mane, Akon. For many other he consulted and brokered deals for them. “Name them and he probably made them money and in return they loved him for just always doing the right thing for the artists he worked with and for,” said James Rosemond Jr.
Jimmy Rosemond would also produce a documentary named “Infamous Times: The Original 50 Cent,” based on rapper 50 Cent namesake Kelvin Martin who grew up in Fort Greene projects in Brooklyn.
“This project was personal to me because it was a person I knew from my younger days and to see that the rapper had taken his name I drew the parallel between them,” Rosemond said regarding the documentary.
The next film project was “Belly 2: Millionaire Boyz Club,” featuring Game and Michael K. Williams. Rosemond co-produced the film with basketball player Baron Davis.
Rosemond’s third film project was “The Cookout 2.” “I think when you are in the music business making movies is a natural transition,” Rosemond said.
In 2009, Rosemond and a group of entertainers were invited to the White House to meet newly elected President Barack Obama before his first inauguration. It was the president’s way of saying thank you for all of the efforts those with influence in the communities who assisted him with winning the election. “It was a private meeting with actors and musicians, maybe 50 of us,” Rosemond said. “Of course I was excited, not only because he was the first black president, but because I had made it to the White House for doing something that really made a difference. One of the only times I was a groupie and asked to take a picture with anyone other than my immediate peer,” Rosemond said of the experience.