SAN FRANCISCO-BASED SMC RECORDINGS CONTINUES ITS PUSH FOR WORLD DOMINATION WITH MAJOR UPCOMING ALBUM RELEASES FROM TWO SOUTHERN RAP ARTISTS: KILLER MIKE, CAPONE-N-NOREAGA AND PASTOR TROY
With albums from two prominent Southeastern rap artists slated to drop in the first half of 2008, San Francisco-based, full-service independent label SMC Recordings continues to diversify and grow. Formed in 2005 with a focus on Bay Area hip-hop–where it was a major player in blowing up hyphy–SMC gets a further boost May 13 with the release of Killer Mike’s I Pledge Allegiance To The Grind II. Following it up in July is the long awaited return of Capone-N-Noreaga. At the end of the summer is a third SMC release from Pastor Troy. All titles will be distributed through Fontana/Universal in the U.S. where SMC is one of the top-selling urban/hip-hop labels.
“We have the best of both worlds–the flexibility and connection to the streets of an independent label and the ability to reach the masses that major label distribution affords,” says music industry veteran, promotions guru and SMC co-founder Ralph Tashjian. “Now, the caliber of our artists is getting bigger, and we’re evolving from a regional company into a national and international one, with worldwide distribution.” Tashjian’s SMC co-principals are George Nauful, another industry sage who oversees business affairs and financial operations, and young A&R star Will Bronson, a Bay Area native and rap world insider who heads up artist relations and keeps his ear to the streets.
“I’m proud to be in partnership with SMC,” said Ron Spaulding, Executive Vice President and General Manager, Fontana Distribution. “We are collaborating to bring the best of Hip Hop to the fans. SMC is delivering great music and Fontana will explode these artists into the market place. Keep an eye on us in 2008, cause we are coming strong with SMC.”
“Kicking off 2008 with Killer Mike and I Pledge Allegiance To The Grind II is f**king perfect for SMC,” says Bronson, adding, “we like to approach projects from a fan perspective, and this is an artist with a potent connection to his audience. Mike’s delivery is in your face, you cannot ignore him. He’s an incredibly skilled rapper with the intelligence and charisma to be in politics. He’s lethal.” SMC’s partnership with Killer Mike–who first gained notoriety appearing with OutKast and had a Billboard Top 10 album debut with 2003’s Monster–also embraces an alliance with his Atlanta-based label imprint, Grind Time Official, with future plans for releases from other members of the Grind Time Rap Gang.
Killer Mike came to SMC at the urging of another Atlanta-based SMC artist, Pastor Troy, who crunked his way to fame and is revered for his raw delivery. Troy’s as-yet-untitled third album for SMC is due out in late summer ’08, following up his 2007 debut for the label, Tool Musiq, which outsold his previous two releases. It also prompted allmusic.com to write, “hardcore fans of uncompromising grind music are rarely rewarded with albums so well built.” SMC’s re-energizing of Troy’s base will accelerate with the upcoming disc–“We laid the foundation with Tool Musiq,” says Bronson, “and we’re just going to continue hitting people over the head with crazy Pastor Troy records until they submit!”
The latest addition to the SMC roster is the legendary New York duo Capone-N-Noreaga. The tentatively titled, Report the War, is their long awaited follow-up to the gold selling The Reunion. “CNN made their biggest impact on an indie and during a time when New York hip hop was at it’s quietest. All the pieces are in place and the album speaks for itself- we getting that f**king excitement back!” explains Bronson. The album is set to drop this July.
With a wealth of talent, street cred to spare and a streamlined, efficient business model that turned a profit in the company’s second year, SMC Recordings is poised for even greater success with new titles from Killer Mike, Capone-N-Noreaga and Pastor Troy. Last year, Billboard included SMC in its list of “Indies On The Verge – Little Labels, Poised For the Big Time.” This year, SMC will more than prove them right.