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|Parent company||Sony Music Entertainment|
|Country of origin||United States, United Kingdom|
|Location||New York City, New York|
Relativity Records, often branded just Relativity, was an American record label founded by Barry Kobrin at the site of his company, Important Record Distributors (IRD) in metro New York. Early on, as an indie label, Relativity released music in a variety of styles, including dance, jazz, punk, and progressive rock. As it grew and became associated with Sony Music Entertainment, it became more known for its popular metal and hip-hop releases.
Although it was reportedly established in 1985, there is evidence that the brand actually began c. 1982 as an in-house IRD label.
In the 1980s, Relativity was mostly focused on rock music, including heavy metal and punk rock. Releases in this genre were split among Relativity and its sister label Combat Records, which folded back into the main Relativity label in 1990. Artists signed during this period include Alien Sex Fiend, Possessed, Agnostic Front, Joe Satriani, Death, Exodus, Megadeth, Napalm Death, Impelliteri, Corrosion of Conformity, Circle Jerks, Murphy's Law, Jet Red, Shotgun Messiah, Scatterbrain, Scott Henderson, Sick of it All, Steve Vai, Stuart Hamm, Tigertailz, Dark Angel, Lucy's Fur Coat and Forbidden.
Relativity was also a parent label of In-Effect Records, which started in 1989 and released recordings by metal and punk acts from the East Coast of the United States, including Bad Brains (for their live album Attitude (The ROIR Sessions)), 24-7 Spyz, Agnostic Front, Nuclear Assault, Sick of It All, Scatterbrain, Limbomaniacs. Around 1992, the label folded.
Hip Hop Power
In 1990, new management took over the label and it began to sign more hip-hop acts. 50% of the company was also acquired by Sony Music Entertainment.
After making the decision to tap into the urban market, the company discovered and signed Chicago rapper, Common (then known as Common Sense) and quickly released his debut album in 1992. Later on in 1992, the company struck a deal with then-fledgling member of the Diggin' In The Crates (DITC) crew, Fat Joe, as well as Chi-Ali.
Toward the mid-1990s, Relativity added Three 6 Mafia, Hussein Fatal, M.O.P., Frankie Cutlass, The Beatnuts and even rapper Mac Mall from Vallejo, California to their growing hip hop roster. From this the company also became a distributing label to Eazy-E's Ruthless Records, Bone Thugs-N-Harmony's Mo Thugs Family, Steve Rifkind's Loud Records and many rock labels. DJ Squeeky, Tom Skeemask and MacKyle were also signed.
Relativity also picked up Suave House Records and their roster including Crime Boss, South Circle, Mr. Mike, Tela, and MJG and Eightball. This deal gave Suave House Records their first certified gold album with MJG and Eightball's "On Top of the World".
IRD became Relativity Entertainment Distribution at some point. This company was renamed RED Distribution when acquired by Sony in 2007.
- Bessman, Jim (Aug 15, 1992). "Relativity goes after higher profile". Billboard: 38.
- "Relativity label discography in Discogs, sorted by year". Retrieved 2010-12-12.
- "In-Effect label discography in Discogs, sorted by year". Retrieved 2012-06-20.
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