Blackground Records

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Blackground Records
Blackground Records.png
Parent company Reservoir Media Management
Founded 1993 (1993)
Founder Barry Hankerson
Jomo Hankerson
Status Defunct
Genre Various
Country of origin U.S.

Blackground Records, LLC was an independent American record label owned by former manager Barry Hankerson and his son Jomo Hankerson.

The most successful acts on the label were Aaliyah, Timbaland, and JoJo.

In the summer of 2012, Blackground was acquired by independent music publisher Reservoir Media Management.[1]

History[edit]

In 1993, manager Barry Hankerson used his connection with his artist R. Kelly's Jive Records to distribute a newly formed label for the release of his niece Aaliyah's debut album Age Ain't Nothing but a Number. Blackground was officially incorporated in 1995 in Delaware while operating out of New York and Los Angeles.[2] In 1996, Blackground obtained a lucrative distribution deal with Atlantic Records, just before the release of Aaliyah's second album, One in a Million.

Often moving to different distributors, in 2000, Blackground switched over to Virgin Records. One year later, it moved, this time finding a home at Universal Motown Records Group. In 2001, after the death of Aaliyah her self-titled and final album Aaliyah rose to number one on the Billboard 200 becoming Blackground's first number one and best-selling album. Aaliyah sold over 32 million albums worldwide.

In 2003, JoJo was signed to Blackground. JoJo released her first self-titled album JoJo in 2004, went number four on the Billboard 200 and was certified with Platinum. In 2006, she released her second album The High Road, which debuted at number three on the Billboard 200 and was certified with Gold. To date, JoJo sold over 7 million records worldwide. Her singles "Leave (Get Out)" produced by Soulshock & Karlin and "Too Little Too Late" produced by Billy Steinberg were her huge hits worldwide.

In 2006 Blackground signed Hollywood Pop Academy School of Pop students Kasey Butler, Brianna Cara, Cristina Ballestero and Jamie Spradley, the later 3 as part of a girl group that changed its name multiple times, from Willow to LAX, to LAX Gurlz to Kali Girls. Their only release was the single "Forget You" as LAX/LAX Gurlz which premiered on MTV's TRL but never made any charts. In 2008 the group broke up when Brianna and Cristina went on strike, refusing to go on tour because they were not being paid enough by the label.

In 2010, Blackground partnered with former Universal Motown Senior Vice President of Promotion Gary Marella to distribute his new label Roma Records. Their first signing was Jordy Towers, formerly known as Optimus and discovered by Charlie Clouser of Nine Inch Nails. He is now in the band SomeKindaWonderful. Later this year, Blackground signed a new artist Crystal Nicole better known as Cri$tyle, who began her career as a songwriter and has written songs for Mariah Carey, Rihanna, Keke Palmer and many more. In June 2011, Crystal released her first single "Pinch Me", which was produced by Jermaine Dupri and Bryan Michael Cox.

Other artists who were signed to the label but did not release anything included The Voice Season 4 contestant Jeff Lewis, Natalie La Rose as part of the group Amsterdam, and Howard Weitzman's daughter Brianna Tatiana Chahine.

The latest album release was Timbaland's Shock Value II in 2009, with single: "Morning After Dark", "Say Something", "Carry Out" and "If We Ever Meet Again".

Former Blackground artists JoJo, Toni Braxton and Tank have all released albums on Atlantic Records after leaving the label.

Artists[edit]

Discography[edit]

Year Title Artist US Sales
Billboard 200
(Peak)
1994 Age Ain't Nothing but a Number Aaliyah 3 million[4] 18
1996 One in a Million Aaliyah 3 million 18
1997 Welcome to Our World Timbaland & Magoo 1 million[5] 33
1998 Tim's Bio: Life from da Bassment Timbaland - 50
2000 Outsiderz 4 Life Outsiderz 4 Life - -
Romeo Must Die Various Artists 1.5 million 3
2001 Aaliyah Aaliyah 3 million[6] 1
Force of Nature Tank 500,000[5][7] 7
Indecent Proposal Timbaland & Magoo - 29
2002 I Care 4 U Aaliyah 1.7 million[8] 3
One Man Tank - 20
2003 Under Construction, Part II Timbaland & Magoo - 50
2004 JoJo JoJo 1.5 million[5] 4
2005 Libra Toni Braxton 500,000[5] 4
2006 Soundtrack to Your Life Ashley Parker Angel - 5
The High Road JoJo 538,000[5] 3
2007 Timbaland Presents Shock Value Timbaland 1 million[5] 5
Sex, Love & Pain Tank - 2
2009 Timbaland Presents Shock Value II Timbaland 500,000[9] 36

References[edit]