Penalty Recordings

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Penalty Entertainment
Penalty Entertainment logo.png
Parent company Sony Music Entertainment
Founded 1995 (1995)
Founder Neil Levine
Distributor(s) Red Distribution
Genre Hip hop
Country of origin U.S.
Location New York City
Official website www.penaltyent.com

Penalty Entertainment is an American record label and entertainment company, founded and run by CEO Neil Levine. The company was founded in 1995 as Penalty Recordings, a record label specializing in hip-hop music.

The original Penalty label was acquired by its distributor, Tommy Boy Records, in 1999.[1] A second version, Penalty Associated Labels, was operated by Levine in association with Rykodisc from 2002 to 2006.[2] The third and current incarnation was established in 2014.

Artists on the Penalty labels have included Capone-N-Noreaga (as well as both Capone and Noreaga/N.O.R.E. as solo artists), Lord Finesse, Ali Shaheed Muhammed of A Tribe Called Quest, and The Beatnuts, among others.

History[edit]

Penalty Recordings, 1995–1999[edit]

After a career as an independent marketing professional,[3] Neil Levine founded Penalty Recordings, launching it in 1995 as a joint venture between himself and Tom Silverman.[1] Silverman was the founder and original owner of Tommy Boy Records, a division of Warner Bros. Records which served as Penalty's distributor. In 1996, Silverman re-purchased half of the interest in Tommy Boy, which continued as Penalty's distributor.

Specializing in hip-hop music, The initial releases on Penalty included the single "Crime Saga" by Shabazz the Disciple and both the single "Hip 2 Da Game" and the album The Awakening by Lord Finesse. Other early Penalty artists included Crooked Lettaz, Blackjack, Foesum, and the group Capone-N-Noreaga, whose first release on the label was the single "Stick You" in 1996.[4] The Capone-N-Noreaga album The War Report followed in 1997, which reached a peak of #21 on The Billboard 200 album sales chart.[5]

Between 1997 and 1999, Penalty released albums by artists such as Skull Duggery, Crooked Lettaz (David Banner and Kamikaze), Half a Mill,[6] and 187 Fac.[4] It also released the first two solo albums by Noreaga. The first, N.O.R.E., reached a peak of #3 on The Billboard 200 and featured the Top 40 hit "Superthug", one of the earliest hits produced by The Neptunes (Pharrell Williams and Chad Hugo).[7]

Levine sold the remaining 50% of Penalty to Tommy Boy in 1999,[8] staying on long enough to complete the transition before moving on to eventually become Vice-President of Urban Marketing and Artist Development at TVT Records.[9] The artists on Penalty became Tommy Boy artists following the close of the acquisition.[8]

Penalty Associated Labels, 2002–2006[edit]

In 2002, Levine reestablished Penalty as Penalty Associated Labels (PAL), in partnership with Rykostar.[2] a company for which Levine would also serve as the general manager of.[3][6] The re-established label featured J-Live, The Beatnuts, Ali Shaheed Muhammad, MC Eiht, and Zion I among its roster,[4] many of them with their own imprints on Penalty.[10] Three of its key releases during this period between 2002 and 2006 were Milk Me by the Beanuts, Shaheedullah And Stereotypes by Ali Shaheed Muhammad, and The Hear After by J-Live.

Penalty was also one of the partners involved in producing and marketing the AND1 Mixtape Tour series of DVDs, featuring gameplay and interviews of streetball players.[11] The label closed in 2006, when Levine became the head of Imperial Records for EMI Music.

Penalty Entertainment, 2014–present[edit]

On January 21, 2014, Penalty was reactivated as Penalty Entertainment, an independent label distributed by RED, in 2014.[12] Among its first signings were Penalty alumni Capone-N-Noreaga, who released a new album Lessons, in 2014. The label has also put out releases by Lil' Mo,[13] Joell Ortiz, BeatKing, Hi-Rez and EMC, which includes Masta Ace, Wordsworth and Strick.[12] Penalty released BeatKing's album 3 Weeks on October 30, 2015,[14] with upcoming releases by Statik KXNG (Statik Selektah & KXNG Crooked)[15] and Trina set for release before the end of the year.[16]

Current artists[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Penalty Venture". Billboard. 107 (44): 37. 4 November 1995. 
  2. ^ a b Miller, Louis (19 August 2002). "The Week". CMJ New Music Report. 
  3. ^ a b "NYC Independent Film Festival - Session - music-licensing". NYC Indie Film Festival. Retrieved 19 October 2015. 
  4. ^ a b c "Penalty Recordings". Discogs. Retrieved 19 November 2015. 
  5. ^ "Capone-N-Noreaga: Awards". Allmusic. Retrieved 19 November 2015. 
  6. ^ a b Mitchell, Gail (8 June 2002). "Rhythm, Rap, and The Blues". Billboard. 114 (23): 37. 
  7. ^ Aaron, Charles (December 1998). "Singles". SPIN. 12 (12). 
  8. ^ a b Mitchell, Gail (25 September 1999). "Tommy Boy Fully Acquires Penalty". Billboard. 111 (39): 6. 
  9. ^ Baraka, Rhonda (9 June 2001). "Words & Deeds". Billboard. 113 (23): 25. 
  10. ^ Hall, Rashaun (14 August 2004). "Beats & Rhymes". Billboard. 116 (33): 37. 
  11. ^ Hall, Rashaun (13 March 2004). "Beats & Rhymes". Billboard. 116 (11): 36. 
  12. ^ a b "Penalty Recordings Is Relaunching". XXL. Retrieved 11 March 2015. 
  13. ^ "Penalty Entertainment". Discogs. Retrieved 19 November 2015. 
  14. ^ Hernandez, Victoria (30 October 2015). "BeatKing "3 Weeks" Release Date, Cover Art, Tracklist, iTunes Purchase Link & Album Stream". HipHopDX. Retrieved 19 November 2015. 
  15. ^ Balfour, Jay (8 February 2015). "KXNG CROOKED & Statik Selektah Announce "Statik KXNG" Album". HipHopDX. Retrieved 19 November 2015. 
  16. ^ Kyle, Yohance (9 March 2015). "Trina Signs Imprint Deal With Penalty Entertainment, Set To Release New Album". All Hip-Hop. Retrieved 19 November 2015. 
  17. ^ "Beat King Deal BeatKing Inks Deal With Penalty Entertainment [@BEATKINGKONG @PenaltyEnt]". Date and a Dream. Retrieved 19 November 2015. 
  18. ^ "Capone-N-Noreaga Rejoins Penalty Entertainment". XXL. Retrieved 11 March 2015. 
  19. ^ "Joell Ortiz Is Releasing A New Album". XXL. Retrieved 11 March 2015.