Ruthless Records co-founder Jerry Heller is set to return to the music industry with the formation of his new record label, Streetlife/Klock Work Records.
The former NWA manager signed an agreement Tuesday (Jan. 16) with veteran producer Johnny "J" and Pablito Vasquez, who will act as a liason between the label's artistic and business endeavors, in addition to dealing with contracts for Heller and managing Streetlife Records.
"This is the label where corporate meets street," Heller told AllHipHop.com in a statement. "Our goal is to bring back economic integrity to the music business. The record industry was supposed to be a win-win situation between the artists and the labels. The way the business is structured now, however, many artists on major labels have to sell close to a million and a half units to recoup and break even. That is not what our label will be about. The music industry is supposed to be about everyone involved making money."
Heller's impact on West Coast Hip-Hop was cited by Johnny "J" as the reason behind his involvement.
"Every day I am heard on the radio throughout the country, and that has been consistent throughout the years," said Johnny J, who owns the production company Klock Work Entertainment and is best known for his groundbreaking work with Tupac Shakur.
"I decided to partner with Jerry Heller, who is a major figure, responsible for the success of West Coast rap music," Johnny J continued. "The fire would not have been set off without Jerry providing the business acumen."
While observers may assume that Streetlife/Klock Work will specialize in rap, Vasquez points out that the label "will not be tied down to or limited to certain musical styles or genres.
"This is going to be way past the hoods," Vasquez added. "It is going to be about the streets, but we will release music and artists that will transcend both cultures and transcend neighborhoods," he explained. "We are going to be about where we came from, but we are not just limited to a hood mentality. Our minds and our music go way beyond that."
Streetlife/Klock Work is the latest venture for Heller, who recently released the book Ruthless: A Memoir.
The new company, though different, does share similarities to Ruthless, which Heller founded with Eric "Eazy E" Wright.
"Part of the Ruthless model was having great production, a strong business vision, and a deep connection with the streets," said Heller."The new label will focus on working with one album at a time, with more upcoming artists waiting in the wings. Most independent labels over-extend themselves, leading to failure."
Haven't heard production from Johnny J in a minute.