Reservoir Announces Deal for the Catalog of Legendary Hip-Hop Producer Larry Smith

Feb 24, 2022

NEW YORK, Feb. 24, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Reservoir Media, Inc. (NASDAQ: RSVR) (“Reservoir” or the “Company”), an award-winning independent music company, today announced a deal for a stake in the catalog of legendary hip-hop producer and songwriter Larry Smith. The deal includes the late Smith’s collaborations with seminal rap group Whodini, 1984’s Escape and 1986’s Back in Black.

As one of the most influential producers in the early days of hip-hop, Smith helped propel the genre into the mainstream. From the late 70s through the mid 80s, his innovative work with Whodini, Run-D.M.C., and Kurtis Blow sold millions of records and was at the forefront of shaping the evolution of hip-hop.

Smith produced Escape, the 1984 sophomore album of rap group Whodini, which made history as the first hip-hop album to be certified Platinum and the first hip-hop album to break the Top 40 on the Billboard 200, landing at #35. The lead single, “Friends,” was a big success, reaching #4 on Billboard’s Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart, with other singles “Freaks Come Out at Night” and “Five Minutes of Funk” also gaining wide popularity. Additionally, Smith co-wrote and produced Whodini’s third album, Back in Black, which was released in 1986 and spawned the popular single “One Love.” The Gold-certified album peaked at #35 on the Billboard 200 and #4 on the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums, with “One Love” climbing to #10 on Billboard’s Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart.

In 1979, Smith got his start when he was recruited by Robert “Rocky” Ford to help produce, record, and co-write for Kurtis Blow, resulting in the groundbreaking Gold-certified single “The Breaks,” which was one of the first hip-hop records to crack the Billboard Hot 100. Following this success, Smith went on to work with Blow’s manager, Russell Simmons, and Run-D.M.C., eventually co-writing and co-producing the group’s self-titled debut album in 1984. Run-D.M.C. climbed to #53 on the Billboard 200, became the first rap album certified Gold by the RIAA, and is included in Rolling Stone’s list of “The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time.” Smith also collaborated on the group’s follow-up 1985 Platinum-selling album King of Rock.

Smith’s lasting impact on hip-hop has been celebrated widely. He was praised by The New York Times in his obituary for how he helped the genre stand on its own by giving it “a sonic jolt, a sound that would give it escape velocity out of disco’s orbit.”

Faith Newman, Reservoir Executive Vice President of A&R and Catalog Development, commented, “Larry was a pioneer who consistently made hip-hop history, drove the soundscape of the genre forward, and broke through to the mainstream. It is a great honor to bring his catalog to Reservoir and build on our portfolio of renowned legacy music.”

Smith’s son, Lawrence Smith, Jr., added, “My family and I are excited to partner with Faith Newman and the Reservoir team. We know that our dad’s catalog will be safe and receive great promotion with them. Faith’s knowledge of hip-hop and her commitment to both cultivating the future of the genre and preserving its foundations make this feel like a full-circle moment. We look forward to collaborating on sharing his ongoing legacy and expanding opportunities for his iconic works.”


Reservoir is an independent music company based in New York City and with offices in Los Angeles, Nashville, Toronto, London, and Abu Dhabi. Reservoir is the first U.S.-based publicly traded independent music company and the first female founded and led publicly traded music company in the U.S. Founded as a family-owned music publisher in 2007, Reservoir has grown to represent over 140,000 copyrights and 36,000 master recordings with titles dating as far back as 1900 and hundreds of #1 releases worldwide. Reservoir holds a regular Top 10 U.S. Market Share according to Billboard’s Publishers Quarterly, was twice named Publisher of the Year by Music Business Worldwide’s The A&R Awards, and won Independent Publisher of the Year at the 2020 Music Week Awards.

Reservoir also represents a multitude of recorded music through Chrysalis Records, Tommy Boy Records, and Philly Groove Records and manages artists through its ventures with Blue Raincoat Music and Big Life Management.

Source: Reservoir Media, Inc.

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