Production duo the TrakStarz, who gained national attention after writing and producing Chingy's multi-platinum Capitol debut, "Jackpot," have formed a joint venture with Blackground Records.
Production duo the TrakStarz, who gained national attention after writing and producing Chingy's multi-platinum Capitol debut, "Jackpot," have formed a joint venture with Blackground Records, whose roster includes JoJo, Toni Braxton, Tank and the late Aaliyah.
Under the terms of the three-year deal, St. Louis-based Alonzo "Zo" Lee, 26, and Shamar "Sham" Daugherty, 29, will sign and develop talent through their TrakStarz Records label, as well as release their own album. Aside from the Blackground association, the TrakStarz will maintain existing song deals with Interscope and Capitol Records.
"Jackpot" has sold more than 2.8 million units in the United States, according to Nielsen SoundScan. In addition to "Jackpot" -- paced by the crossover hit "Right Thurr" -- the TrakStarz collaborated with Chingy on his recent sophomore set, "Powerballin'."
The TrakStarz, says Lee, aim to "bridge the gap between St. Louis and the industry." The Missouri city is also home to another multi-platinum rap artist, Nelly, and the St. Lunatics.
Among the St. Louis talent on the TrakStarz Productions roster are teen rapper Louis V, female R&B group STL, rap duo 2 Deep, male R&B singer JuJu and male rapper Starr 47.
"People are ready for something different, and St. Louis is delivering what people want to listen to," Daugherty says. "That's why we want to stay close to this source and create a pipeline. We want to be able to do what Dr. Dre has done: help artists realize their full potential."
The TrakStarz own and operate the St. Louis studio TrakMeet. They are currently recording their own project, with a second-quarter release date in mind. According to Lee, the set will feature dancehall and South African rhythms as well as R&B and hip-hop. It will also showcase acts from the TrakStarz roster alongside Lee and Daugherty, who will be the main artists. Among the names being mentioned as potential guests are David Banner, Twista, Juvenile and Jon B.
Beyond Chingy, the TrakStarz have worked with a diverse list of artists, including Houston ("I Like That"), Ludacris ("Splash Waterfalls" remix, "Gold Digger" from the "Shark Tale" soundtrack) and Britney Spears ("Me Against the Music" remix).
"Outside of our DJ and strong musician backgrounds, what distinguishes the TrakStarz sound are powerful, edgy beats that appeal to the street and cross over at the same time," Lee says. "We play on our versatile backgrounds."