Hitmaking production/songwriting duo the Neptunes have signed a new deal with Arista, under which the pair will sign and produce artists for their own Star Trak Entertainment imprint as well as Arista

Hitmaking production/songwriting duo the Neptunes have signed a new deal with Arista, under which the pair will sign and produce artists for their own Star Trak Entertainment imprint as well as Arista. Star Trak's first act, Virginia Beach, Va.-based rap duo the Clipse, will release its debut album in April. The label has also signed Minneapolis rock quartet Spy Mob.

The Neptunes -- Pharrell Williams and Chad Hugo -- have skyrocketed to fame in recent years thanks to collaborations with such artists as Britney Spears, Ol' Dirty Bastard, Janet Jackson, Mary J. Blige, Usher, and Jay-Z, among others. The pair were named producers of the year at Billboard's inaugural R&B/Hip-Hop Awards last summer, while Williams was named songwriter of the year at the BMI Urban Awards last fall.

"We are excited to be working with [label president/CEO] L.A. Reid and his entire team at Arista Records," the Neptunes said in a statement. "Both have a storied tradition of creativity and great music and we're looking forward to adding to the success and cultivating new talents from all facets of music -- pop, rock, hip-hop, rap, R&B and even country. We don't just want to define the categories, we want to create them."

Williams, Hugo, and rapper Shay will continue to record for Virgin under the N*E*R*D moniker, according to a spokesperson for that label. The trio's debut album, "In Search Of," was first due to be released last September, then pushed to November, and is now set for a March 12 release in North America. A video for the track "Rock Star," directed by Hype Williams, should hit video outlets a few weeks prior.

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