Former boxing promoter Butch Lewis is stepping into the music arena with Voicez Music Group, a new joint venture with Def Jam/Universal Records. Under terms of the joint venture, Def Jam will market and promote Voicez Music Group releases. The first release-slated for this summer-is a single by South Carolina rap duo Kinfolk, "Don't Go to Work" featuring Snoop Dogg.

In an exclusive statement to Billboard.biz, Island Def Jam Music Group chairman Antonio "L.A." Reid says, "I am excited to be working with Butch Lewis and his family on their first music venture and look forward to a long, prosperous relationship."

New York City-based Voicez will be operated by Lewis' son Brandon, a former Blackground Records executive, and daughter Sita. Lewis, who produces sports and entertainment projects under the Butch Lewis Productions banner, serves as CEO of Voicez Music Group.

Focusing on hip-hop, R&B and gospel, Voicez Music Group has also signed R&B singer Eric "Ee De" Danell, who hails from North Carolina.

Acknowledging the music industry's current climate, Lewis declares that he's always been a risk taker. "I know the music business carries a lot of risks," he tells Billboard.biz. "But the American dream is about ownership and risk, and I'm accustomed to both. My children and I are ready to pull this wagon and drive it as a brand, with an eye toward building this into another strong arm of our sports and entertainment company."

Lewis' career as a boxing promoter includes such legendary matches as Leon Spinks vs. Muhammad Ali and Michael Spinks vs. Mike Tyson. Adding an entertainment division to his company in the early '90s, Lewis has produced several television shows, including the "James Brown-Living in America" pay- per-view special, "Linc's" for Showtime and "Oh Drama" for BET.