Penalty Entertainment, the new incarnation of influential hip-hop label Penalty Recordings, has partnered with Sony RED for a multi-year distribution deal covering North America.

Headed by original Penalty founder/CEO and industry veteran Neil Levine, Penalty Entertainment is comprised of recorded music, artist/producer management, music publishing, touring and merchandising divisions.

Penalty joins Sony RED’s growing roster of rap and hip-hop label groups, including Cinematic, Ncredible, Louder Than Life, Infamous and Soul Temple. Launched by Levine in 1994 as a joint venture with Tommy Boy/Warner Music, New York-based Penalty Recordings signed such acts as Noreaga (N.O.R.E.), Lord Finesse, the Beatnuts and Crooked Lettaz (David Banner). The imprint was also responsible for initiating the AND 1 Mixtape DVD series.

“Penalty 2.0 joins with a new roster that showcases the quality and consistency of the original,” Sony RED president Bob Morelli said in a statement announcing the new partnership. “There is no doubt about Penalty’s plans to recapture the original excitement and Neil’s ability to deliver it.”

Added Levine, “We’re focused on artist development, talented new producers and musicians who will be here many years down the road. “We want the superstars of tomorrow today.”

Penalty Entertainment is set to roll out its first releases this spring. These include rapper Hi-Rez and hip-hop crew eMC (Masta Ace, Punchline, Wordsworth and Strick). Additional deals are currently being negotiated and will be announced at a future date.

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