William Morris Endeavor, Steel Wool Entertainment and Collision Records have launched a strategic partnership targeting the burgeoning Christian hip-hop genre. The partnership’s first collaboration involves Collision artists Alex Faith, Dre Murray, Corey Paul and Swoope, who will now be managed and consulted by Steel Wool. The quartet has also signed with WME, which will oversee their live performances, film projects and sponsorships.
“We’ve been watching these guys for a few years now, just waiting for a chance to jump in,” said WME’s Snider in a statement. “They are the real deal. With Collision’s vision and their new partnership with Steel Wool … we’re getting right to work.”
All three companies have strong ties in the Christian and hip-hop arenas. Snider -- who represents Grammy-winning rap/Christian star Lecrae -- heads up WME’s Nashville-based Christian division. Los Angeles-based Steel Wool, founded by CEO Kevin Morrow, is a multi-faceted entertainment company providing management (gospel’s Kirk Franklin, rapper Watsky) and record label services, among other offerings. Adam Thomason is the founder/CEO of Collision, a faith- and lifestyle-based label out of Phoenix. Collision released its most recent project, Alex Faith and Dre Murray’s Southern Lights: Overexposed, on April 28. Morrow and Thomason were initially introduced through their companies’ mutual distributor, Empire Distribution.
The new partnership’s inaugural rollout includes a tour and various recording projects. The four Collision acts are already in rehearsals for the national tour, targeting 500- to 1000-seat venues in 15-20 major markets in August/September. Albums by Murray, Paul and Swoope are slated for release between July and November. Also in the works: a compilation album by all four under the moniker We Live As Kings and a television reality show.
Citing the mainstream breakthroughs of such rap/Christian artists as Lecrae and Flame, Morrow says the partnership between WME, Steel Wool and Collision represents a “great opportunity to take Collision and its roster to the next level. We want to establish these three brands as the place to go, all under one roof.”
Adds Thomason, “This opens up a new lane for people passionate about the craft and the culture of R&B and hip-hop—but at the same time be free in the expression of who we are. We’re ready for the ironman challenge, ready to seize the moment.”