Universal Music Group has partnered with Anderson .Paak, the Grammy Award-winning rapper-singer-songwriter-drummer-director-producer and one-half-of-Silk-Sonic-er, to form a new record label called APESHIT INC. The imprint, announced Tuesday via a humorous press conference video, will have a unique mandate in that it aims to focus on “raw talent” that can actually play their own instruments.
“I wanted to start a label that sets fire to a new generation of artists, who can play while performing,” said .Paak, who has recorded for UMG/Interscope subsidiary Aftermath. “This label is going to be about passion, about feeling, about honesty. It’s about respect for the culture and art and it’s about heart.”
.Paak said in the announcement that he was inspired to launch a performer-focused label after seeing fewer and fewer acts playing their own stuff on stage. “Where is the next generation that can play instruments?? I know they’re out there – don’t sell your instruments, this label wants to hear you!!”
The APE in APESHIT stands for Anderson .Paak Empire, while the tail-end of the name is because “we on some other shit out here in this music business jungle,” .Paak notes. The label, which has the full backing of UMG and its extensive network, is based in Los Angeles and will be announcing initial signings soon.
“UMG has always strived to be a home for music’s best creators, innovators, disrupters and entrepreneurs, and one that operates globally to help artists expand their creative and commercial opportunities,” said Sir Lucian Grainge, UMG’s chairman and CEO. “Anderson .Paak has consistently created award-winning, culture shifting music and we are truly excited to work together to bring his bold and infectious vision for this new label to life.”
.Paak released his debut studio album Venice in 2014 and a sophomore set, Malibu, two years later. Third studio album Oxnard followed in 2018. He won his first Grammy in 2019 for best rap performance with his 2018 non-album single “Bubblin.” Then in 2020 .Paak took home two more Grammys: best R&B album for 2019 fourth album Ventura and best R&B performance for album track “Come Home” featuring André 3000. Earlier this year, .Paak won his fourth Grammy for best melodic performance on behalf of non-album single “Lockdown.”
Silk Sonic, .Paak’s pact with Bruno Mars, scored a Billboard Hot 100 No. 1 with its first single, “Leave the Door Open.” The duo’s debut album, An Evening With Silk Sonic, is due to be released in January.