Closed Sessions, the independent record label based out of Chicago that has released records from the likes of underground Midwest MCs like Kweku Collins and Jamila Woods, among others, has signed a partnership deal with Fat Possum’s House Arrest distribution wing.
The deal is the second such move for Fat Possum in the last few months as it grows its House Arrest network, after signing a distro deal with music blog Gorilla vs. Bear for a new label called Luminelle, which Billboard announced in December.
Closed Sessions began as a studio in Chicago that started making short-form documentaries of rappers on the national scene as they would come through the city, bringing artists like Raekwon, Wyclef, Bun B and Action Bronson in for studio sessions, filming them for release. Local MCs like Vic Mensa, Mick Jenkins, Rockie Fresh, Young Chop, Saba and Noname were also associated with the group over the past several years, as it made the transition from documentaries to management, label services and distribution, steadily growing beyond co-directors Alex Fruchter’s and Mike Kolar’s original aim.
Now, with this next step, Fat Possum will take over distribution for CS’s roster of artists.
“This partnership with House Arrest came down to our desire to grow as a label, not just in size but also in scope of what we can do for our artists,” Fruchter and Kolar said in a joint statement provided to Billboard. “Joining House Arrest gives us a distribution partner that will not only get our music into stores and online retailers, but can also mentor us in how to grow and scale our company. We are able to pick the brains of people with experience, passion and success in independent music. They understand how to work with us because they started from the same place.”
Peter Wiley, Fat Possum’s director of distributed labels, said that he admired CS’s “new and dynamic” contributions to Chicago’s hip-hop scene.
“When we started House Arrest three years ago, the goal was simple: create interesting partnerships with interesting labels,” Wiley said in a statement. “I first found out about Closed Sessions a year and a half ago, and went about every way I could think of to sign them. It’s taken a while and everyone at House Arrest couldn’t be more stoked… whatever way House Arrest can participate, we’re 100 percent onboard.”