Musical producer

Reservoir signs deal to take stake in legendary hip-hop producer and songwriter Larry Smith’s catalog

New York-based Reservoir Media has secured a deal for a stake in legendary hip-hop producer and songwriter Larry Smith’s catalog.

According to a press release, the deal includes the late Smith’s collaborations with precursor rap group Whodini in 1984. Escape and 1986 Back in black.

Today’s news follows Reservoir’s recent financial results release for its fiscal Q3 2022 (Q4 calendar 2021), ending December 31, 2021.

Reservoir, which floated on the NASDAQ through a merger with a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) in July 2021, saw its total revenue in the three months ended Dec. 31 increase 26% to reach $27.1 million, compared to $21.6 million the previous year. trimester.

Alongside Reservoir’s earnings release, Founder and CEO Golnar Khosrowshahi said the company plans “to deploy more than $200 million in strategic mergers and acquisitions in our first year as a public company.”

Additionally, Khosrowshahi revealed that the company has “$3 billion in open deals.”

Reservoir says Smith helped propel hip-hop into the mainstream as “one of the genre’s most influential early producers.”

From the late 70s to the mid 80s, his work with Whodini, Run-DMC and Kurtis Blow sold millions of records and was at the forefront of the evolution of hip-hop.

Smith produced Escapethe 1984 second album by rap group Whodini, which made history as the first hip-hop album to be certified Platinum and the first hip-hop album to break the top 40 of the Billboard 200, landing at No. 35 .

The first single, Friendswas a big hit, reaching #4 on Billboard’s Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart, along with other singles Monsters come out at night and Five minutes of funk also gaining popularity.

Smith also co-wrote and produced Whodini’s third album, Back in black, which was released in 1986 and spawned the popular single One Love.

The Gold-certified album peaked at #35 on the Billboard 200 and #4 Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums, with one Love climbing to No. 10 on Billboard’s Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart.

In 1979, Smith made his debut when he was recruited by Robert “Rocky” Ford to help produce, record and co-write for Kurtis Blow, resulting in the breakthrough single certified Gold. The breaks, which was one of the first hip-hop records to hit the Billboard Hot 100.

Following this success, Smith continued to work with Blow’s manager, Russell Simmons, and Run-DMC, eventually co-writing and co-producing the band’s self-titled debut album in 1984.

Run-DMC soared to No. 53 on the Billboard 200, became the first rap album to be certified Gold by the RIAA, and appeared on Rolling Stone’s list of “The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time.”

Smith also collaborated on the band’s 1985 follow-up album, which sold platinum King of the Rock.

“It’s a great honor to bring his catalog to Reservoir and grow our portfolio of acclaimed legacy music.”

Faith Newman, Reservoir

Faith Newman, Reservoir’s Executive Vice President for A&R and Catalog Development, said, “Larry was a trailblazer who consistently made hip-hop history, advanced the genre’s soundscape, and broke into the mainstream. .

“It’s a great honor to bring his catalog to Reservoir and grow our portfolio of acclaimed legacy music.”

“We look forward to collaborating to share his continuing legacy and expand the opportunities for his iconic works.”

Lawrence Smith, Jr.

Smith’s son, Lawrence Smith, Jr., added, “My family and I are thrilled to partner with Faith [Newman] and the Reservoir team. We know our dad’s catalog will be safe and have great promotion with them.

“Faith’s knowledge of hip-hop and her commitment to both cultivating the genre’s future and preserving its foundations make this moment feel like it’s come full circle.

“We look forward to collaborating to share his continuing legacy and expand the opportunities for his iconic works.”


Since Reservoir’s successful listing on NASDAQ in July 2021, the company has acquired:

  • A series of songs by country singer-songwriter Stephony Smith for an undisclosed amount (as of November).
  • Hit songs from songwriter and producer Dallas Austin (November).
  • An entry in the editorial catalog of Fred Parris, writer, singer and founder of the doo-wop group The Five Satins (December).
  • The publishing catalog of Grammy-winning DJ, songwriter and producer Fred Rister (as of January 2022).
  • Country star Travis Tritt’s publishing and recorded music catalogs (January 2022).

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