Producer Mark Ronson has partnered with Interscope to distribute his Allido Records label, Billboard has learned. The first fruit of the joint venture will be an album from Washington, D.C.-based MC Wale.
The go-go-influenced MC made a name for himself with the Internet track "Nike Boots" featuring Lil Wayne and the mixtapes "Scion A/V Presents: Wale vs. 45 King" and "100 Miles & Running."
The rapper is also prepping for release next month "A Mixtape About Nothing," inspired completely by the TV show "Seinfeld." Included amid the music is a skit featuring an appearance by show star Julia Louis-Dreyfus.
Wale's as-yet-untitled debut is slated for release later this year. "Wale created his own buzz," Allido co-owner Rich Kleiman says. "He took what he created in his hometown and became this unspoken prodigal son of Washington, D.C. Everyone from Jay-Z to RCA sat with Wale and loved him. Nothing from D.C. has worked before, but Wale has the core sound of D.C. with the commercial appeal of hip-hop."
Allido launched in 2004 as an independent imprint. The company has released several albums and served as music supervisor on a compilation series for the Hard Rock Hotel Group and several films, including the Academy Award-nominated "Half Nelson." But last year, Ronson's fame grew exponentially after he produced Amy Winehouse's multiple Grammy Award-winning "Back to Black" album, which earned him a producer of the year trophy.
"One of the foundations of Interscope has been partnering with producers who can move the needle of popular culture," Interscope chairman Jimmy Iovine says. "Mark has that rare ear for great songs and artists who will have extraordinary careers. We're thrilled to be in business with him."
Allido's prior releases, Rhymefest's 2006 set "Blue Collar" and Ronson's own 2007 album "Version," were released via RCA, but the imprint never signed an exclusive distribution deal with the major label. Currently, Daniel Merriweather, Ronson and Rhymefest are still signed to RCA as artists.