Formed in 1989, LaFace was a joint venture between the producing duo Antonio ‘LA’ Reid and Kenneth ‘Babyface’ Edmonds with Arista Records. They combined their nicknames to create the name of the label. LaFace started out at the perfect time when r ‘n’ b and hip hop was at its peak.
The 2 men had known each other since the early 80s, when both worked together in Indianapolis, Indiana as members of the group Deele. After 3 albums released, the pair moved to Los Angeles in 1985 and worked with the Whispers, Bobby Brown, Whitney Houston, Boyz II Men and Pebbles, before relocating to Atlanta and cofounding LaFace Records.
The 1st artist signed to the label was Damian Dame, whose song ‘Exclusivity’ provided their 1st #1 hit. Since then, the label has seen the success of TLC, Toni Braxton, OutKast, Goodie Mob, Az Yet and Usher, making the label one of the most respected and successful in music history.
Towards the end of the decade, Atlanta-based LaFace produced fewer artists and Babyface began to focus more on his own music career. In 1999, the label was acquired by Arista and BMG. Just 2 years later, LA Reid was appointed as Chairman and CEO of Arista. As a result of his promotion, LaFace was dissolved and most of its prominent acts moved up to the main Arista label to work under Reid. Edmonds, who had enjoyed his own success as a producer and singer in the late 1980s and early 1990s (most notably with soundtracks for the films Waiting to Exhale and The Bodyguard) moved to California, while Reid remained in Atlanta and focused on the administrative side of the company.
Despite a few minor setbacks – most notably bankruptcy filings by TLC and Braxton – LaFace continued to thrive in the late 1990s. In 2000 BMG (Arista’s parent company) bought out Reid and Edmonds’ 50 percent share of LaFace for $100 million, and the company relocated to Los Angeles as part of a restructuring deal. That same year, Reid was named President and Chief Executive Officer of Arista Records.
Forward to 2004, after corporate restructuring of the BMG labels, LaFace was resurrected as one of the newly reconstructed Zomba Music Group. Most of its former roster that have moved to Arista had returned to the company, upon its reactivation.
LaFace was also joined by Jive, Volcano, So So Def and a few other labels under Zomba Label Group. Zomba Label Group has since become the roof for all these labels, no denying the success of the group as we see artists from LaFace making great waves on air and tv. With a group this secure backing LaFace, their artists don’t have to worry about bankruptcy anymore. LaFace is back, baby!
Head over to get more news on www.zombalabelgroup.com.