A&M, Kurupt launch hip-hop label Antra

Bi-coastal, its offices in Philly and L.A.

Further beefing up its presence in the urban music marketplace, A&M Records has pacted with multi-platinum-selling rapper Kurupt to launch Antra Records, a music and production outfit that is being billed as the industry’s first bicoastal hip-hop label, with offices in Philadelphia and L.A.

Antra, an acronym for All New Talented Recording Artists, is a joint venture between A&M Records and Wall Street Records, of which Kurupt is prexy and Philly-based attorney Joseph M. Marrone is chairman.

The label’s debut will be via Kurupt’s solo album debut, “Kuruption,” a 2-CD set due later this summer, with one disc of the double-CD geared towards East Coast rap fans, the other towards West Coast fans.

Kurupt is best known as part of Tha Dogg Pound, the former Death Row Records recording artists brought to prominence on discs from Dr. Dre and Snoop Doggy Dogg before bowing their own disc “Dog Food,” which sold 3 million copies.

The rapper is also hoping to team up with Ice Cube and former Death Row labelmate Snoop Doggy Dogg for a project tentatively titled 3 the Hard Way.

“Kurupt is a terrific young man. His talent and enthusiasm are nonstop,” said Al Cafaro, chairman and CEO of A&M Records. Cafaro, along with senior veep of A&R John McClain, championed the signing. Under McClain, A&M has made several key deals to increase A&M’s presence in the genre, including recently pacting with Ice Cube.

“Part of the purpose of Antra is to show young people that if you’re inspired enough, if you dedicate enough time and effort, you can reach your dreams. A&M Records has helped me reach my dream of being a young entrepreneur,” said Kurupt.

A&M Records will provide marketing, promotion, business affairs, sales, and distribution resources, while Kurupt will also tap the expertise of marketing and promotion execs Primus Robinson and Ernie Cimadamore.

In addition to Kurupt, Antra Records will sign other Philadelphia-based artists to the label.