After rumors circulated about the duo leaving Jive Records, Virginia Beach duo Clipse confirmed that they have signed with Columbia Records in an interview with Billboard. The group, who released their 2003 debut Lord Willin’ through Arista Records and the Neptunes’ Star Trak imprint, was absorbed by Jive Records after Arista folded in 2004 and the Star Trak family left for Interscope. After their follow-up, Hell Hath No Fury, sat on the shelf for two more years, Jive agreed to a distribution deal for their Re-Up Gang Records. However, after their release date was pushed until November 2006, Hell Hath No Fury sold only 194,000 copies.
The new deal with Columbia will be a five-year, 50/50 profit-sharing arrangement for Re-Up Gang Records, in which they will own the masters for Ab-Liva and Sandman. The first project they plan to release is a Re-Up Gang album early next year, as well as a new studio album from the duo. This will mark the first time that a Clipse album will not be entirely produced by longtime friends and collaborators The Neptunes. Instead, they have plans to work with Timbaland, Danjahandz and Dame Grease. “I can honestly say that we were all friends before the music and will be friends to the end,” Malice told Billboard of his relationship with the Neptunes. “Everything is business. If we had our way, we would always be on Star Trak. But it’s what’s working for you and what’s not. We just want good energy, and Columbia has both the urgency and the muscle.”