Throughout the '90s, Suave Records, (formerly Suave House) and its CEO Tony Draper were responsible for helping establish the careers of 8Ball & MJG, Tela and even a young Rick Ross. "I got my first deal in ’98, ’99 with Suave House Records. Me and [Suave House CEO] Tony Draper, we was real cool. We had a great business relationship." Ross told HipHopDX late last year of his career with the Memphis imprint [click here to read...].

On April 14, the label announced its new distribution home with Koch Records. The deal comes as a reunion of sorts for Draper, who worked with Koch President Alan Grunblatt while the two collaborated at Relativity Records in the late '90s, generating a reported $25 million in revenue. "Tony and I have had tremendous success with Suave Records in the late
‘90s. He is a brilliant record man and I’m sure we’re
going to have lots of gold artists as part of this new venture,
" said Grunblatt.

Recently, Draper had a hand in pushing Ice Cube's Laugh Now, Cry Later effort, which went gold for Lench Mob Records, as well as the critically-acclaimed project last year from WC. Draper is also credited with brokering the five-year, 50/50 deal putting The Clipse at Columbia Records, where they'll join Rick Rubin in making a highly-anticipated official third album.

The first project released in the Suave/Koch merger will be a Greatest Hits release from 8Ball & MJG, the flagship artists of the imprint since its inception. The release drops May 11. Artists following with be Gillie Da Kid and Jiggolo.