The Neptunes formed Star Trak Records three years ago in order to unify their artist discoveries under one sensational roof. But the house Pharrell Williams and Chad Hugo built will undergo a significant overhaul.
Sources close to the Neptunes confirm that the hit-making production tandem are negotiating Star Trak's split with Arista Records, its parent company since Star Trak's 2001 inception. The Clipse, Kelis, Rosco P. Coldchain and other artists were signed to Arista through Star Trak. With the split, however, the Neptunes will have to divide their roster and leave some of them behind (see "Need A Neptunes Beat? You Might Have To Wait Awhile").
The division's terms are still being negotiated, but sources said Kelis will likely stay with Arista; rap duo Clipse will move to Arista sibling label Jive Records; and Rosco P. Coldchain, rock band the High Speed Scene and singer Vanessa Marquez will follow the Neptunes to their new home within the Universal Records family. Virginia rapper Fam-Lay is already being released by Star Trak through Universal label Def Jam.
The Neptunes discovered Kelis in 1998. In recent interviews, though, she has criticized the producers' ability to balance their music and business. The Clipse, another act nurtured by Pharrell and Chad, will soon release their Neptunes-produced sophomore album, Hell Hath No Fury (see "Clipse Take R. Kelly Out Of His Element And Into Hell") in the spring.
While the Neptunes will still have a hand in producing their artists, even those on other labels, they probably won't have as much say over their marketing and presentation as they would have previously.