Hip-hop management firm Violator raised some eyebrows when it released Violator: The Album in 1999.
"An album themed around a freakin' management company! What in the world?," one reviewer complained, while still acknowledging that the album, which went platinum, was pretty hot, with tracks from such top Violator clients as Q-Tip, Busta Rhymes and his Flipmode Squad, Beatnuts, Mobb Deep and Noreaga.
Now Violator CEO Chris Lighty and president Mona Scott will release the follow-up, Violator the Album: V2.0, in the summer.
"Expectations are higher people are looking for us to step it up," Lighty said. "But putting this album together is not any more difficult than the last one. It's just a matter of putting everyone's schedules in place." Besides new tracks from clients Busta Rhymes, Ja Rule, Missy Elliott, newcomer JoJo Pellegrino, Mobb Deep and L.L. Cool J, guest stars will include Trina, Fat Joe, the LOX's Jadakiss, Jermaine Dupri and Swizz Beatz.
Among the tracks already completed is an untitled collaboration between Ja Rule and Elliott, as well as a rhyme duet between Method Man and fellow Staten Island, New York-native Pellegrino. Although the album is being billed as a compilation, Violator plans to go the soundtrack route and release more than one single at a time.
While there are no plans yet for any videos, the three initial singles, going to radio in the spring, will be the Busta Rhymes track, "What It Is Right Now," featuring Kelis; Noreaga's "Grimey," both produced by the Neptunes; and L.L. Cool J's "Put Your Hands Up." Besides the compilation, Violator clients Nas, Busta Rhymes, Elliott and Maxwell all will drop new albums this year.