Tomica Woods

Tomica Woods

Tomica Woods

Tomica Woods-Wright is the founder, owner, and CEO of Ruthless Records. She bought the label from her late husband, rapper Eric Wright, in 1995.

The label was founded in March of 1988 by Eric Wright, whose real name was Erick Sermon. He had been working under the stage name Eazy-E since the early 1980s, when he began rapping with fellow Compton native MC Ren. Their debut single “Boyz n da Hood” went platinum in 1989. In 1990, N.W.A.’s groundbreaking album Straight Outta Compton became one of the biggest selling albums of all time.

In 1992, Eazy-E died of AIDS-related complications. His widow, Tomica Woods-Wight, took over the label and continued it into the 21st century.

For the Record…

Born Tomica Woods, in Los Angeles, Calif., in 1969. Attended Santa Monica and West LAComunity College. Procured a position as secretary for Tabu Records founder Clarence “Tabloid” Avant. Avant accepted a position at Motown Records in 1992 and took Woods-Worth with him. Mother of three children, two born to Ruthless Records founder Eric “Eazy-E.” Wright, a.k..

The rapper. Lives with Wright for four years. Inherited Ruthless Records in 1995 after her husband’s untimely death. Signed a distribution deal with Sony/Epic in 1997. Released a 10th anniversary Ruthlessness compilation album, A Decades Of Game, in 1998. Signed new artist comedian/actress Chris Tucker, Big Chan (N. X.), Big ROCE (Big ROc), and soul trio BLUlight.

Awards: Billboard’s number one indie label of the year 1996;

Address: record company – Ruthless Records, 8201 West Third Street, Los Angeles, Ca 90048; (213)-782-1888, fax:(213)-782-0705. Dominick and a daughter called Daijah, before marrying 12 days before Wright died.

Broadening the Ruthless Roster

In 1994, Ruthless Records signed rapper Tupac Shakur, and he became one of the label’s biggest stars. After releasing six studio albums, Shakur died in 1996. His death was followed by controversy over how his estate handled his assets and royalties.

Ruthless Records was eventually sold to Sony Music Entertainment, and in 2002, the label was bought out by Universal Music Group. At the same time, former CEO Suge Knight was convicted of assault and sentenced to nine years in prison.

The following year, Universal Music Group acquired Atlantic Records, where A&R execs Kevin Liles and Sean Combs worked. They brought in veteran executive Clive Davis to run the label, and Davis immediately began restructuring the roster.

Davis hired Woods-Wright as president of urban contemporary records. She joined the company just as the Internet was beginning to take off, and she quickly realized that artists needed to know how to market themselves online.

She saw the potential of social media platforms like MySpace and Facebook, and she understood that artists could use the web to build fan bases and sell merchandise.

Davis wanted to make sure that every artist had access to those tools, so he developed a strategy called “digital-first distribution.” Artists would sign deals with digital distributors such as iTunes, Amazon MP3, eMusic, etc., and the labels would handle everything else.

Woods-Wright believed that artists needed to understand how to operate a record label, and she gave them the opportunity to learn. She sent them to school at the University of Miami Business School.

In Her Own Fashion

The story behind Ruthless Records began in 1984, when she met her husband, David Wright, a music executive. He had been working with Ice Cube and NWA, and he knew how to market records. They married in 1987, and soon after, he signed Bone Thugs-n-Harmony, one of the most successful groups in history. In 1998, the couple sold the label to EMI for $50 million.

Woods-Wright became president of the company, and it wasn’t long before she was making decisions that changed the course of the company. One of those decisions was signing Wu-Tang Clan, whose debut album Enter the 36 Chambers helped establish the group as one of the biggest names in hip hop. Another decision was hiring Dr. Dre as head of A&R.

When asked about her style of management, Woods-Wright told Ivory, “My style is very hands-on. I like to be involved every step of the way.” She added, “That doesn’t mean you’re micromanaging me. You’re giving me feedback. If we agree, great. If not, let’s talk about why.”

 

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