Seen taking a break from social distancing are, from left, in front, Mono Music Group CEO Gary Marella and Apex Martin. Back, from left: PULSE A&R Coordinator Shannon Choi, PULSE SVP A&R Ashley Calhoun, PULSE Co-CEO Josh Abraham, Mike Dean and Def Jam SVP, A&R, Marisa Pizarro.

PULSE Music Group has signed a joint venture with hip-hop producer Mike Dean. The first signing is Houston prodigy Apex Martin.

Dean has recorded and mixed songs for Kanye West, Jay-Z, 2Pac, Beyoncé and many others. After pioneering the Dirty South sound in the 1990s, he became known for his work with West, initially as a mixer, then as a producer. Dean launched his own label, M.W.A., in 2017.

“Mike Dean is a legend who has helped shape the sound of hip-hop,” said Ashley Calhoun, Senior Vice President/Head of Creative, PULSE Music Group. “We admire Apex and he’s already proven himself with the work he’s done with Kanye West, Ty Dolla $ign, Future and Smokepurpp. We see this as the tipping point.”

PULSE Co-CEO Josh Abraham initially connected with Apex and introduced him to Calhoun and PULSE A&R exec Shannon Choi, which led to a go-forward co-publishing deal.

“I’ve been following Apex’s career for a couple of years and when [manager] Gary Marella [at Mono Music Group] mentioned to me the idea of working together, it made perfect sense that this was meant to be,” Abraham said.

Photo credit: Hunter Simpson