Bad Boy Records made the East Coast relevant again in rap music, making it the 3rd most important hip-hop record label in history.

#3 Bad Boy Records

While East Coast Rap music was never quite completely dead, there is no question that from mid-1992 to mid-1994 commercial hip-hop was dominated by the West Coast, primarily by Death Row Records (more on that later…).  It was not until Sean “Diddy” Combs was fired from Uptown Records and decided to launch his own record label in 1993 with his “Big Mack” one-two combo of singles from The Notorious B.I.G. (Juicy) and Craig Mack (Flava in Ya Ear), that the hip-hop nation once again began to view the East Coast as a Super Power.  Diddy,  Puffy at the time, signed a stable of artists with true lyrical skills and had them rap over tracks that were much more melodic than the gritty and spare tracks that had been coming out of New York at the time.  He drew from proven hits, often heavily sampling 80’s R&B classics.  In fact, some purists saw Puffy as nothing but a beat-jacker and accused him of bastardizing hip-hop.  If you look at the origins of recorded rap, however, you see that his approach to hit making was very similar to the one that put hip-hop on the map in the first place.  Like other successful record labels before (Motown, Stax, Ruthless, Death Row, etc.), Bad Boy was built around a superstar team of producers who could churn out hot track after hot track for the label’s artists.  The production team, appropriately dubbed “The Hitmen” and led by Puffy himself, eventually became so dominant that their work drove the sales of more than 21 million albums over 18 months for the label, making Bad Boy one of the most commercially successful labels of all time (in any genre).  Their sales success also was achieved without sacrificing their credibility in the streets.  As every hip-hop fan knows, however, Bad Boy’s success was marred by a feud with Death Row Records and the murder of Biggie Smalls near the height of the label’s popularity.  That story has been covered extensively.  This is about the music, and Bad Boy had plenty of it:

Juicy – The Notorious B.I.G.

Flava in Ya Ear – Craig Mack

Big Poppa – The Notorious B.I.G.

One More Chance – The Notorious B.I.G.

You Used to Love Me – Faith Evans

Can’t You See – Total

Mo’ Money Mo’ Problems – The Notorious B.I.G.

Sky is the Limit – The Notorious B.I.G.

Can’t Nobody Hold Me Down – Puff Daddy & The Family

It’s All About the Benjamins – Puff Daddy & The Family

Feels So Good – Mase

Tell Me What You Want – Mase

Money, Power, Respect – The Lox

Bad Boy For Life – P. Diddy & The Bad Boy Family

Down For Me – Loon

Previously:  #20 Rakwus Records, #19 Loud Records, #18 Select Records, #17 Rap-A-Lot Records, #16 No Limit Records, #15 Sleeping Bag Records, #14 Uptown Records, #13 Ruffhouse Records, #12 Cold Chillin’ Records, #11 Jive Records, #10 Aftermath Records, #9 Cash Money Records, #8 Roc-A-Fella Records, #7 Ruthless Records, #6 Profile Records, #5 Tommy Boy Records, #4 Sugar Hill Records