Here’s a look at the 20 most important hip-hop record labels of all time, starting with #20: Rawkus Records.

Before record labels were considered “the enemy” their brands actually meant something.  Artists dreamed of being on the same label as the MCs they grew up idolizing and some labels had such credibility fans would buy the record just because it was on that label.

Over the next several days we will look at the 20 most important hip-hop record labels of all time as determined by a host of factors including credibility, sales, enduring legacy and cultural impact.  And, the labels are:

#20 Rawkus Records

In the late nineties and early 2000s, many thought Rawkus Records was going to be the next Def Jam.  They were putting out singles, compilations and albums of some of the most well-regarded underground hip-hop of the last several years.  They also launched the careers of some artists who still today (10 years later) are seen as among the most credible in hip-hop.  They even put out one of the earliest Eminem singles…Here a playlist of some of the key releases by Rawkus in its heyday:

Previously: #20 Rakwus Records, #19 Loud Records, #18 Select Records and #17 Fresh Records, #16 Rap-A-Lot Records, #15 Ruffhouse Records, #14 Uptown Records, #13 Cold Chillin’ Records, #12 No Limit Records, #11 Jive Records, #10 Aftermath Entertainment, #9 Roc-A-Fella Records, #8 Cash Money Records, #7 Ruthless Records, #6 Profile Records, #5 Tommy Boy Records, #4 Sugar Hill Records, #3 Bad Boy Records, #2 Death Row Records