Rap-A-Lot Records was the 17th most important hip-hop record label. Also holding down the South at #12 is…

#12 No Limit Records

While Rap-A-Lot was the first major label to rise from the South, No Limit Records was the record label that put the “Dirty Dirty” on the MAP. No Limit established the South as a stronghold for hip-hop that many might argue has never been relinquished. Despite its synonymity with the South (specifically, Louisiana), many likely would be surprised to learn that No Limit actually began in California. Without question, however, the label took off when it re-located to Master P’s hometown of New Orleans. From there he made No Limit one of the most powerful labels in music (not just hip-hop), having the clout and wherewithal to own his own masters (extremely rare), and also the drive and hustle to parlay the music’s success into launching several extremely profitable DVDs and films. The company’s aggressive marketing strategy would also serve as the blueprint for every hip-hop record label, thereafter. Additionally, No Limit managed to resurrect the career of Big Snoop Dogg, which had quickly been heading South…At his height, Master P was 10th on the Forbes’ list of the 40 highest paid entertainers, grossing an estimated $55 million in 1998. On top of it all, with its Beats by the Pound production stable, No Limit created a unique sonic experience that would dominate the charts for a good portion of the late ’90s. Here’s a playlist of music from some of No Limit’s key artists: Silkk The Shocker, Mystikal, Big Snoop Dogg and, of course, Master P.

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