Hip-Hop may never have been anything more than a fad without Profile Records, the 6th most important hip-hop record label of all time.

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#6 Profile Records

Founded in 1981 by Steve Plotnicki and Cory Robbins, Profile Records was the first label to establish hip-hop with the mainstream as an enduring genre. There had been some hit singles, previously, but Profile was the first record label to have a rap album certified gold (500,000+ copies) and have a rap group (Run-D.M.C.) be nominated for a Grammy. In 1985, they also had the first rap video (King of Rock) ever played on MTV (a big deal because MTV traditionally had not played videos by black artists not named Michael Jackson at that time). As a testament to their enduring legacy, in 2009 they also had the 2nd rap artist to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Beyond the music, Profile’s artists also had a fundamental impact on the culture of hip-hop. Before Run-D.M.C. dropped, major hip-hop artists tended to don the wardrobes of rock stars and funk stars–open shirts, tight pants, platform shoes, etc. Run-D.M.C. kept it strictly street with Adidas sneakers and sweat suits. Hip-Hop would never return to the more flamboyant dress of yore. Below is a video playlist featuring music from some of Profile’s key artists: Run-D.M.C., Special Ed, Camp Lo, Rob Base, Nine, Dana Dane, Poor Righteous Teachers and DJ Quik.

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