Roc-A-Fella Records is the 9th most important hip-hop record label of all time, and not just because of arguably the greatest rapper of all time…

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…though he is a big part of it.

#8 Roc-A-Fella Records

EVERYONE knows that Roc-A-Fella records was the home to Jay-Z. He, along with his partners Damon Dash and Kareem “Biggs” Burke, founded the label back in1996 and Jay-Z repped the label as hard as any artist ever has represented a label. What many don’t know, however, was that Roc-A-Fella was not Jay-Z’s first label. That distinction belonged to Payday Records, home to underground legends like Jeru the Damaja, O.C. and Showbiz and A.G., which released In My Lifetime Jay’s first single. When that single didn’t perform well, Payday dropped Jay and the rest, as they say, is history. Jay, Dame and Kareem invested funds received from “various sources” and proceeded to crank out some of the biggest hits and artists in hip-hop. Long after Jay-Z and his partners split, Roc-A-Fella continued to churn out hits. It was actually around that time that Kanye West, Roc-A-Fella’s other marquee artist (one of the best producer/MCs to ever do it) began to make his impact on hip-hop, which continues to be felt today, with him having received the most Grammy nominations (7) of any artist in 2011. The music of Roc-A-Fella speaks for itself. In this case, because Jay-Z is so inextricably intertwined with Roc-A-Fella, he gets several nods, but you will also hear music from Kanye, Beanie Sigel, State Property, Cam’ron and Freeway.

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