Here’s a Mind-Blowingly Comprehensive Oral History of Rawkus Records

Here’s a mind-blowingly comprehensive oral history of Rawkus Records, one of the last great Hip-Hop record labels, put together by MySpace. The piece features contributions from DJ Premier, DJ Spinna, El-P, Evil Dee, Kool G Rap, Pharoahe Monch, Q-Tip and many, many more. Check out an excerpt and link to the full article below.


Here’s an excerpt from the article:

“In 1997 two Brown University students started a seminal label that brought lyrical legends like Mos Def, Talib Kweli, Company Flow and Pharoahe Monch to the masses and proved that great underground rap could sell records on a large scale.

The razor-blade claimed its debutante moment in 1997. A curved emblem stamped with the curious moniker of Rawkus along its southern edge, the logo began taking over the racks of independent record stores in earnest that year. Canny crate-diggers may have noted evidence of the Rawkus record label before that—sometimes sporting a different logo, often with a different (and not always hip-hop-based) sound—but when 12” vinyl records by artists with incongruous-seeming names like Mos Def, Shabaam Shadeeq and Sir Menelik started popping up, it heralded the beginning of a new underground sound. Crucially, the Rawkus-fronted movement cast itself as an alternative grassroots soundtrack to the glitzy, Puff-propagated shiny-suit facade of mainstream hip-hop at the time. “Independent as fuck,” proclaimed the artwork of the debut album by Rawkus’s first critically-acclaimed group, Company Flow. In 1997, it was less a mantra than a battle-cry…”

Click here to read the full article

Props on the spot: Brooklyn Bodega

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