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

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Hip-Hop Fans, we need your help...We recently launched AFH TV, a streaming video service focused on Hip-Hop culture. We already have exclusive interviews, documentaries, and rare freestyles featuring some of Rap’s most iconic artists and personalities. But, there is so much more to come--movies, TV series, talk shows--and we need your support to make it a reality. Please subscribe to AFH TV. It is only $1.99/month or $12/year, and offers 30-day free trials. Thank you.

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.

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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
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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.