2Pac, Ruthless & Priority Records To Be Honored At Indie Entertainment Summit Conference
Three pillars of Gangsta Rap are among those slated to be honored at 2014’s Indie Entertainment Summit & Hip-Hop Honors. Iconic artist 2Pac is included, along with two 1980s labels, Priority Records and Ruthless Records.
Notably, all three of these acts are tied together. 2Pac appeared on Above The Law’s Black Mafia Life and Bone Thugs-n-Harmony’s The Art Of War, both singles on the albums released by Ruthless. The label, founded by N.W.A’s Eazy-E, worked with Priority Records to distribute seminal releases by Eazy, as well as his group.
2Pac’s living discography was handled extensively by Interscope Records, a once independent label that would later house and distribute labels such as Death Row Records, Aftermath Entertainment, and ‘Pac’s Amaru Entertainment. Although he is one of the best-selling artists in any genre, 2Pac is remembered as an independent. Following his 1996 murder, some of 2Pac’s music has been released in the expanded major label system. ‘Pac’s group, Tha Outlawz, remains independently releasing group and solo material.
In addition to Eazy’s solo works, N.W.A., Bone Thugs, and Above The Law, Ruthless was home to artists including The D.O.C., J.J. Fad, Kokane, and Penthouse Players Clique. Founded in 1986, the label has been run by Eazy’s widow, Tomica Woods-Wright since the mogul’s March, 1995 death. In the years since, Ruthless has signed King T, Kid Frost, and Hopsin, although all have since left the California-based imprint.
Priority Records, founded in 1984 by Bryan Turner, was a longtime independent music distributor based in Los Angeles. While the label found early mainstream success in signing the California Raisins claymation band, whose Marvin Gaye cover of “Heard It Through The Grapevine” became a hit. In the late 1980s that followed, Priority would distribute labels such as Ruthless, Rap-A-Lot, and others. The label would subsequently sign their own artists, such as Ice Cube, Mack 10, and 415. Releasing and distributing a plethora of platinum and gold albums, the label would find further success in the 1990s, distributing No Limit, Rawkus, and Roc-A-Fella Records. The label would later be acquired by EMI Records. The major label would subsequently assign Snoop Dogg, who worked with Priority in his time at Death Row and No Limit, to be Creative Director. Many of the former Priority staffers would later go on to help launch Strange Music and RBC Records.
While many former Priority staffers are slated to attend, no specifics have been announced on the event website.