Wu-Tang, Pete Rock & Others Reunite To Celebrate 25+ Years Of Loud Records
Loud Records dominated the Rap music landscape in the 1990s and early 2000s. Steve Rifkind’s label has some of the greatest all-time albums in the genre. To do so, Loud took chances by signing and supporting acts that defied the model at the major labels. Rifkind had been a leader in marketing and promotion, including a pioneer of the Rap street team. The son of record industry veteran Jules Rifkind, Steve recognized that there was a discrepancy from the music that people thought was good in the tall skyscrapers and what was playing in cars, boomboxes, and Discman players at the street level.
Following early work with Twista and Mad Kap, Loud secured a distribution deal with RCA ahead of 1993. At that point, Loud released essential albums from Wu-Tang Clan, Mobb Deep, Big Pun, The Alkaholiks, Xzibit, Pete Rock, dead prez, Remy Ma, and others, all carrying the iconic headphones logo. In the case of the ‘Liks, Xzibit, Wu-Tang, and Twista, Loud was the imprint that introduced these acts. Notably, Loud hired Source magazine staffers Matteo “Matty C” Capoluongo and Schott “Free” Jacobs to lead the A&R Department during this period. In addition to Wu group efforts, the label was also home to solo works by Raekwon and Inspectah Deck.
At its commercial zenith, the label acquired the Relativity Records’ lineup, which led to pinnacle crossover success for M.O.P., The Beatnuts, and Three 6 Mafia. As one of the most diverse rosters in Rap, Loud included prominent acts from the East, West, and South. Moreover, the label featured bilingual Hip-Hop, including Delinquent Habits, turntablism stars, The X-Ecutioners, and pioneering Funkmaster Flex DJ compilation volumes.
In the mid-1990s, Rifkind sold half of his company to RCA. A handful of years later, in 2002, the Long Island, New Yorker sold the company to later distributor, Sony Records. It was in this time that Loud moved into film, including co-producing Paid In Full, in conjunction with Roc-A-Fella. While Rifkind would then launch SRC, a label that deeply tied to the careers of Akon, Asher Roth, and David Banner, it would lack the Hip-Hop cachet of Loud. Meanwhile, that label slowly faded from its glory as artists dispersed. Last year, Rifkind bought back Loud from Sony, according to Billboard.
With Loud back in Rifkind’s possession, some of its most beloved acts are participating in a concert homecoming. Not unlike recent gatherings by Bad Boy, Ruff Ryders, and No Limit, this celebration involves the former label-mates of the 1990s squad.
On October 11, a Loud 25 event will take place at Newark, New Jersey’s Prudential Center. Confirmed performers include Wu-Tang Clan, Tha Alkaholiks, Three 6 Mafia, M.O.P., Pete Rock, and dead prez. Notably, Mobb Deep’s Havoc will do a dedication set to his late band-mate, Prodigy. Fat Joe, who brought Pun to Loud in the mid-’90s, will also do a tribute to his onetime Terror Squad protege. Another one of Joe’s pupils, Remy Ma, will also perform. She worked with M.O.P. during the Loud era, before becoming a breakout star at Rifkind’s next venture.
If Three 6’s Juicy J and DJ Paul do perform together, it will mark a group reunion following more than five years on hiatus.
New music from Pete Rock, M.O.P.’s Billy Danze, and Ghostface Killah is available on the official Ambrosia For Heads playlist.