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Rawkus Records is an American hip hop record label known for jump-starting the careers of both Mos Def and Talib Kweli. Rawkus was searching for a new sound at first, with initial releases being in the genres ranging from Hip Hop to Drum & Bass. Label heads Brian Brater and Jarret Myer then signed local talent from the New York area, notably Mos Def, Talib Kweli, and Company Flow among others. Rawkus developed into one the dominant hip-hop labels of the '90s, issuing a string of 12" releases and full length albums. These releases helped initiate a resurgence in the New York/East Coast sound. Many of Rawkus' releases are considered "classics" among hip hop aficionados.

At the time of the mid to late '90s Rawkus among other burgening labels was considered a top independent record label in the underground hip hop scene. In addition to funding from News Corp, Rawkus was able to secure distribution deals with major labels and continued to release albums with varying success. With associations with major label limiting their album releases, many of their artist pursued other ventures.

Contents

Overview

Rawkus Records was established in 1996 by Brian Brater and Jarret Meyer, with financial backing from a school friend, James Murdoch, son of Rupert Murdoch. In 1999 the label entered into a distribution deal with Priority Records.

Over the years, Rawkus has recorded several notable independent hip hop artists, including Company Flow, the High and Mighty, Mos Def and Talib Kweli (as Blackstar), Common, Pharoahe Monch, and Skillz.

In 2002 Rawkus signed a joint venture deal with MCA. Soon after joining with MCA, MCA folded and Interscope/Geffen bought Rawkus. After the sale of its catalog In 2004 Rawkus split from Geffen.

In early 2007, Rawkus Records accepted album submissions from Hip Hop artists, known or unknown, to be considered for their new campaign. The 50 artists chosen to wear the Rawkus 50 badge were signed to a digital distribution deal through IODA's (Independent Online Distribution Alliance) digital distribution network and had their albums released under the banner "Rawkus 50 presents".

Rawkus 50

The Rawkus 50, according to the promotional materials, is a group of "the 50 next important Hip hop artists." In early 2007, Rawkus Records accepted album submissions from Hip Hop artists, known or unknown, to be considered for their new campaign. The 50 artists chosen to wear the Rawkus 50 badge were signed to a digital distribution deal through IODA's (Independent Online Distribution Alliance) digital distribution network and had their albums released under the banner "Rawkus 50 presents".

The Rawkus 50 project is a landmark undertaking in the music business. In an industry plagued with low physical album sales and digital music becoming more and more the norm in society, record labels have been trying various strategies to adjust to the new landscape. The Rawkus 50 project focus' on a digital distribution model to get the music to the masses and mixes part traditional marketing and internet/social networking based forms of promotion. The idea is to use the accumulated fan base of all 50 artists to promote the project as a whole via mediums such as Myspace, YouTube, and Rawkus Records own Ning site MyRawkus. In addition, Rawkus has taken out an ad in a major Hip Hop magazine XXL listing the names of all artists in the 50. Other promotional efforts are to include National Internet marketing and promotion, sponsored NY and LA Showcases for the artists to perform and blog and podcast hosting, marketing and promotion. Critics of this way of distributing and promoting hip hop argue that the idea is not, in fact, raw.

The musicians in the Rawkus 50 are: 12Bit, 3rd Brillyance, 6th Sense, Aarophat, Atllas, Barak Yalad, Bekay, Chuck Taylor, Clan Destined, Custom Made, Cymarshall Law, Cy Young, Doujah Raze, Dutchmassive, Dynas, East, Finale, Grandagent, [Hassaan Mackey][1], Intricate Minds, Kaimbr, Kaze, Kojoe, Krukid, Laws, L.E.G.A.C.Y., Mookie Jones, Mr. Metaphor, Phenetiks, Pizon, Prime, Protoman, Red Clay, Roddy Rod, Scanz, Scavone, Sev Statik, The1Shanti, SiLent Knight, The Smile Rays, SPAN PHLY, Spit Supreme, Spokinn Movement, SunN.Y., TheBreax, The Foundation, The Regiment, Together Brothers, Wildabeast, Willie Evans Jr.

Rawkus 50 Releases (In alphabetical order by artist name):

Artist Album
12Bit 12Bit
3rd Brillyance Grass Roots
6th Sense It's Coming Soon
Aarophat Aarodynamix
Atllas Arizona Ceasr
Barak Yalad A Loss For Words
Bekay The Horror Flick
Chuck Taylor Black Hop
Clan Destined And For Our Next Trick
Custom Made Truth Be Told
Cy Young Exactly
Cymarshall Law Hiphop In The Flesh
Doujah Raze Where You Are
Dutchmassive Crush Your System
Dynas Me, Myself & Rhymes
East The Right Direction
Finale Develop
Grand Agent Peak Oil / Agent & Raynge
Hassaan Mackey Soul For Sale
Intricate Minds Self-Hypnosis
Kaimbr Why Be Somebody Else
Kaze Block 2the Basement
kojoe Rawnin
Krukid Afr-I-Can
L.E.G.A.C.Y. L.E.G.A.C.Y.
Laws Super Thug Killa Rap EXCLAMATION
Mookie Jones Catch Me If You Can
Mr. Metaphor The Evolution of Marc Bars
Phenetiks Revolutionary Non-Pollutionary Mechanical Wonder
Pizon I Am Hip Hop
Prime From The Ground Up
Protoman Grey Area
Red Clay The Red Dawn
Roddy Rod Blunt Park Sessions (413)
scanz Prelude To A Legacy
Scavone The Rehab Record
Sev Statik & Dust Back To Dust
Silent Knight Hunger Strike
Span Phly Two Weeks Notice
Spit Supreme Whole Life For This
Spokinn Movement 60 Min. Spin Cycle
SunN.Y. Sun.N.Y.
The Foundation Forever Behind The Music
The Regiment The Come Up
The Smile Rays Smilin' On You
The1shanti the1shanti
TheBREAX theBREAX
Together Brothers Together Brothers
Wildabeast Many Levels
Wille Evans Jr. Communication

Artists

Discography

Studio Albums

Compilations

External links








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