Rawkus Records

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Rawkus Records was an independent hip hop record label that had enjoyed considerable exposure.

Contents

History

Rawkus was established in 1996 by Brian Brater, Jarret Meyer and James Murdoch. Due to their connections to a source of money (James is the son of Rupert Murdoch), Rawkus had the budget to advertise as well as the big hip hop labels and as such they were able to gain underground credibility (advertising is not a real factor in gaining credibility, but helps). In 1999 it entered into a distribution deal with Interscope/Geffen, whose parent company was Universal Music. In 2004 the deal with Universal lapsed. Rawkus is currently without distribution and has ceased trading.

It was responsible for bringing fame to many underground hip hop acts such as Sir Menelik; Company Flow; Mos Def, Talib Kweli, collectively known as Black Star; Pharoahe Monch, Skillz and DJs and producers such as Hi Tek and Evil Dee.

The downfall of Rawkus is one of obscurity, due to little mainstream exposure of the record company itself. According to El-P, member of Company Flow, the cause of the implosion of Rawkus was its focus on selling records rather than making music that these acts wanted to make. In other words, Rawkus wanted their musicians to change their style of music to suit sales projections rather than the fans who bought all of Rawkus's releases. The catalyst for this was when Interscope/Geffen bought Rawkus and shifted the focus from underground acts producing what they want to acts producing what the labels want. Evil Dee said in a radio interview with Jay Smooth on 7 september 2001, “Hip hop means nothing to them. Nothing. They don't care; all they want is a check.” Evil Dee then impersonated a Rawkus executive in a tongue-in-cheek manner, saying “Hey if you put that dashiki and a gold chain you'll be phat!” Mister Walt, who was also being interviewed, put it best: “I've never seen a label, you know, I haven't even seen Def Jam have a fan base where, the kids see the razorblade (Rawkus's imprint, like Death Row Records' electric chair), they just buy it.” A little while later, Mister Walt continued his argument: “So these guys had a fanbase, and they turned [their] back on the fanbase.” Ultimately, in early 2004, Interscope/Geffen dropped the label and Rawkus folded, forcing everyone (including many of their best acts) to move to other labels (Company Flow left Rawkus over a dispute. El-P then formed Def Jux, what he thought Rawkus was supposed to be).

Discography

Singles

12" unless stated

  • 987-1 Talib Kweli Good To You / Put It In The Air
  • RBB 03 Various The Razorblade Breaks: The Original Cuts Vol 3.
  • RWK 111 Tactile Outside The Circles Of Time
  • RWK 124 Company Flow Blind / Tragedy Of War In III Parts
  • RWK 130 Sir Menelik Physical Jewels
  • RWK 133 Indelible Mc's Fire In Which You Burn / Collude Intrude
  • RWK 134 B-1 Verbal Affairs / Empire Staters
  • RWK 137 Mos Def Universal Magnetic
  • RWK 138 Mos Def The Universal Magnetic
  • RWK 141 L-Fudge What If / Liquid / Show Me Your Gratitude
  • RWK 143 Cyclops 4000 Space Cadillac
  • RWK 145 L-Fudge Liquid / What If? / Show Me Your Gratitude
  • RWK 146 Brick City Kids Brick City Kids / What What
  • RWK 147 Black Attack My Crown
  • RWK 148 Reflection Eternal Fortified Live
  • RWK 156 RA The Rugged Man Till My Heart Stops / Flipside
  • RWK 157 Various The Lyricist Lounge Vol.1 Presents Body Rock
  • RWK 161 Shabaam Sahdeeq Sound Clash / 5 Star Generals
  • RWK 163 B-1 Cardinal Sins
  • RWK 164 Company Flow End To End Burners
  • RWK 164-2 Company Flow End To End Burners... Episode 1 - CD
  • RWK 167 Sir Menelik Space Cadillac (Remix)
  • RWK 168 Medina Green Crosstown Beef / Fa-La-Lashe
  • RWK 173 Black Star Definition / Twice Inna Lifetime
  • RWK 181 Common One-Nine-Nine-Nine / Like They Used To Say
  • RWK 183 Various Lyricist Lounge All-Stars
  • RWK 186 Thirstin Howl III Brooklyn Hard Rock
  • RWK 189 DJ Spinna DJ Spinna Presents 'Rock' And 'Watch Dees'
  • RWK 193 Various Sound Bombing 2 (The Singles 1.)
  • RWK 195 Various Sound Bombing 2 (The Singles 2.)
  • RWK 197 Shabaam Sahdeeq Are You Ready / Concrete EP
  • RWK 200 High & Mighty, The Dirty Decibels
  • RWK 201 Hip Hop For Respect Hip Hop For Respect EP
  • RWK 203 Mos Def Ms. Fat Booty
  • RWK 205 Pharoahe Monch Simon Says / Behind Closed Doors EP
  • RWK 205T1 Pharoahe Monch Simon Says
  • RWK 205T2 Pharoahe Monch Simon Says (Roni Size & DJ Die Remix)
  • RWK 206 Mr. Complex Stabbin You' / Gitcha Gitcha Gitcha EP
  • RWK 212 Smut Peddlers First Name Smut / For The Record EP
  • RWK 213 Ripshop Versus / Crabfakers / Transmitt
  • RWK 218 Copywrite Holier Than Thou EP
  • RWK 222 Talib Kweli & Hi-Tek The Express / Some Kind Of Wonderful EP
  • RWK 225 Mad Skillz Ghost Writer EP
  • RWK 232P Mos Def Umi Says
  • RWK 241 Ronny Jordan A Brighter Day (DJ Spinna Remixes)
  • RWK 246-P Various Hip-Hop For Respect (One Four Love-Part I)
  • RWK 261 T Mos Def Umi Says
  • RWK 263 Akrobatik Internet MC's / The Flow / Sports Center
  • RWK 269 Various Lyricist Lounge Presents...
  • RWK 273 Smut Peddlers That Smut / Medicated Minutes EP
  • RWK 276-1 Cormega You Don't Want It / Take Mine / Killaz Theme
  • RWK 277 T Mos Def Ms. Fat Booty (Part II)
  • RWK 285 Big L Platinum Plus
  • RWK 287 Cage Suicidal Failure / The Weather Report / Dust vs. Ecstacy
  • RWK 288 P Mos Def and Pharaoh Monch feat. Nate Dogg Oh No
  • RWK 292 D-12 Shit On You / I Remember - Dedication To Whitey Ford
  • RWK 294 Talib Kweli & Hi-Tek The Blast
  • RWK 295-1 Cocoa Brovaz / Royce Da 5'9" Get Up / Let's Grow
  • RWK 300 Da Beatminerz Take That
  • RWK 301 T Mos Def, Nate Dogg & Pharoahe Monch / Cocoa Brovaz Oh No / Get Up
  • RWK 302 CD Mos Def, Nate Dogg & Pharoahe Monch / Cocoa Brovaz Oh No / Get Up - CD
  • RWK 303 T Mos Def and Pharaoh Monch feat. Nate Dogg Oh No (DJ Hype Remix)
  • RWK 309-1 Kool G Rap The Streets / Thug For Life
  • RWK 319-1 Last Emperor The Danger / The Umph
  • RWK 325 Skillz Ya'll Don't Wanna / Do It Real Big
  • RWK 328 Pete Rock Nothin' Lesser / Give It To Y'all
  • RWK 331 Smut Peddlers That Smut (Part 2)
  • RWK 338-1 Tragedy Khadafi What's Good?
  • RWK 343 Hi-Tek Round & Round
  • RWK 356-1 Kool G Rap My Life
  • RWK 53473-1 Black Star Respiration
  • TEK 001TP Hi-Tek Hi-Tek Sampler

Albums

Released on CD and Vinyl unless stated

  • RWK 1106-2 Various - Future Shock
  • RWK 1129-2 Various - Lyricist Lounge Volume One
  • RWK 1131 Various - Soundbombing
  • RWK 1134-1/2 Company Flow - Funcrusher Plus
  • RWK 1158 NL Black Star - The Instrumentals (LP only)
  • RWK 1158-1/2 Black Star - Mos Def & Talib Kweli Are Black Star
  • RWK 1159 Mos Def - Black On Both Sides
  • RWK 1164-1/2 DJ Spinna - Heavy Beats Volume 1
  • RWK 1167 High & Mighty, The - Home Field Advantage
  • RWK 1168-1 High & Mighty, The - Home Field Advantage - Instrumentals (LP only)
  • RWK 1171-1 Various - Egotrip's - The Big Playback
  • RWK 1177-1/2 Talib Kweli & Hi-Tek - Reflection Eternal
  • RWK 1178 Big L - The Big Picture (1974 - 1999)
  • RWK 1181 Jurassic 5 - Quality Control
  • RWK 1183 Jurassic 5 - Quality Control Instrumentals (LP only)
  • RWK 1198 CD Various - Hip Hop Classics Vol 1 (Limited Edition)
  • RWK 1199 Smut Peddlers - Porn Again
  • RWK 1205 Da Beatminerz - Brace 4 Impak
  • RWK 1209 Hi-Tek - Hi-Teknology
  • RWK 2002-1 Company Flow - Little Johnny From The Hospital
  • RWK 4992 Mos Def - Black On Both Sides
  • 088 112 Black Star - Mos Def & Talib Kweli Are Black Star
  • P2 26131 Various - Lyricist Lounge 2
  • P2 50069 Various - Soundbombing II
  • P2 26142 Various - Soundbombing III
  • P2 50137 Pharoahe Monch - Internal Affairs
  • RAW530 Big L - 1974-1999 Harlem's Finest - A Freestyle History
  • RWK PRO66 Mad Skillz - Skillz

See also

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