Top 15 Hip Hop Labels of All Time
Hip Hop labels, in which are possibly part of the most popular genre of music of all-time, have produced millions of records sold and generated billions of dollars as the rise in its popularity has occurred over multiple generations. Below is a list of the top rap labels of all time from the 1990s and into the 2000s, which include labels that have produced 2 Pac, Jay-Z, Notorious BIG, Lil Wayne, Drake and numerous of others.
1. Roc-A-Fella Records
What began with the classic album Reasonable Doubt would lead to years of one of the best eras of hip hop as Jay-Z spearheaded the movement with the help of Volume 2 Hard Knock Life and Blueprint. Jay-Z, together with Beanie Sigel and Memphis Bleek releasing material would lead a machine that helped produced Kanye West, Camron, Diplomats, and State Property.
2. No Limit Records
A small company from New Orleans had 1998 on lock as Master P changed the game with a very friendly deal from Priority Records that made Master P one of the richest music executives of all time. No Limit would produce artists like Master P, Snoop Dogg, Mystikal, Soulja Slim, C-Murder, Fiend and numerous other artists, while accomplishing multiple gold and platinum records and most importantly an era of dozens of classic albums.
3. Death Row
At its peak when the West Coast dominated, expanding from 1992 to 1997, Death Row with the help from artists like 2Pac, Snoop Dogg, Dr Dre, and Tha Dogg Pound created classic West Coast albums like The Chronic, Doggystyle, Dogg Food, All Eyez On Me, as well soundtracks for Above The Rim, Gridlock’d, and Gang Related.
4. Cash Money
The introduction of Juvenile and 400 Degreez in 1999, even though they were making noise locally with B.G. and UNLV, led to rise of one of the largest labels expanding from the Hot Boys and Lil Wayne to later with Drake and Nikki Minaj.
Not until the arrival of Top Dawg Entertainment did the West Coast Hip Hop scene began to emerge after years of being inactive from the days of Death Row. A full roster of Kendrick Lamar, Jay Rock, Schooboy Q, and others has led the rap label of TDE having some of the world’s biggest artists sharing the same platform.
6. Bad Boy Records
Beginning in the early 1990s this record label founded by Puff Daddy, also known as P. Diddy, was the home for one of the greatest hip hop artists of all time, Notorious BIG, and would later become home to some of the biggest R&B acts of the 1990s along with the Lox, Mase, followed by French Montana and Machine Gun Kelly.
Aftermath, while Death Row was big in the 1990s, the 2000s and 2010s was without question Aftermath’s time for the most dominate West Coast rap label with its leader of Dr. Dre and a roster of some of the greatest including Kendrick Lamar, Eminem, 50 Cent, The Game and others.
8. So So Def
Long before Atlanta became a mecca known as today’s Black Hollywood Jermaine Dupri and So So Def was the top label in the city as the company released numerous of classic R&B and Rap albums from Xscape, Jagged Edge, Bow Wow, Da Brat, Kris Kross, Youngbloodz, Rocko, Bonecrusher and more.
9. Ruff Ryders
Ruff Ryders with DMX, Swizz Beatz, Eve, and the LOX at one point the Ruff Ryders was the top label in the game as DMX was on the verge of becoming one of the greatest of all-time.
10. Quality Control
QC, the hottest independent record label of the 2010s with some of the hottest rap acts of the 2010s, like Migos, City Girls, Lil Baby and Lil Yachty, coming from the hottest city of the rap game, Atlanta.
11. GOOD Music
GOOD, Getting Out Our Dreams is labeled founded by Kanye West after his success under Roc A Fella as an artist and a producer with a roster and releases from Big Sean, Pusha T, John Legend, Common, Kid Cudi and others.
12. Rap A Lot Records
From Scarface and the Geto Boys to Z-Ro to Devin The Dude to Pimp C, the legend J Prince became the first rap label to bring Hip Hop into the south and would pioneer a entire movement that would take over the rap industry.
13. Slip N Slide Records
Florida’s biggest independent rap label of all-time as some of the state’s largest acts were under their umbrella, like Rick Ross, Plies, Trick Daddy and Trina.
14. Hypnotize Minds
Hypnotize Minds, while Three 6 Mafia is one of the most copied acts of the modern day rap game, Hypnotize Minds was at the top in the Mid-South and Midwest during the late 1990s and early 2000s with the help of Project Pat, Three 6 Mafia and others.
15. Ruthless Records
Ruthless Records, beginning with Eazy-E and NWA and followed by Bone Thugs N Harmony this was one of the top and the largest West Coast labels.