Back in the mid-to-late 90s Hip-Hop was becoming increasingly more and more divided, with the creative line being drawn between mainstream major label acts such as DMX, The Lox and Cam’ron, and their many underground counterparts.
Of course, as is the case today, good music could be found on both sides of the commercial / underground divide, but a decade ago you were likely to get hit upside the head with a backpack if you even thought about placing Jay-Z above Aceyalone in the lyricist stakes.
Alongside other labels such as Fondle Em, GuessWhyld and Project Blowed, NYC’s Rawkus imprint was at the forefront of the subterranean rap movement, helping to introduce the likes of Mos Def, Talib Kweli, L-Fudge and Company Flow to the world.
Subsequent business dealings with Geffen would see the Rawkus brand swallowed up by the corporate music machine in the new millenium, but the label has recently been reborn, with their Rawkus 50 campaign announcing a bold return (shoutout to my online homie Slopfunkdust).
November 27th sees the offical online launch of this ambitious project. Read what Rawkus themselves had to say about the venture below and then check out a selection of videos from Hip-Hop’s new generation of underground talent.
“Chosen from hundreds of submissions, all Rawkus 50 artists’ profiles can be viewed on my.rawkus.com, a community platform that both blogs and artists share. A total of 650 exclusive tracks, representing 50 albums, will be available for digital download at I-Tunes and other relevant digital retailers worldwide. Each artist also has the option to independently release the music in physical CD form. To select the top 50 artists from a huge amount of submissions, Rawkus drafted veteran underground hip hop producer Slopfunkdust as Rawkus 50 A&R Director. All artists receive the marketing and promotion of Rawkus founders Brian Brater and Jarret Myer, who conceived of the Rawkus 50 as a countermeasure to falling CD sales and a general decline in artist development at music labels. “
Dynas – “Figure It Out”
L.E.G.A.C.Y. – “Bang”
Protoman ft. DJ Immortal – “Wake Up”
6th Sense – “I Wanna Tell Ya”