Today in Hip Hop History: October 14, 1997
Rawkus Records was an American-based independent hip hop record label based in New York City from 1995-2007. The label was responsible for recruiting and signing the likes of Mos Def, Talib Kweli, Hi-Tek and Company Flow, who all proceeded to succeed within hip hop music. On this day in 1997, Rawkus Records released a compilation album, Soundbombing, which included all of the above artists plus many more.
The compilation contained a collection of singles and unreleased tracks by the likes of El-P, Rich Boogie, Sir Menelik, Mike Zoot, R.A. The Rugged Man, Black Star and several others both under the label and outside of it. Soundbombing was hosted by DJ Evil Dee and was the first installment in a long line of Rawkus Records compilation albums to come.
Unfortunately, the independent label was unable to keep up with the demands of the music industry. Despite turning several underground artists into mainstream stars, Rawkus closed its doors in 2004 when Geffen (now Interscope Geffen A&M) bought them out. After an attempted resurgence into the industry in 2006, the label finally became defunct in 2007. The socially conscientious record label will forever be remembered for its independent movement stirring the success of late 90’s and early to mid 2000’s hip hop, and the exposure of many successful artists to this day.