DR DRE RECORD LABEL INFO
More than any other rapper, Dr. Dre was responsible for moving away from the avant-noise and political stance of Public Enemy and Boogie Down Productions as well as the party vibes of old-school rap.
When he left N.W.A. in 1992, he founded Death Row Records with Suge Knight, and the label quickly became the dominant force in mid-'90s hip-hop thanks to his debut, 'The Chronic'. Soon, most rap records imitated its sound, and his productions for Snoop Doggy Dogg and Blackstreet were massive hits. For nearly four years, G-funk dominated hip-hop, and Dre had enough sense to abandon it and Death Row just before the whole empire collapsed in late 1996. The Death Row dynasty held strong until the spring of 1996, when Dre grew frustrated with Knight's strong-arm techniques. At the time, Death Row was devoting itself to 2-Pac's label debut 'All Eyez on Me' (which featured Dre on the breakthrough hit, "California Love") and Snoop was busy recovering from his draining murder trial.
Dre left the label in the summer of 1996 and retaliated by forming a new company, Aftermath, declaring gangsta rap was dead, and while it was initially slow getting started, his bold moves forward earned critical respect.
While he was subjected to endless taunts from his former Death Row colleagues, their sales slipped by 97, mainly due to the death of the now legendary, Tupac Shakur (2pac), and Knight was imprisoned on racketeering charges by the end of the year. Dre's first album for Aftermath, the various artists collection 'Dr. Dre Presents...The Aftermath' received considerable media attention, but the record didn't become a hit, despite the presence of his hit single, "Been There Done That." Even though the album wasn't a success, the implosion of Death Row in 1997 proved that Dre's inclinations were correct at the time.
However, a 'white' Kansas City, MO, rhymer, born Slim Shady was not only going to be spotted by HipHop's most talented and reputable producer, Dr Dre himself, but was going to change the direction, sound, and future of HipHop, in every imaginalbe way.
Later that year, Dr. Dre signs Eminem AKA Slim Shady to his Aftermath label after hearing the rapper freestyling on a Los Angeles radio station, and he listened well, as not many rappers can go on a national tour months before their major-label debut album is released. Then again, Eminem isn't an average rapper. He's phenomenal.
Soon after signing Eminem, the 'Slim Shady LP' is released on Feb. 23, 1999 and hits No. 2 on the Billboard charts within weeks. Chock full of dazzling lyrical escapades that delve into the mind of a violently warped and yet extremely talented wordsmith. The 14-cut collection contains some of the most memorable and demented lyrics ever recorded. The album was so contraversial that the constant media attention it recieved helped the album sales, and also shot Eminem to super stardom. Many other, just as contraversial, lyrical masterpieces, where released including 'Marshall Mathers LP' and 'Eminem Show', these albums gained even more attention, but also respect form all of HipHop and also media. It now seems that Eminem is getting bigger with every album release and now has signed his own sidekicks, 'D12', on his own label, Shady Rec's. Along with a clothing line and many other side projects Eminem is and will be for a long time, lyrically feared by other such artists, and a rap super star on a par with Tupac and Biggie.
Dre Dre didnt stop, he then signed another rapper that would gain a lot of media attention, which I believe is now and always has been the key to success in rap. This artist would start beefs with top artists, with Eminem to help him, had been shot 9 times, been a drug dealer with a very hard troubled past, perfect to market easily, eh?
This man, was Cutis Jackson, hard eastcoast rapper known as 50 Cent. Born and raised in Southside Jamaica, Queens, 50 grew up in a broken home. His hustler mother passed away when he was only eight, and his father departed soon after, leaving his grandmother to parent him. As a teen, he followed the lead of his mother and began hustling. His break came in 1996 when he met Run-D.M.C.'s Jam Master Jay, who gave him a tape of beats and asked him to rap over it. Impressed by what he heard, Jay signed the aspiring rapper to his JMJ Records label. Not much resulted from the deal, though, and 50 affiliated himself with Trackmasters, a commercially successful New York-based production duo (comprised of Poke and Tone) known for their work with such artists as Nas and Jay-Z. Trackmasters signed the rapper to their Columbia sublabel and began work on his debut album, 'Power of the Dollar'. A trio of singles preceded the album's proposed release: "Your Life's on the Line," "Thug Love" (featuring Destiny's Child), and "How to Rob."
The latter track became a sizable hit, attracting a lot of attention for itsbaiting lyrics that detail how 50 would rob particular big-name rappers. This willingness to rap openly and brashly and the attention it attracted came back to haunt him, however. His first post-success brush with death came shortly after the release of "How to Rob," when he was stabbed at the Hit Factory studio on West 54th Street in Manhattan. Shortly afterward came his most storied incident: On May 24, 2000, just before Columbia was set to release 'Power of the Dollar', an assassin attempted to take 50's life on 161st Street in Jamaica, Queens (near where Jam Master Jay would later be fatally shot two and half years later), shooting him nine times with a 9mm pistol while the rapper sat helpless in the passenger seat of a car. One shot pierced his cheek, another his hand, and the seven others his legs and thighs; yet he survived, barely. Even so, Columbia wanted nothing to do with 50 when they heard the news, shelving Power of the Dollar and parting ways with the now-controversial rapper.
During the next two years, 50 returned to the rap underground where he began. He formed a collective (G Unit, which also featured Lloyd Banks and Tony Yayo), worked closely with producer Sha Money XL (who had also been signed to JMJ around the same time that 50 had). Many mixtape performances gained good attention for 50 and his crew and earned him an esteemed reputation on New York Streets.
This constant mix-tape presence throughout 2000-2002 garnered industry attention as well as street esteem, particularly when Eminem declared on a radio show his admiration for 50. A bidding war ensued, as Em had to fend off numerous other industry figures, all of whom hoped to sign 50 cent, driving up the signing price into the million-plus figures in the process and slowly moving the rapper into the up-and-coming spotlight once again as word spread.
Despite the bidding war, Eminem indeed got his man, signing 50 to a joint deal with Shady/Aftermath; the former label Em's, the latter Dr. Dre's. During the successive months, 50 worked closely with Em and Dre, who would co-executive produce his upcoming debut, 'Get Rich or Die Tryin', each of them producing a few tracks for the highly awaited album. Before Get Rich dropped, though, Em debuted 50 on the 8 Mile soundtrack. The previously released (via the underground, that is) "Wanksta" became a runaway hit in late 2002, setting the stage for "In da Club," the Dre-produced lead single from Get Rich. The two singles became sizable crossover hits -- the former peaking at number 13 on Billboard's Hot 100 chart, the latter at number one -- and Interscope (Shady/Aftermath's parent company) had to move up Get Rich's release date to combat bootlegging as a result.
By the time Get Rich finally streeted on February 6, 2003, he had become the most discussed figure in the music industry, and, bootlegging or not, his initial sales figures reflected this (a record breaking 872,000 units moved in five days; the best-selling debut album since SoundScan started its tracking system in May 1991), as did his omnipresence in the media.
Dr Dre's Aftermath Records, I believe, has the brightest future, with the biggest rappers in tha game at tha moment, including; himself, 50 Cent, G-Unit, Eminem, Eve (formerly of Ruff Ryders), Busta Rhymes, and new emerging additions, Tha Game and Stat Quo. Keep an eye on the Aftermath and Shady Records artists, big things will always be happening, however this may result in bad endings, as it normally does with HipHop.
This information was correct at time of post, August 2006.
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