|Country of origin||United States|
|Location||New York City|
Rawkus Records was an American hip-hop record label known for jump-starting the careers of both Mos Def and Talib Kweli. Rawkus started in 1996 with initial releases ranging from hip-hop to drum and bass.
Label heads Brian Brater and Jarret Myer then signed some of the top underground talent from the New York area, notably Mos Def, Talib Kweli, Hi-Tek and Company Flow, who went on to define the label's sound. The string of 12" releases and full length albums that followed helped initiate a resurgence in the New York/East Coast sound. Many of these are considered classics among hip-hop aficionados. During the mid to late '90s, Rawkus became a dominant label in the underground hip-hop scene, producing a string of gold albums and a platinum album.
Rawkus Records was established in 1996 by Brian Brater and Jarret Myer, with financial backing from James Murdoch, son of Rupert Murdoch. In 1999 the label entered into a distribution deal with Priority Records.
Over the years, Rawkus has recorded several notable independent hip hop artists, including Reflection Eternal, Company Flow, the High and Mighty, Mos Def and Talib Kweli (as Blackstar), Eminem, Common, Pharoahe Monch, Block Speakers and Skillz.
In early 2007, Rawkus Records accepted album submissions from Hip Hop artists, known or unknown, to be considered for their new campaign. The 50 artists chosen to wear the Rawkus 50 badge were signed to a digital distribution deal through IODA's (Independent Online Distribution Alliance) digital distribution network and had their albums released under the banner "Rawkus 50 presents". Among the 50 were artists including Custom Made, L.E.G.A.C.Y. and Pizon.
- 1997: Company Flow - Funcrusher Plus
- 1997: Soundbombing
- 1998: Lyricist Lounge, Volume One
- 1998: Black Star - Mos Def and Talib Kweli are Black Star
- 1999: Company Flow - Little Johnny from the Hospitul: Breaks & Instrumentals Vol.1
- 1999: The High & Mighty- Home Field Advantage
- 1999: Mos Def - Black on Both Sides
- 1999: Pharoahe Monch - Internal Affairs
- 1999: DJ Spinna - Heavy Beats Volume 1
- 1999: Soundbombing 2
- 2000: Lyricist Lounge 2
- 2000: Hip Hop for Respect
- 2000: Ego Trip's The Big Playback - The Soundtrack to Ego Trip's Book of Rap Lists
- 2000: Big L - The Big Picture
- 2000: Talib Kweli & Hi-Tek - Train of Thought
- 2001: Smut Peddlers - Porn Again
- 2001: Hi-Tek - Hi-Teknology
- 2001: Da Beatminerz - Brace 4 Impak
- 2002: Mad Skillz - I Ain't Mad No More
- 2002: Talib Kweli - Quality
- 2002: Kool G Rap = The Giancana Story
- 2002: Soundbombing III
- 2004: Talib Kweli - The Beautiful Struggle
- 2005: Best of Decade I: 1995-2005
- 2006: The Procussions - 5 Sparrows for 2 Cents
- 2006: Kidz in the Hall - School Was My Hustle
- 2006: Panacea - Ink Is My Drink
- 2007: Mr. J. Medeiros - Of gods and girls
- 2007: Blue Scholars - Bayani
- 2007: Marco Polo - Port Authority
- 2007: Panacea - The Scenic Route
- 2007: Point Blank - Don't Get Carried Away
- 2007: Hezekiah - I Predict A Riot
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- Pratley, Nils (10 November 2003). "Ivy League to Isleworth". London: Guardian News and Media Limited.