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southern Hip Hop
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The company was founded in Seattle in January 2008 by entertainment industry executive Scott Thomas. His extensive work in radio and music production lead to the creation of the label, when he realized that major labels were taking less chances on new and underdeveloped talent. With recent advances making audio production more accessible to artists everywhere and the rise of digitally distributed music, Thomas felt that some of the cost-prohibitive barriers to running a successful record label had been removed. The company has grown considerably since its beginnings. The label relocated to Las Vegas, in July 2009.
The first artist signed to the label was Northern California based rapper and radio personality Jiggy. His debut album "Jiggy" was released by the label in March 2008. The album initially had steady sales and the first single, "Irresistible" received airplay on dozens of radio stations.
Shortly after the release of the Jiggy album, Thomas reunited with longtime friend Shock G, front-man for the multi-platinum group Digital Underground. The group was signed to the label, and released their final studio album "..Cuz A d.u. Party Don't Stop!" in May 2008, which has had strong physical unit and digital sales. Two singles were chosen from the album, "Cali Boogie" and "Blue Skyy," both of which received very light west coast airplay, though the latter was featured during a nationally syndicated interview. In October 2008 the label re-released the 2004 solo album from Shock G "Fear Of A Mixed Planet" as a "Bonus Edition" with two new tracks. In May 2010, the label released another Digital Underground project, "The Greenlight EP" featuring several previously unreleased songs. The EP was met with critical success, and hailed as a positive "goodbye" release for the group, which has been disbanded since 2008. The EP was marketed as the final collection of unreleased songs. Notably, the EP features a live version of the group's hit "Same Song" which features a young Tupac Shakur prior to his rise to fame.
In July 2008, Jake Records signed longtime Digital Underground tour mates Element. Their "Variety Pak" album released in December 2008. Also in October 2008, the label announced its first imprint project, taking on distribution and marketing for Killer Groove, Inc. the production company founded by Hip Hop pioneer Almighty Kay Gee of The Cold Crush Brothers. The first release under that partnership was the debut album "Unexpected" from renowned Reggae/Dancehall producer Dainjamental, which hit stores in March 2009. Digital Underground protégé BINC has been signed to the label since 2009, and has released several singles including the San Francisco Bay Area hit "We So On." His debut album, entitled "200X" was released in January 2011.
The label has produced several specialty releases including the instrumental series "Beats For Ballers" featuring an up-and-coming Producer from Virginia Beach Tony Traxx and the acclaimed 2008 compilation album "Westside Bugg Presents... The Best Of The West" which featured tracks from Jake Records artists alongside well known west coast artists including The Conscious Daughters and Saafir. A compilation album entitled "Hip Hop Xplosion" was released as a digital-only release in April 2010, and featured several Jake Records artists along with several up and coming rappers. In a February 2011 interview, Thomas said the label was working on a new specialty release series called "Unsigned Grind" which will feature unsigned Hip Hop artists from around the country, though no specific release date was given.
The company was named a 2009 finalist in the American Business Awards.
- Shock G
- Digital Underground
- Jay Smith Biatch
- The EX Box Boys
- The Conscious Daughters
- Dae One
- Mobile Beat Magazine, August 2008, "Jake Records Joins IRIS Distribution's Elite Roster of Top Independent Labels"
- Yahoo News Online, "Jake Records Signs Hip Hop Group Element"
- Hip Hop Press, "Hip Hop Legend Kay Gee of The Cold Crush Brothers Signs Imprint Deal With Jake Records"
- NewsGuide.us, "Jake Records Signs Hip Hop Recording Artist Esinchill"