Ruff Ryders Entertainment

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Ruff Ryders Entertainment
Parent companyUniversal Music Group
Founded1988; 35 years ago (1988)[1]
FounderJoaquin "Waah" Dean
Darrin "Dee" Dean
Chivon Dean[1]
Country of originUnited States
Location33 S Broadway, Yonkers, New York,10701, U.S.

Ruff Ryders Entertainment is an American hip hop record label and management company founded by siblings and record executives Joaquin "Waah", Darin "Dee" and Chivon Dean.[2] It operated as a subsidiary of Universal, and distributed by Fontana Distribution. The label went on to launch the careers of several successful artists such as DMX, Eve, Drag-On and the Deans' nephew, Swizz Beatz, among others. The Ruff Ryders namesake also referred to a loose-knit hip hop collective composed of the core signees of the label. The collective's de facto leader was the label’s flagship artist DMX.


Rise and success[edit]

Ruff Ryders began as the managers of DMX and The LOX.

In 1997,[3] through Def Jam A&R Irv Gotti, Def Jam signed Ruff Ryders artist DMX. Following DMX's signing to Def Jam, Ruff Ryders was launched as a record label. DMX's first studio album, It's Dark and Hell is Hot was released on May 12, 1998 and was the first release from Ruff Ryders as a record label. Portion of the album were recorded at Ruff Ryders' main studio, Powerhouse studios. The album featured guest appearances from fellow Ruff Ryders artists Loose and Big Stan, as well as a then 17-year old Drag-On, who signed in 1997.[4] It also featured production from in-house Ruff Ryders producers P.K. and Dame Grease as well as the Deans' then teenage nephew Swizz Beatz, who was relatively unknown at the time. It's Dark And Hell And Hell Is Hot debuted at number 1 on the Billboard top 200 and sold over 250,000 copies in its first week.[5] The album went on to sell four million copies in America, being certified quadruple platinum by the RIAA, and sold five million copies worldwide.[6] The strong success of the album catapulted Ruff Ryders into mainstream success and prompted Def Jam's leader Lyor Cohen to challenge DMX to record another album quickly to have another album released within the same calendar year.[7] DMX's second studio album, Flesh of My Flesh, Blood of My Blood, was released on December 22, 1998 through Ruff Ryders and debuted at number one the Billboard Top 200. The album sold over 670,000 units in its first week of release, and went on to sell over four million copies.[8] By this time, Ruff Ryders enlisted Jay Jackson and Amelia Moore as A&R coordinators. Dee and Waah remained executive producers and A&Rs, with Dee also being the stylist for the label.

On March 28, 2000, Interscope and Ruff Ryders released Drag-On's debut studio album, Opposite of H2O. The album featured production from Ruff Ryders in house producers P.K./P. Killer Trackz, DJ Shok, Jay "Icepick Jay" Jackson, and Swizz Beatz as well as guest appearances from Ruff Ryders acts Parle, Eve, The LOX, Styles, Swizz Beatz, Jadakiss, and DMX. Supported by the moderately successful lead single Spit These Bars, the album peaked in the top 5 on the Billboard top 200 and was certified Gold in America. A Parle album, originally scheduled for an April 4, 2000 release, was ultimately shelved.

The label promoted the idea of all its acts being part of the "Ruff Ryders family", as evidenced when DMX won Best Rap Album at the 2000 Billboard Music Awards and was joined on stage by other Ruff Ryders when he went to accept his award.[9] That same year, Ruff Ryders toured with the Cash Money Millionaires from February to April.


In 2003, Ruff Ryders' deal with Interscope Records ended, though Jadakiss, Eve and Styles remained on Interscope. Shortly thereafter, Ruff Ryders signed a joint venture deal with Virgin Records.[10] That same year, Ruff Ryders signed Jin, a Miami, Florida born Chinese rapper who rose to prominence through winning many Freestyle Fridays rap battles on BET's 106 & Park.

The first release from Ruff Ryders under the Virgin deal was Drag-On's second studio album, Hell and Back, released in February 2004. The album featured appearances from Ruff Ryders artists Eve, DMX, Styles, Jadakiss and Swizz Beatz, who also provided production on the album. As a result of low promotion, Hell and Back was a commercial failure, only peaking at number 47 on the Billboard top 200 and failing to achieve gold status in America. Jin's debut album, The Rest Is History, was delayed multiple times before its October 2004 release. Upon release, the album was also a commercial failure, only selling 20,000 units in its first week and peaking at number 54 on the Billboard top 200. Contributing factors to the album failing were lack of promotion from Virgin Records and the online music piracy crisis of the 2000s.[11] The failure of both albums led to Ruff Ryders parting ways with Virgin Records.

2005 saw only one release from Ruff Ryders, Vol. 4: The Redemption, released through independent record company Artemis Records. The album peaked at number 40 on the Billboard top 200 and sold around 25,000 copies in its first week. It was the only Ruff Ryders album released through Artemis. That same year, DMX began working on his sixth studio album, then titled Here We Go Again. Though the album was initially scheduled to be release through Def Jam, tension between DMX and then-Def Jam president Jay-Z led to DMX leaving Def Jam. The album, now titled Year of the Dog... Again, was released in August 2006 through Ruff Ryders, Sony Urban Music and Columbia Records. The album debuted at number 2 on the Billboard top 200 but failed to achieve the same success that DMX previously achieved. That same year, Jin left the label as well as Drag-On who left to join Swizz Beatz's Full Surface Records.

Ruff Ryders released Styles P's Super Gangster (Extraordinary Gentleman) in 2007 and Jadakiss's The Last Kiss in 2009 through Interscope Records and Def Jam Recordings, respectively. The Last Kiss is the latest album released through Ruff Ryders, and Ruff Ryders has remained dormant since then due to not having funding and distribution from a record label.



In house producers[edit]

Marketing staff[edit]

  • Keisha Gibbs
  • Ignatius "Icepick Jay" Jackson (deceased)


Studio albums[edit]

Artist Album Details
DMX It's Dark and Hell Is Hot
  • Released: May 12, 1998
  • Chart position: #1 U.S.
  • RIAA certification: 4× Platinum
Flesh of My Flesh, Blood of My Blood
  • Released: December 22, 1998
  • Chart position: #1 U.S.
  • RIAA certification: 3× Platinum
Eve Let There Be Eve...Ruff Ryders' First Lady
  • Released: September 14, 1999
  • Chart position: #1 U.S.
  • RIAA certification: 2× Platinum
DMX ...And Then There Was X
  • Released: December 21, 1999
  • Chart position: #1 U.S.
  • RIAA certification: 5× Platinum
The Lox We Are the Streets
  • Released: January 25, 2000
  • Chart position: #5 U.S.
  • RIAA certification: Gold
Drag-On Opposite of H2O
  • Released: March 28, 2000
  • Chart position: #5 U.S.
  • RIAA certification: Gold
Eve Scorpion
  • Released: March 6, 2001
  • Chart position: #4 U.S.
  • RIAA certification: Platinum
Jadakiss Kiss tha Game Goodbye
  • Released: August 7, 2001
  • Chart position: #5 U.S.
  • RIAA certification: Gold
DMX The Great Depression
  • Released: October 23, 2001
  • Chart position: #1 U.S.
  • RIAA certification: Platinum
Styles P A Gangster and a Gentleman
  • Released: July 9, 2002
  • Chart position: #6 U.S.
  • RIAA certification: Gold
Eve Eve-Olution
  • Released: August 27, 2002
  • Chart position: #6 U.S.
  • RIAA certification: Gold
DMX Grand Champ
  • Released: September 16, 2003
  • Chart position: #1 U.S.
  • RIAA certification: Platinum
Drag-On Hell and Back
  • Released: February 10, 2004
  • Chart position: #47 U.S.
Jadakiss Kiss of Death
  • Released: June 22, 2004
  • Chart position: #1 U.S.
  • RIAA certification: Gold
Jin The Rest Is History
  • Released: October 19, 2004
  • Chart position: #54 U.S.
Sheek Louch After Taxes
  • Released: November 8, 2005
  • Chart position: #23 U.S.
DMX Year of the Dog... Again
  • Released: August 1, 2006
  • Chart position: #2 U.S.
Styles P Time is Money
  • Released: December 19, 2006
  • Chart position: #79 U.S.
Super Gangster (Extraordinary Gentleman)
  • Released: December 4, 2007
  • Chart position: #52 U.S.
Jadakiss The Last Kiss
  • Released: April 7, 2009
  • Chart position: #3 U.S.


Artist Album Details
Ruff Ryders Ryde or Die Vol. 1
  • Released: April 27, 1999
  • Chart position: #1 U.S.
  • RIAA certification: Platinum
Ruff Ryders Ryde or Die Vol. 2
  • Released: July 4, 2000
  • Chart position: #2 U.S.
  • RIAA certification: Platinum
Ruff Ryders Ryde or Die Vol. 3: In the "R" We Trust
  • Released: December 18, 2001
  • Chart position: #34 U.S.[12]
Ruff Ryders The Redemption Vol. 4
  • Released: July 26, 2005
DMX The Definition of X: The Pick of the Litter
  • Released: June 12, 2007 (US)[13]
  • Chart position: #26 U.S.
  • BPI: Silver[14]
DMX Playlist Your Way
  • Released: February 24, 2009 (US)[15]
DMX The Best of DMX
  • Released: January 26, 2010 (US)[16]
  • Chart position: #2 U.S.
  • BPI: Silver[17]
Ruff Ryders Ruff Ryders: Past, Present, Future
  • Released: November 21, 2011 (US)

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b (August 19, 2020). "5 Things To Know About Ruff Ryders". Black Entertainment Television. Retrieved October 18, 2021. In 1988, [Waah] formed a fledgling management company and brought Dee, along with their sister, Chivon, on board as his founding partners.
  2. ^ Phares, Heather. Biography of Ruff Ryders at AllMusic. Retrieved October 26, 2008.
  3. ^ "Executives Lyor Cohen and Kevin Liles Remember DMX & Reveal How He Helped Save Def Jam". Billboard. Retrieved May 28, 2022.
  4. ^ "Drag-On on Signing to Ruff Ryders After Losing Battle to DMX, Does DMX Impression (Part 2)". YouTube. May 18, 2021. Retrieved June 18, 2022.
  5. ^ "Today in Hip-Hop: DMX Drops 'It's Dark and Hell Is Hot'". Retrieved May 28, 2022.
  6. ^ "DMX's 'It's Dark And Hell Is Hot' Tracklist, Ranked". Retrieved May 28, 2022.
  7. ^ "DMX Earned $1 Million Bonus for 'Flesh of My Flesh, Blood of My Blood' by Recording Album in 30 Days". Retrieved May 28, 2022.
  9. ^ Simon, Reynolds (March 12, 2000). "Family Values in the Rap Business". The New York Times. Retrieved February 22, 2015.
  10. ^ "Ruff Ryders, Virgin Link For Joint Venture". Billboard. Retrieved July 11, 2022.
  11. ^ "The Rise, The Fall & The Rebirth Of The Ruff Ryders | Ruff Ryders Chronicles Finale". YouTube. September 17, 2020. Retrieved July 11, 2022.
  12. ^ Inc, Nielsen Business Media (January 19, 2002). Billboard. Nielsen Business Media, Inc. {{cite book}}: |last= has generic name (help)
  13. ^ Kellman, Andy. "The Definition of X: The Pick of the Litter – DMX". AllMusic. TiVo Corporation. Retrieved August 12, 2017.
  14. ^ "BPI: DMX". British Phonographic Industry.
  15. ^ "DMX – Playlist Your Way". Amazon. Retrieved August 12, 2017.
  16. ^ Jeffries, David. "The Best of DMX – DMX". AllMusic. TiVo Corporation. Retrieved August 12, 2017.
  17. ^ "BPI: DMX". British Phonographic Industry.

External links[edit]