Hip-Hop Hooray for Halloween (on eMusic)
For my costume this year, I’m dressing up as someone who has any business posting about hip-hop. Trick or treat? I see hip-hop is near the bottom of thread #s here, and I'm intent on continuing a series of one-note posts about eMusic, so here’s what appears to be left. Given that it’s the most popular style of music in the States, I can imagine obscure stuff without the hype and heavy production could go to one extreme or another in terms of appreciation. When I started the brute force search back in June I didn’t think there was enough hip-hop to make a list like this, let alone sustain someone who only or mainly downloaded it, but now I’m not sure. The quantity is definitely available (I count between 150 and 200 labels with at least some, as well as countless solo/unaffiliated MCs trying to make it on their own), and I hope bigger fans than I will comment on the quality.
The pertinent questions may be whether hip-hop fans ever subscribed to eMusic in significant numbers to get it, and whether any of those still subscribed would ever resort to a forum like this to find more. I have doubts.
Dedicated Labels I recommend: All City Dublin (beats); Are You Serious; Champagne P Summers; Chillhop Records; Excluded Ltd (grime, house, reggae); Eyrst; Freshmind; Crunchy Kids; Howie McDuffie; HW&W; lofi GVNG (beats); Kingz Umbrella llc; Meanbucket (beats, grime); Merts Nation; 131 Northside; Rad Summer; Rebel Writer; ShadowTrix; S.H.I.E.L.D.; Too Lost LLC; Tres Records; UNO NYC; WeGrowWax;
Dedicated Labels I find questionable: Amalgamated Muzik Group; Boot; Cassiopea; CONCORE ENTERTAINMENT; Currency Cartel Ent., LLC; Digital Storm; Dreaded Wolf Entertainment; 808 Entertainment; 80p LLC (Anyone who wants to browse hip-hop albums one or a few at a time can search labels for "LLC" or "Entertainment”); Frenzy Sounds; Get Dough High Sound (beats); Goodfellas (gangster house?); Kn0-Th30RY WRECK0RDS; Likewyse Productions; MoWet Entertainment; Mox Flex Entertainment; Musicheads; Trunk Go Boom, LLC; Innovations Music LLC; 2EIO Sounds, LLC; Unlabeled; Commonwealth Production Unit; Perth; Playaz Cliq; Skylar; Tama Industries; weOutThere Entertainment LLC; Raquemardon; U.N.T. Entertainment (Christian)
Indie gangsta rap I do not appreciate: Black Ice 45 Music Group; BUSINESS MINDED ENTERTAINMENT LLC; DiceHoods Entertainment LLC; DJ Central; Drum Majors ATL LLC; Gifted & Talented, LLC; KM Entertainment LLC; Low Bottom Entertainment LLC; Mad Prince; MizerMillion Entertainment; Move Quiet Entertainment; Mysterious Entertainment LLC; Negative Audio; 9th Ward Production and Promotions Company LLC; No Limit Forever East; On Our Own Entertainment LLC distributed by Red 3; Pounds Music LLC; Ragz 2 Richez Recordz; R.E.A.L.; S.D.Y.P. the Movement, LLC; Thug Boyz Entertainment; Trackoholic Music Group, LLC; Tree House Creations LLC; Vision & Vitality Entertainment. Those looking for new, indie trap especially might disagree with me. Perhaps there is some irony in the tendency for these artists to be obsessed with getting rich, given that their albums are still on eMusic whose reputation for compensation has come into serious question.
Of the labels offering MCs who rap in English, my top choices are HW&W for having high ratings in a small catalog, Eyrst out of Portland, OR, Rebel Writer for its unique backing tracks (but I wish they weren’t singles), ShadowTrix for being more on the electronic side, and Chillhop. Howie McDuffie is notable for having some big names the average listener will recognize.
For space, I’ve left out the many, many hip-hop albums on labels with mixed catalogs, of which Stones Throw is one of the best. Sometimes a rap album getting onto a label putting out a variety of music is a mark of quality, so by all means, lend a hand with those if you feel like the remaining dedicated labels are all low-grade. Search my full label list for hip-hop for those, and please report back the gems you find! http://www.omnifoo.info/pages/eMusic%20Labels.html
Does anyone listen to hip-hop in non-English languages, especially those they can’t understand? I’ll say I do, liking MC Solaar and TTC in French without speaking it for just two examples, but I’m not going to pay a lot for it or sort through much to find it. See the album list in a separate post for a boatload of examples.
Global hip-hop labels on eMusic for the adventurous…There’s actually also plenty in English if you dig. Big shout-out to linguistic imperialism!
(African) MIDIcinal; World_Str8; YMR NIG;
(Asia…China/Korea mainly) Gravity Music; Maestro Production; StreetVoice (the name sounds like they should be mostly hip-hop, but you’ve gotta dig through 700+ titles)
(France, Germany, Italy, Other Europe) Gimme Mo Records; Le Fornia; Relief Records EU Sas; Thot; Swish MGMT/France; Bassukah
(Iran) Aamizeh; TehRap; Pelak
(Israel) Dvarim e crew
(Latin or en español/Portuguese) Potoco Discos; Banana Network; Bear Busby; BoltMusic; GRIMEY; Media Play; Pirámide Perdida; STP MUZIK NATION; Terror Negro; Urbaton; Wavy; Secret Family; Sello Fisura; Suite Soprano; Vende; B9; blbonthebeat; Boa Musica; DK Music Canada; El Consul; 574; TeleYoli SoundStudio; Flow M. Mucho Rap C.A; Zotano Records LLC; Utopic Royal; Blackstar; Dope Muzik;
(Russia) HUMBLE PALACE; А+/Студия СОЮЗ; ActOrchestra; AFERA; AVK Продакшн; MAESTRIC; SAKURA; Siyah; TAPOCHQA; Flaxyz; Stolica; SUTYXIVE; Digital Project; 42; General Hits; Новая Школа; Trend;
(Poland/Eastern Europe) Aloha Entertainment; Aptaun; Stojedenascie; Asfalt; Biuro Ochrony Rapu; Hemp Rec.; NNJL Jacob Gendzwill; Prosto; Max Flo; New Media. I’ve claimed that there might be more Polish hip-hop left on the site than in English, but on finding the indie gangsta labels, I’ll retract it.
(Sweden, Norway, Finland, Iceland, Denmark) Wu Pægne; Petsamo Industries; PsykeRecords; Slow Motion Soundz Europe; 3rd Rail; Little Høg;
(Turkey, Balkans) Illegal Records; Kingdoz Studio; Workroom 11; SonStyLa Official
I’d be hard pressed to say which global labels elevate themselves above the others without understanding what the MCs are saying. Judging solely on perceived flow and production quality doesn’t quite seem fair. I hope some multilingual users can share what they find to be worthwhile. I’d start exploring with Potoco Discos, YMR NIG, the Nordic, Western European, Iranian, Israeli, Balkan, and Turkish labels unless you have leads to sort through the massive Polish and Russian selection.
Clearly it’s less of a question whether hip-hop is a global phenomenon than whether anyone in the world likes the hip-hop still on eMusic.