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The Top Ten Best Rap Labels of All Time

By: Alexander Z.

1. Def Jam


Biggest Former and Current Artists Include: Nas, Jay Z, Kayne, Rihanna, Dmx, and Run D.M.C.

Like Aftermath, Def Jam Recordings has had continued success through the decades. With some of the greatest artists of this generation like Nas, Jaz Z, and Kayne Def Jam has been killing it in the record label scene. Because they have had some of the biggest stars in rap every year they come in at first on this list.

2. Aftermath Entertainment Records

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Biggest Former and Current Artists Include: Dr. Dre, Eminem, Kendrick Lamar, 50 cent, Busta Rhymes, and Rakim

Founded in 1996 by Dr. Dre, Aftermath records dominated the rap industry from 1999 to 2010 signing some of the all-time greats like Eminem, Kendrick, Rakim, and many more. Not only did Aftermath sign Eminem, but they also helped him to create his own label, Shady Records, which continues to put out great music. It was very hard to decide, but Aftermath comes in on second on this list due to the label having only dominated for a certain period while Def Jam has never stopped being a major record label.

3. Death Row Records


Biggest Former and Current Artists Include: Tupac Shakur, Dr. Dre, and Snoop Dogg

Death Row Records might as well own all of the classic albums with Tupac, Dr. Dre, and Snoop Dog. Some of the greatest albums of all time like All Eyez on Me by Tupac, Doggystyle by Snoop, Don Killuminati: 7-day theory by Tupac, and The Chronic by Dr. Dre has come from Death Row Records. This label and these albums founded the West Coast G-Funk style and have made a mark on history. It was very hard to not put Death Row above Aftermath, but because of Aftermath’s continued success even to today, caused it to be put second.

4. Cash Money

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Biggest Former and Current Artists Include: Lil Wayne, Drake, Nicki, Tyga, and Dj Khaled

Cash Money is controlling the rap game right now with major artists including Lil Wayne, Drake, and Nicki. Similiar to Death Row Cash Money has changed the rap game forever by influencing the flow and rhythm of many modern artists. Cash Money Records could potentially be as big as Death Row and because of this potential, they come in at 3rd.

5. Good Music


Biggest Former and Current Artists Include: Kayne West, Big Sean, and Pusha T

With the help of Kayne West, Good Music has thrived. Kayne could easily help Good Music to the top three of this list in the next ten years. We will just have to wait and see what happens with Good Music in the future.

6. Roc-A-Fella 


Biggest Former and Current Artists Include: Jay Z and Kayne West

Roc-A-Fella Records founded by Jay Z owns some of the best albums in rap in the last decade. A few of these albums include Watch the Throne, My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, and Reasonable Doubt. Roc-A-Fella records is truly a great record label with the genius business mind of Jay Z behind it. If Jaz Z is successful like he has been with many of his ventures Roc-A-Fella will only continue to grow on this list and with success.

7. Bad Boy


Biggest Former and Current Artists Include: The Notorious B.I.G., Rick Ross, Jadakiss, French Montana, and Diddie

Founded by Sean Combs in 1993 Bad Boy Entertainment signed one of the best Artists of all time in Biggie Smalls. Unfortunately, Bad Boy’s current lineup of artists isn’t as impressive. If Bad Boy would have signed more once in a lifetime artists like Biggie Smalls they could easily have been 1st or 2nd, but they haven’t so Bad Boy Entertainment comes in at 6th.


8. Loud Music

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Biggest Former and Current Artists Include: Wu-Tang Clan, Dead Pres, and Twista

Loud Music did a great job of creating a distance sound for the Wu-Tang Clan which attributed to their success. Loud music hasn’t had continued success, but had many great old artists which is why they come in at 8th.

9. Dreamville

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Biggest Former and Current Artists Include: J cole, Cozz, and J.I.D

Dreamville like TDE is on list mainly due to the potential of their artists. J cole is a guaranteed star while Cozz and J.I.D. have a good chance, with J. Cole’s guidance, to be a star.

10. Top Dawg Entertainment


Biggest Former and Current Artists Include: Kendrick Lamar, Schoolboy Q, Jay Rock, and Ab-soul

Top Dawg Entertainment is rapidly growing in their ability to sign great artists and create high-quality music. Many of the artists on TDE had a possibility of being some of the best artists in the rap game ever. Kendrick Lamar is arguably already there while Schoolboy Q and Jay Rock have the talent to possibly get to Kendrick’s level in the future.

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