Ruff Ryders, founded by Joaquin ‘Waah’ & Darrin ‘Dee’ Dean became the home of legends like Eve, Swizz Beatz, DMX, and The LOX. After a few minor setbacks, Ruff Ryders Indy was born and the label is back with new artists including Buffalo-bred rapper, Quadir Lateef.
Lateef is a force to be reckoned with. Inspired by greats like Lauryn Hill, Mos Def, Tupac and fellow Ruff Ryder DMX, Lateef wants to “spread a message of peace and righteousness."
"I just want to break the mold. I want [the people] to take away the essence of thinking. To become thinkers," he says. "To become proactive, not reactive. We have to really watch ourselves and watch our steps, especially people of color in America. When I’m speaking on [issues], I’m speaking on it to alert the people, ‘cause hip-hop always was the voice of the community."
Directed by Clifton Bell, Lateef’s first release from Ruff Ryders, “H.N.I.C. (Hip-Hop Needs Immense Change)” is a visual embodying the soul of the label. “Ruff Ryders are a family. They were created by a family and they became a nationwide family. Even though, you haven’t seen a whole lot from Ruff Ryders musically, but they still thrive on a social level, on a community level and I wanna help to rebuild something that contributed to hip-hop. I wanna help revive that musically.”
When discussing the video’s concept, Lateef notes that the visuals were meant to capture the spirit of the original Ruff Ryders movement. "So when you see the video, you see something that’s special. [Something] that you haven’t seen since like DMX or someone of that sort, but you see the people behind it, and you also see the love for the music. There is a demand for real hip-hop, for real music, and Ruff Ryders have been delivering it and will continue to deliver it.”
Ruff Ryders is here to stay because Lateef shared this exclusive tidbit with us: “There’s a Ruff Ryders Vol. 4: Past, Present & The Future album in the works. It’s gonna be the old artists like DMX is on there. EVE. Swizz Beats. Lox and other artists. These records are really really exciting records. It’s gonna push the new artists like Little Waah, Drew James, and myself.”
Watch the premiere of Quadir Lateef's "H.N.I.C." video below:
(Photo: Ruff Ryders Entertainment, Universal Music Group)