All Def Music: Record Label Transformations

Hip hop's most dramatic label changes.

Russell Simmons, @UncleRUSH - Tweet: "Crazy how I praise maculamore saying he had one of if not the most inspiring song of year and some media interpret that as a diss..?"Maybe Uncle Rush's confusion as to how his words of kindness have been taken out of context pertaining to Macklemore and his music-making skills rattled his spelling abilities. #gotitalltwisted(Photo: Chris Weeks/Getty Images for G-Star)

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All Def Music: Record Label Transformations - Russell Simmons is the co-founder of the label that helped build hip hop: Def Jam; and after a series of sales and mergers, he let the company go (reportedly for $100 million). Now, more than a decade later, Uncle Rush is renewing his claim of the "Def" brand name with the launch of All Def Music, a probable game-changer that focuses exclusively on signing YouTube artists.This isn't the first time, however, that a record label has gone through such an evolution. From Roc-A-Fella to Roc Nation to the flourishing of YMCMB from Cash Money, we’ve rounded up some of hip hop's most notable record label transformations.By: Moriba Cummings(Photo: Chris Weeks/Getty Images for G-Star)

From Roc-A-Fella Records to Roc Nation - Roc-A-Fella Records was born out of a partnership between then rising mogul Damon Dash and a young Jay Z, who was being rejected by the major labels. The two decided to release independently and sign their own artists. After years of success, Hov?s relationship with Dash became strained, and it was agreed without Dash?s knowledge that the label would be sold to Def Jam for $10 million. Jay became president of Def Jam (for a brief stint before resigning). Dash attempted to reclaim the Roc brand with Roc4Life under Def Jam (but to no avail). And, in 2008, Jay singed a $150 million deal with Live Nation, including funds to cover overhead of what is now known as Roc Nation, which boasts management of the likes of J. Cole, Rihanna and Wale.(Photos from left: Roc Nation, Roc-a-Fella Records)

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From Roc-A-Fella Records to Roc Nation - Roc-A-Fella Records was born out of a partnership between then rising mogul Damon Dash and a young Jay Z, who was being rejected by the major labels. The two decided to release independently and sign their own artists. After years of success, Hov’s relationship with Dash became strained, and it was agreed without Dash’s knowledge that the label would be sold to Def Jam for $10 million. Jay became president of Def Jam (for a brief stint before resigning). Dash attempted to reclaim the Roc brand with Roc4Life under Def Jam (but to no avail). And, in 2008, Jay singed a $150 million deal with Live Nation, including funds to cover overhead of what is now known as Roc Nation, which boasts management of the likes of J. Cole, Rihanna and Wale.(Photos from left: Roc Nation, Roc-a-Fella Records)

Priority Records Relaunches With Just Blaze - Priority Records, the leading force in gangsta rap, was once the home of hip hop greats like Ice Cube, N.W.A. and Dr. Dre. After being on hiatus for a while, Priority Records is back and has completely revamped its roster. Described recently by Billboard as being a producer-driven label focusing on electronic and progressive urban music, the new and improved Priority Records will be made public Aug. 13 with the release of Just Blaze?s new single, ?Higher,? featuring Jay Z.(Photos from left: Isaac Brekken/Getty Images for Beats by Dre, Priority Records)

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Priority Records Relaunches With Just Blaze - Priority Records, the leading force in gangsta rap, was once the home of hip hop greats like Ice Cube, N.W.A. and Dr. Dre. After being on hiatus for a while, Priority Records is back and has completely revamped its roster. Described recently by Billboard as being a producer-driven label focusing on electronic and progressive urban music, the new and improved Priority Records will be made public Aug. 13 with the release of Just Blaze’s new single, “Higher,” featuring Jay Z.(Photos from left: Isaac Brekken/Getty Images for Beats by Dre, Priority Records)

Maybach Music Group Begins Takeover - The first album ever released by the Maybach Music Group was its founders' third studio LP, Deeper Than Rap, and after the success of his project, Rick Ross decided to focus more on developing the label's artist roster. Since then, MMG has expanded like no other, housing some of today?s biggest artists like Wale, French Montana and Meek Mill. In 2011, expanding his brand name, the bawse announced that there will soon be an MMG Jamaica and an MMG Latino.(Photo: Maybach Music Group)

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Maybach Music Group Begins Takeover - The first album ever released by the Maybach Music Group was its founders' third studio LP, Deeper Than Rap, and after the success of his project, Rick Ross decided to focus more on developing the label's artist roster. Since then, MMG has expanded like no other, housing some of today’s biggest artists like Wale, French Montana and Meek Mill. In 2011, expanding his brand name, the bawse announced that there will soon be an MMG Jamaica and an MMG Latino.(Photo: Maybach Music Group)

Murder Inc Becomes Simply, The Inc. - Murder Inc. launched the lucrative careers of Ashanti, Ja Rule and Lil? Mo. Founded by music executive Irv Gotti, the label got off to a speedy start, garnering the reputation as one of the most successful labels of its time. But things became rocky for the label when Gotti was accused of money laundering, and Ja Rule feuded with 50 Cent. The public image was further damaged by murders in beefing rappers' crews. Gotti ultimately decided that the label would simply be called "The Inc." and spent the next years recovering considerably. Now, however, the label is inactive (but not defunct).(Photo: The INC Records)

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Murder Inc Becomes Simply, The Inc. - Murder Inc. launched the lucrative careers of Ashanti, Ja Rule and Lil’ Mo. Founded by music executive Irv Gotti, the label got off to a speedy start, garnering the reputation as one of the most successful labels of its time. But things became rocky for the label when Gotti was accused of money laundering, and Ja Rule feuded with 50 Cent. The public image was further damaged by murders in beefing rappers' crews. Gotti ultimately decided that the label would simply be called "The Inc." and spent the next years recovering considerably. Now, however, the label is inactive (but not defunct).(Photo: The INC Records)

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Cash Money Yields YMCMB - Brothers Birdman and Slim founded Cash Money in 1991. For the first few years it had regional popularity and signed young talents like B.G., Young Buck and Lil Wayne. By 1997, the label launched the Hot Boys and got the attention of Universal. And though it's still releasing records (like the recent Rich Gang album), it spawned one of the most notable label offshoots, Young Money Entertainment (aka Young Money Cash Money Billionaires), founded by a now grown up Wayne. Since its start in 2005, YMCMB has quickly taken hold of the industry, already having released a whopping seven U.S. No. 1 albums including Nicki?s Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded, Drake?s Take Care and Weezy?s Tha Carter III.(Photos from left: YMCMB, Cash Money Records)

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Cash Money Yields YMCMB - Brothers Birdman and Slim founded Cash Money in 1991. For the first few years it had regional popularity and signed young talents like B.G., Young Buck and Lil Wayne. By 1997, the label launched the Hot Boys and got the attention of Universal. And though it's still releasing records (like the recent Rich Gang album), it spawned one of the most notable label offshoots, Young Money Entertainment (aka Young Money Cash Money Billionaires), founded by a now grown up Wayne. Since its start in 2005, YMCMB has quickly taken hold of the industry, already having released a whopping seven U.S. No. 1 albums including Nicki’s Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded, Drake’s Take Care and Weezy’s Tha Carter III.(Photos from left: YMCMB, Cash Money Records)

Brick Squads Survive Label Head Disputes - After a stint in jail Gucci Mane decided to rename his independent label So Icy Entertainment. The name Gooch chose: 1017 Brick Squad. He signed himself and Waka Flocka Flame (despite also breaking from Waka's mom's management team, Mizay Entertainment). Flame then launched his own label under the Brick Squad umbrella label, Brick Squad Monopoly, and the belief has been so strong in the brand that even after public disputes with Gooch, Waka has maintained that he'll always rep the Squad. Gucci hasn't given up either, saying that any beefs with Waka are just disagreements between friends. He's now focused on building the label's roster, recently adding Chief Keef.(Photos from left: WireImage, Brick Squad Records)

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Brick Squads Survive Label Head Disputes - After a stint in jail Gucci Mane decided to rename his independent label So Icy Entertainment. The name Gooch chose: 1017 Brick Squad. He signed himself and Waka Flocka Flame (despite also breaking from Waka's mom's management team, Mizay Entertainment). Flame then launched his own label under the Brick Squad umbrella label, Brick Squad Monopoly, and the belief has been so strong in the brand that even after public disputes with Gooch, Waka has maintained that he'll always rep the Squad. Gucci hasn't given up either, saying that any beefs with Waka are just disagreements between friends. He's now focused on building the label's roster, recently adding Chief Keef.(Photos from left: WireImage, Brick Squad Records)

Loud Records Joins Uncle Russ - Loud Records, founded by Steve Rifkind, produced Wu-Tang Clan, Mobb Deep and Three 6 Mafia, but after a series of failed deals, the label folded in 2002. In 2011, it looked like Loud Records was making a comeback as Rifkind took to Twitter to announce that the label will be revamped with the release of rapper Asher Roth?s new project. (?Not only are we partnering up with Def Jam on @asherroth album it will be under the LOUD RECORDS imprint.?) But now both Roth and Rifkind are over at All Def Music with Russell Simmons.(Photos from left: Bob Berg/Getty Images, Loud Records)

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Loud Records Joins Uncle Russ - Loud Records, founded by Steve Rifkind, produced Wu-Tang Clan, Mobb Deep and Three 6 Mafia, but after a series of failed deals, the label folded in 2002. In 2011, it looked like Loud Records was making a comeback as Rifkind took to Twitter to announce that the label will be revamped with the release of rapper Asher Roth’s new project. (“Not only are we partnering up with Def Jam on @asherroth album it will be under the LOUD RECORDS imprint.”) But now both Roth and Rifkind are over at All Def Music with Russell Simmons.(Photos from left: Bob Berg/Getty Images, Loud Records)

RuffHouse Records Relaunches With Beanie Sigel - As one of the first to ever do it in the hip hop community, Ruffhouse Records was founded by music and film tycoon Chris Schwartz in 1989. In a collaborative effort with Columbia Records, it released Cyprus Hill's Black Sunday, both full-length albums from The Fugee's and the 5-time Grammy-winning Miseducation of Lauryn Hill. Still, the label folded in 1999. More than a decade later, Schwartz decided to relaunch the brand, starting with Beanie Sigel's This Time in 2012 and Canadian crooner Glenn Lewis' Moment of Truth (scheduled for Oct. 15, 2013).(Photos: Ruffhouse Records)

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RuffHouse Records Relaunches With Beanie Sigel - As one of the first to ever do it in the hip hop community, Ruffhouse Records was founded by music and film tycoon Chris Schwartz in 1989. In a collaborative effort with Columbia Records, it released Cyprus Hill's Black Sunday, both full-length albums from The Fugee's and the 5-time Grammy-winning Miseducation of Lauryn Hill. Still, the label folded in 1999. More than a decade later, Schwartz decided to relaunch the brand, starting with Beanie Sigel's This Time in 2012 and Canadian crooner Glenn Lewis' Moment of Truth (scheduled for Oct. 15, 2013).(Photos: Ruffhouse Records)

No Limit Becomes No Limit Forever - ?Lil?? Romeo is all grown up; he?s even ditched the ?Lil?? and just goes by Romeo now. And if that wasn?t enough to prove that he means business, the up-and-coming mogul is taking up where his father, Master P, left off and is set to restore the greatness that was No Limit Records, one of the most successful independent labels in the ?90s. Teaming up with his brother Valentino, his uncle Silkk The Shocker and cousin Black Don, Romeo is recreating the label with a new name: No Limit Forever; and a new focus: digital content.(photo: John Ricard / BET)

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No Limit Becomes No Limit Forever - “Lil’” Romeo is all grown up; he’s even ditched the “Lil’” and just goes by Romeo now. And if that wasn’t enough to prove that he means business, the up-and-coming mogul is taking up where his father, Master P, left off and is set to restore the greatness that was No Limit Records, one of the most successful independent labels in the ‘90s. Teaming up with his brother Valentino, his uncle Silkk The Shocker and cousin Black Don, Romeo is recreating the label with a new name: No Limit Forever; and a new focus: digital content.(photo: John Ricard / BET)

Death Row Records Gets Auctioned Off - Responsible for the larger-than-life careers of Dr. Dre, Tupac Shakur and most notably Snoop Dogg (now Snoop Lion), Death Row Records, founded in 1991, was the place to be in the early ?90s. Unfortunately, the label never fully recovered from the Pac's death, and Suge Knight's incarceration (even though he tried to operate it from behind bars). Ultimately, The Row filed for bankruptcy in 2006. In 2009, entertainment development company WIDEawake Entertainment Group, Inc. bought the label at an auction for $18 million, and attempted to revive it with releases from its vault (like Snoop Doggy Dogg ?Death Row the Lost Sessions Vol 1), but that company ended up filing for bankruptcy as well.(Photos from left: Jason Merritt/Getty Images, Death Row Records)

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Death Row Records Gets Auctioned Off - Responsible for the larger-than-life careers of Dr. Dre, Tupac Shakur and most notably Snoop Dogg (now Snoop Lion), Death Row Records, founded in 1991, was the place to be in the early ‘90s. Unfortunately, the label never fully recovered from the Pac's death, and Suge Knight's incarceration (even though he tried to operate it from behind bars). Ultimately, The Row filed for bankruptcy in 2006. In 2009, entertainment development company WIDEawake Entertainment Group, Inc. bought the label at an auction for $18 million, and attempted to revive it with releases from its vault (like Snoop Doggy Dogg —Death Row the Lost Sessions Vol 1), but that company ended up filing for bankruptcy as well.(Photos from left: Jason Merritt/Getty Images, Death Row Records)