Founded by siblings Darrin “Dee” Dean, Joaquin “Waah” Dean and Chivon Dean, Ruff Ryders arose from the gritty streets of the South Bronx in the late 1998s, starting as an artist management firm, and went on to one of hip-hop’s most iconic dynasties. With the sound mostly backed by famed producer Swizz Beatz, who is also their nephew, the independent record label was an unstoppable force on the charts at the turn of the millennium. Featured artists included DMX and The Lox, revered lyricists in their own right, and Ruff Ryders official first lady, Eve.
Aside from the solo releases from affiliated artists, Ruff Ryders released the popular Ryde or Die compilation series (three volumes from 1999 to 2005). Rebranding as Ruff Ryders Indy in 2010, the multi-million dollar empire has since evolved to encompass film, lifestyle, and philanthropy.
BET presents “Ruff Ryders Chronicles” is a five part docu-series that aired in August 2020 and examines the hip-hop legacy of the music label’s rise to superstardom and features interviews from many of the artists on its roster.
Check out a special Ruff Ryders playlist on Pandora here.