Retrospective: The Ruff Ryders Movement

By @TrueGodImmortal

Double R.... The movement. Ruff Ryders meant more to hip hop than we will likely ever realize. Originally, the basis of the movement came from a crew of bikers(motorcycle riders/ATV riders) that turned into a record label. The label heads Dee and Waah set up shop in the late 90s with the help of their nephew Swizz Beatz, who was a producer with his stock on the rise. The person at the forefront of the movement was the megastar DMX, who was competing for the title of the best rapper out in 1998-1999.

When X arrived on the scene, he made sure to put his crew on the main stage with him. The single "Ruff Ryders Anthem" made everybody chant along and want to be a part of what the Ruff Ryders had in store. X would go on to release two straight classic albums with "Its Dark... And Hell Is Hot" and "Flesh of My Flesh, Blood of My Blood" with both going 5X platinum at least. X was on top of the world, selling a combined 11 million records in less than one year. With X in position as one of the biggest stars in music now, the Ruff Ryders could start to focus on other artists to build and the collective itself.

The Ruff Ryders began releasing compilation albums in 1999, beginning with the underrated classic "Ryde or Die Vol. 1", which featured the classic songs "What Ya Want" by Eve, "Jigga My Nigga" by Jay-Z, "Kiss Of Death" by Jadakiss, "Pina Colada" by Big Pun and Sheek Louch, and of course, "Down Bottom" by Drag-On and Juvenile. The compilation went platinum plus, furthering showcasing the dominance that the Ruff Ryders had.

Vol. 2 of Ryde or Die was released in the summer of 2000, and sold over 250,000 copies the first week, eventually creeping to platinum. Though this edition was not as infamous as the first, it still sold well and featured the classic track "WW III" with Snoop Dogg, Yung Wun, Scarface, and Jadakiss. The 3rd edition was solid as well, and while it only cracked gold in sales, the album attempted to showcase some of the newer artists on the label, as well as highlight some artists from different areas, as Bubba Sparxxx, Petey Pablo, Ludacris, David Banner and even Tha Eastsidaz made appearances here. There was a 4th edition of Ryde or Die, but the less said about this the better.

When looking at the Ruff Ryders as a collective, they had a lot of strong pieces in place. While X was the true face of the movement, and Swizz provided the sound, the supporting players were essentially vital as well.


-A female rapper from Philly, brought a bit of star quality to the movement, with her abrasive rhyme style, aggressive lyricism, but laid back flow. Her first album "Let There Be Eve.. Ruff Ryders First Lady" was an instant hit, debuting at no. 1 on the Billboard 200 chart off the strength of the hit single "Love Is Blind", which covered the topic of domestic violence and abuse in relationships. The album would eventually be certified double platinum, solidifying Eve as the second big star that Double R was looking for.

She would follow up that success with her sophomore album "Scorpion", which garnered her a grammy for the smash single "Let Me Blow Your Mind" featuring Gwen Stefani and reached platinum as well. Eve would once again see success on her third album, "Eve-Olution", which spawned another big hit in "Gangsta Lovin" with Alicia Keys, leading her third album to easily crack gold. Eve has since stayed away from music mostly, as she has managed acting gigs and other various opportunities but her role in the Ruff Ryders was very crucial.

*The LOX

-Jada. Styles. Sheek. The trio from Yonkers came to the Ruff Ryders after a crazy debacle with getting off of Bad Boy Records. Once they were settled in at Double R, they released their "We Are The Streets" album, which spawned the hit single "Ryde or Die, Bitch". The album would end up certified gold easily and eventually reached platinum, making The LOX's move to Double R a success. Eventually, the trio would venture off into solo projects, as Jada began carrying the Double R flag heavily while X was dealing with his troubles.

Jada and Styles released solo albums in summer 2001 and summer 2002 respectively, "Kiss The Game Goodbye" and "A Gangster And A Gentleman". Both albums would see hit singles and good sales, as Jada's album finally struck certified platinum and Styles's hit gold very easily. Sheek also hit with a solo album the following year, but admittedly the momentum of the Double R had fizzled out just a bit. The LOX still held up their end of the bargain, garnering plaques and releasing solid albums to prove that Ruff Ryders wasn't just a one man(and one woman) show.


-The last vital piece in this whole thing. The slept on rapper of the whole collective. While Drag-On was never the best spitter in Double R, or even the best flow, he brought an energy to tracks that was definitely needed. Despite his underdog status in the camp, Drag would eventually release his solo album "Opposite of H-20", which went gold in 2000. Drag was valuable to the movement and provided the extra spark needed as well.

The Ruff Ryders had a nice run, and while not as consistent as say a Roc-A-Fella run(and that retrospective is coming soon.... Just wait), they made a huge impact on the game. After the core members of the collective drifted off into their own thing, Double R tried to recapture the magic with battle rap legend Murda Mook and battle veteran Cassidy, along with the former No Limit star Fiend and some others, but it never materialized to much. They even launched Ruff Ryders Indy, which we haven't heard much about since it began in 2011. It is safe to say that the Ruff Ryders period of significance is completely over, but what they accomplished and brought to the game can never be denied. Legendary. RUFF RYDERS!!!!!



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