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DAR Hip Hop: 6 Underrated Record Labels

By @TrueGodImmortal


Throughout the history of hip hop, we've watched so many things change. The one constant that hasn't changed is the record label. While the deals might change, the labels have all stayed the same, for better or worse. There have been some legendary labels over the years that have earned a reputation and appreciation, like Roc-A-Fella, Death Row, Cash Money, Ruff Ryders, No Limit, and others. However, there are some labels that haven't got the credit they deserve, despite being important. Well, today, I wanted to take a look at some of those labels that are underrated but still very important in hip hop.

*Slip-N-Slide 




-The home that Trick Daddy built isn't as viable anymore, but let's not forget that this label was really popular at one point. During the 1998-2002 era, the label was spearheaded by the duo of Trick Daddy and Trina. Starting with the release of the successful www.thug.com album, Trick Daddy moved into a very slept on career as a rapper and Trina would stake her claim as one of the most popular women in hip hop as well. Two more stars were a part of the label in the later years, as both Plies and Rick Ross managed to gain some notoriety during their time on Slip-N-Slide. Ross would leave the label in 2009, but he would have a pivotal role in the label being what it became. It's a surprise that Slip-N-Slide isn't mentioned more in the hip hop label conversation. It brought in a number of plaques, a lot of success, and quality music that fit the sound of the label.

*Star Trak Entertainment 




-A very underrated label overall, Star Trak is actually a very successful label with a pretty extensive history beyond hip hop and within hip hop. Starting with their N.E.R.D. project, Star Trak garnered a lot of attention from just that, but their premier release in hip hop would come shortly after. That release was from The Clipse and it would be titled Lord Willin. Taking the world on a trip through Virginia and their lives, this was a pivotal album in hip hop, but most of all, a success to the future of the label. Over the years, we got another Clipse album that exceeded Lord Willin in Hell Hath No Fury, gave Snoop a new home, as well as Slim Thug, Famlay, Roscoe P. Coldchain, and even more like Kelis and Robin Thicke. It's time to put more respect on the name of Star Trak. They definitely were a force in the game during the 2000s.

*Cold Chillin Records 




-A label that was birthed during the golden era of hip hop and is the foundation to the genre has to be mentioned. Cold Chillin is probably the most underrated yet legendary label ever. It's interesting because Cold Chillin set a foundation that many others followed like The Roc, Cash Money, and others, but it isn't discussed as much. With artists like Biz Markie, Big Daddy Kane, MC Shan, Marley Marl, Kool G Rap and DJ Polo, among other names, Cold Chillin has one of the best discographies in hip hop as a label, and they have some records that will stand the test of time. It's unfortunate that Cold Chillin doesn't get even more credit as it stands a pioneering record label. When we look back in the history books, there will have to be a mention of the label that released premier hip hop albums like Kane's Long Live The Kane, Shan's Born To Be Wild, Road To The Riches by G. Rap and Polo, and many more. Cold Chillin is not only an underrated label, but it's one of the greatest period.

*Duck Down Music Inc.




-In terms of being underrated, Duck Down has been that since the inception. For 20 years, the Duck Down mantra has been independence and they've maintained that to the highest power. They are one of the most slept on labels in history, as they have a discography and catalog that rivals just about any other. From Heltah Skeltah to Sean Price to Kidz In The Hall to Boot Camp Clik to Black Moon to Black Rob (recently) and Pharoahe Monch, Duck Down sports a roster that is supreme in the realm of underground hip hop. If you're unfamiliar with the power and longevity of Duck Down, then it's time you get acquainted with the premier underground label.

*Disturbing The Peace 




-Ludacris was one of my favorite rappers growing up, but I wasn't aware initially that this label had such a vast array of artists that went under the radar for the most part. Sure, Luda was the focal point and the star, but how could one deny the guest appearances on his albums from I-20, Shawnna, Lil Fate, Field Mob (later on), and Tity Boi, who would eventually become 2 Chainz. There were two successes on the label besides Luda, one in rap and the other in R&B. The rap success, Chingy, was only in DTP for one album, the triple platinum smash hit Jackpot, which spawned a number of hit singles. The R&B success, Bobby Valentino, went platinum out the gate with his debut and gold with his sophomore project. Still, with a decent roster and a release every year, DTP deserves some credit for having a label that had many different talents.

*Hypnotize Minds 




-I once conducted a discography check of this label and looked at all their albums, and it was apparent to me at the time that Hypnotize Minds might be one of the greatest labels ever. It's interesting because it doesn't get mentioned in the conversation much, but quality wise, the label had some legends come through their roster, namely Project Pat and of course, the focal point of the entire label, Three 6 Mafia. With multiple releases each year during their heyday, Hypnotize Minds managed to garner huge success through the south and  eventually the whole world, as albums from Three 6, Gangsta Boo, La Chat, Project Pat, Lil Wyte, and Frayser Boy all made noise through the rap scene. While Hypnotize Minds isn't the greatest southern rap label, it is without a doubt one of the more important labels that doesn't get nearly enough credit, just like the others listed here.


-True

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