Ruff Ryders Digital Biography
Ruff Ryders Entertainment is a New York-based record label and management company, specializing in hip hop music. It was founded in 1988 by Chivon Dean and her brothers Dee and Waah, uncles of producer Swizz Beatz. The misspelling is deliberate, and a take off of Theodore Roosevelt's band of Rough Riders, the 1st Volunteer Cavalry Regiment during the Spanish-American War. Ruff Ryders' founders were initially famous for managing rappers DMX and The Lox who became multi-platinum stars for Def Jam Recordings and Bad Boy Entertainment in the late-1990s. After DMX's success, the management company started its own label imprint through Interscope Records, and had success with releases from female rapper Eve, former Bad Boy Records group The L.O.X. and its main rapper Jadakiss, Drag-On, and newcomer Jin, winner of BET's 106 & Park freestyle MC battle competition. The Deans' nephew Swizz Beatz is the main producer for most of the acts on the roster. In 2001, Cassidy was signed to the label through Swizz Beatz along with Full Surface labelmate Yung Wun.
As the first Reunion Project since their 2005 Album The Redemption, Vol. 4 Jadakiss and Swizz Beatz invited Drag-On, Eve, Styles P, Sheek Louch and DMX, who had just been released from jail, for the Remix of "Who's Real". A Ruff Ryders Reunion Album was announced by Swizz Beatz and was originally set to release in 2008 but it got pushed back.
In 2010, founders Joaquin and Darin Dean decided to revamp the brand through a new venture known as Ruff Ryders Indy, as a Fontana/Universal affiliated distribution company. This marked the end of Ruff Ryders Entertainment.
Mel Jason Smalls (born January 4, 1979), better known as Drag-On, is an American rapper from The Bronx, New York City.
Drag-On was originally signed to Interscope Records under the Ruff Ryders Entertainment imprint, where he released his successful debut album, Opposite of H2O, which debuted at #5 on the Billboard 200 and eventually sold over 500,000 copies and earned a gold certification from the RIAA. After leaving Interscope, Drag-On joined Virgin Records and released his second album, Hell and Back in 2004. The album failed to gain the success of his debut, only reaching 47 on the Billboard 200, and was quickly dropped from Virgin. He also appears in the 2003 film Cradle 2 the Grave as Miles and in the 2001 film Exit Wounds (both starring Ruff Ryders labelmate DMX).
Eve Jihan Jeffers (born November 10, 1978) is an American rapper-songwriter, record producer and actress. Her first three albums have sold over 8 million copies worldwide. She has also achieved success in fashion with her clothing line, Fetish. She is the inaugural winner of the Grammy Award for Best Rap/Sung Collaboration in 2002 for the song "Let Me Blow Ya Mind", with Gwen Stefani. Eve was number 48 on VH1's "50 Greatest Women Of The Video Era" list.
As an actress, Eve is best known for her roles as Terri Jones in the films Barbershop and Barbershop 2: Back in Business, and as Shelley Williams on the UPN television sitcom Eve.
Kasseem Dean (born September 13, 1978), better known by his stage name, Swizz Beatz, is an American record producer, DJ, rapper and painter. At the age of 17, he gained attention in the hip-hop world through his friendship with rapper DMX. Grady Spivey and rapper Cassidy helped launch his label Full Surface Records. He is married to R&B superstar Alicia Keys and has one child with her, as well as three other children.
Earl Simmons (born December 18, 1970) better known by his stage name DMX (also known as Dog Man X and Dark Man X) is a multi-Platinum American rapper and actor. His stage name was originally an acronym of "Divine Master of the Unknown", but also pays tribute to an instrument he used in the 1980s, the Oberheim DMX drum machine In 1999, DMX released his best-selling album ...And Then There Was X, which featured the hit single "Party Up (Up in Here)". He has acted in films such as Belly, Romeo Must Die, Exit Wounds, Cradle 2 The Grave, and Last Hour. In 2006, he starred in the reality television series DMX: Soul of a Man, which was primarily aired on the BET cable television network. In 2003, DMX published a book of his memoirs entitled, E.A.R.L.: The Autobiography of DMX. DMX dropped a new mixtape "The Weigh In" as a prelude/promotion towards his upcoming album on May 15th 2012.
David Styles (born November 28, 1974) better known by his stage name, Styles P, is an American rapper, author, and entrepreneur. He is prominently known as a member of Hip Hop group The LOX and is also a part of the Ruff Ryders hip-hop group, and in addition has released multiple albums and mixtapes as a solo MC. Styles P, a member of The LOX and the larger D-Block Hip-Hop collective, grew up in Yonkers, New York rapping alongside Jadakiss (Jason Phillips) and Sheek Louch (Shawn Jacobs). In their late teens the trio met Mary J. Blige who was so impressed with their tough street east coast lyrics, she gave them a big break by putting their demo in the hands of Sean “Diddy” Combs. Diddy immediately hired the trio to write for Bad Boy Records. With the label, The LOX quickly started collaborating on hits with Diddy, the Notorious B.I.G., Mary J. Blige, and Mariah Carey which gave them instant notoriety and status within the hip-hop and mainstream charts.
The LOX is a rap group from Yonkers New York consists of rappers Jadakiss Styles P and Sheek Louch Discovered by Mary J Blige as they have announced that Diddy record label Bad Boy Records and has released two albums on the label, 1998's Money Power & Respect and 2000 -- century, We Are The Streets In 2001 they changed their name to D-Block & Team Arliss T Waters and J-Hood joined the group but J has left, they have plans to release its third studio album by New Order LOX sometime in 2009 or 2010
Harlem’s own Mook is best described as the rapper nobody – not even today’s hottest emcees – wants to step into the ring with. That’s because the young street phenom has annihilated nearly every opponent who’s battled him over the last six years, most notably, the 2004 clash against Harlem’s beloved Jae Millz in which an 18-year-old Mook decisively defeated Millz in front of hundreds of spectators.
“At the time, it didn’t really hit me as to how important winning that battle was,” recalls Mook. “I was just a kid, and it was my first battle ever. I was just trying to prove to myself that I could do it. But then about a month or two later, everything changed.”
Born John Ancrum, Mook grew up on 116th and Manhattan with his mom and great-grandmother until the age of 12, when he went to live with his great aunt, Yvonne. “My aunt had the biggest influence on me to do positive things,” says Mook, who was given the nickname “Mookie” as a toddler. “I was in the streets a lot when I lived with my mom, but my aunt stayed on me and taught me how to do the right thing.”
Like most 80’s babies, Mook loved hip-hop. He listened to Wu-Tang Clan – Ghostface Killah was his favorite – and watched his cousins, Demont and T-Rex, recite rap lyrics around the house. It wasn’t long before Mook decided to try his hand at rhyming. His skills were impressive for a 12-year-old, but Mook’s main interest at the time was basketball. A high-scoring point guard at Fordham Prep, Mook had his eyes set on the NBA. Yet, it was his basketball coach who, after hearing Mook rhyme one day at a tournament, introduced the multi-talented teen to a friend named “Pop.” Pop eventually became Mook’s mentor, father figure and manager. “He gave me the confidence to rap,” says Mook. “I didn’t think I was that good at first, but he used to always tell me, ‘You can be one of the best. You just gotta work at it.’
Jin Au-Yeung was born on 4 June 1982, in Miami, Florida, to Hong Kong Cantonese immigrants. He was raised in the general Miami area, where his parents owned a strip-mall Chinese restaurant, and where Jin attended schools. While a student at John F. Kennedy Middle School in North Miami Beach, Jin participated in many rap battles with his peers. After graduating from high school in 2000, Jin decided to forgo college and moved him and his family to Flushing, Queens, New York City, in 2001. He began performing freestyles and selling his own mix tapes on the streets, in hip-hop clubs and wherever else possible. While battling on the streets he was spotted by Kamel Pratt who then became his manager and they formed Crafty Plugz Entertainment. His big break came when the BET program 106 & Park began inviting local rappers to hold battles in a segment known as Freestyle Friday. He won all seven battles in a row, enabling him to be inducted in the Freestyle Friday Hall of Fame. Unlike other competitors, Jin spoke Cantonese words in his freestyle verses.
That same night of his Hall of Fame induction, he announced that he had signed a deal with the Ruff Ryders. His first single under Ruff Ryders was titled "Learn Chinese". It took a sample from the 1992 song "They Want EFX", from hip-hop group Das EFX. The second and final single for the album was originally supposed to be "I Got a Love" featuring Kanye West, but was later changed to "Senorita" because Roc-A-Fella Records did not want to over-expose Kanye West. The album was originally scheduled to be released in the summer of 2003, but was delayed for over a year by the label. In October 2004, Jin released his debut album, The Rest Is History, which reached number 54 of the Billboard Top 200 albums chart. Both of his singles, "Learn Chinese" and "Senorita", failed to be major mainstream successes. Nonetheless, Jin's music video "Learn Chinese" was the first video ever to be played on MTV Chi.
Yung Wun devoted his life to his art form. Inspired by the kings of Hip-Hop, Tupac, Biggie, and DMX, he began rapping all over metro Atlanta, grabbing the attention of several music executives. Yung Wun has appeared on multiple underground down south projects. He has endured the underhandedness of the industry realizing that some of the people who claimed they would help him achieve his dream, only lured him in to exploit the ambitious teen; stealing his songs, then casting him aside. Yung Wun pressed on with a vengeance vowing that here would be "consequences and repercussions" if anyone tried to stop him. His career took an upward turn in 1998 when he signed with producers from Dark Society Recordings; an Atlanta based Production Company. The team put together a twelve-song album and presented it to Ruff Ryder super producer Swiss Beatz. Swiss immediately recognized the extraordinary talent of this young MC, and passed the material on to Ruff Ryder executives. Within six months, Yung Wun was signed to Ryde or Die Records, Ruff Ryder's independent label, and is slated for release in early 2000. Yung Wun was on his way to NYC. "L'il country don' got citified on a Ruff Ryde!" His professional debut came when he was asked to appear with drag-On on the "Down Bottom" remix off the multi-platinum selling Ruff Ryder Compilation. Yung Wun's unique blend of down south energy, ferocious delivery style.
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