THE PLUG: The legendary founder of Loud Records Steve Rifkind speaks on launching the careers of hip-hop legends, and how the industry has changed.
Steve Rifkind is one of the most legendary entrepreneurs in all of hip-hop culture. Rifkind started in the R&B genre first, managing fabled acts such as New Edition before starting Loud Records in the early 90's. He built a one of a kind outlet for artists, and helped launch the careers of the Wu-Tang Clan, Mobb Deep, Three 6 Mafia, Big Punisher, Twista, Xzibit, and more. We recently linked up with Rifkind for the latest episode of "The Plug" where he opines about the current state of hip-hop, and recalls developing some of the most iconic rappers in history.
"Twista was the first," states Rifkind when revealing the artists he signed during his storied career. "Then we had The Alkaholiks, then we had Wu, and then we had Mobb. Then we had Funk Master Flex, Xzibit, Three 6 Mafia, Project Pat." Rifkind also opened up about signing the Wu-Tang Clan, which changed the entire hip-hop game. "It was my 31st birthday," he explains. "I been trying to reach RZA, he was Prince Rakeem at the time, and I'm in the RCA building. The receptionist says, 'You gotta Prince Rakeem,' and I'm like, 'You're kidding me.'" He continues on to say that the Wu performed "Protect Ya Neck" in front of him. "They were signed within the week," he reveals.
Steve Rifkind also explains why Eminem signing with Dr. Dre may have been a better move for his career than signing with Loud, how new rappers can help each other out, and what makes an artist stand out.
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