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Definitive Jux

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Headquarters: New York, NY

Founded: Late 2000

Founded by: El-P

Link: http://www.definitivejux.net/

Genre(s): Rap, Instrumental Hip-Hop

Active RosterEdit

Key ReleasesEdit

BiographyEdit

At the beginning of the new millennium, the rap game started to make a descent towards becoming a shallow and redundant genre. In response to this, the underground hip-hop scene began to flourish and release a number of new and exciting artists and albums that completely demolished the existing rap song template and jolting the genre into a whole different dimension. One of the labels at the center of this revolution was NYC’s Definitive Jux, the brainchild of beatmaker/emcee El-P. Within a very short period of time, the label dropped 5 albums from 5 very different artists the not only solidified Def Jux’s position at the top of indie rap, but also boosted these artists to solid careers. Cannibal Ox’s The Cold Vein, Aesop Rock’s Labor Days, El-P’s Fantastic Damage, Mr. Lif’s I Phantom and RJD2’s Deadringer all made significant and warranted noise in underground hip-hop and skewed the direction of the genre permanently.

As winter began to gradually overtake fall in 2000 a revolutionary 90s hip-hop group saw an untimely demise as label disputes came and members left. The group was Company Flow, the label was Rawkus and the man left out in the cold was El-P. But do not think for a minute that this was bad luck, quite the contrary really. Through his world-wide exposure with Company Flow, El-P had spent the previous 7 years learning the music business and making a lot of friends. And in classic New Yorker fashion, El innovatively utilizes his greatest assets and began a small independent hip-hop label to release a compilation featuring a few of his friends, who just happen to be Aesop Rock, RJD2 and Cannibal Ox respectably, along with three unreleased Company Flow tracks and an EP for a Boston cat he saw potential in called Mr. Lif. Definitive Jux (originally called Def Jux, but due to some Def Jam suits who felt slightly intimidated after the label went multi-platinum and ordered a cease and desist a few years back, it is now Definitive Jux) was officially born and off to a full out sprint of a start. Well, actually "sprint" is not really the right word, because it inherits the meaning of something fast but also short and quick to be over. Definitive Jux's early output was far from being over.

2001 saw two releases that would not only be groundbreaking at the time, but continue to surprise and attract new listeners today. Not to mention making the artists underground hip-hop royalty. Aesop Rock's Labor Days and Cannibal Ox's The Cold Vein completely demolished every preconceived notion of independent hip-hop at the time. They became huge successes and firmly planted Def Jux on the map. In 2002, El-P released his debut solo outing, Fantastic Damage, along with the first full lenth from Mr. Lif, I Phantom. Now the map officially had a large DJ written in graffiti letters over the entire city of New York and innovative/intelligent hip-hop, the sound coined by the label, was at full demand. And in 2003, Defintive Jux unleashed RJD2's Deadringer which helped revolutionize the view of a DJ/producer as the artist. By 2004, Definitive Jux was spray painted across the entire nation and was the top source for independent hip-hop. Since then, the roster has grown, but the output has not been able to reach the potency of its first generation line-up. It very well may never be able to reach that level again, but the fact is that it has solidified its place in hip-hop history and has done wonders to rap, as we know it today.

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