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Top Record Labels in Hip-Hop

Top Record Labels Mobile Images ONE37pm.com
Getty Images / Graphic by Mike McLaughlin (ONE37pm)

Let's talk about the top record labels at the moment. We'll discuss their founders, the artists they've signed, and much more.

The definition of "top record labels" has evolved along with the environment in the music industry. Today, we'll be discussing the top record labels and why they've each earned that reputation.

One thing to note that's changed over the years is the ability for people to independently create some of the most successful record labels in recent times. This is largely thanks to democratized distribution and heightened administrative access, which have come from industry and technological advancements.

Here's our list, in no particular order:

1. Understanding the Major Label Infrastructure

2. Field Trip Recordings (Zack Bia / Geffen Records)

Founder(s): Zack Bia

Parent Label: Geffen Records

Signed Artists: Yeat, SSGKobe, Onlybino!, Mallory Merk, HVN, Slump6s

Notes: Zack Bia's label has been making major strides throughout the year, signing acts like Yeat and SSGKobe. Pay close attention to their performance the remainder of the year.

3. Generation Now (DJ Drama / Warner Music Group)

Founder(s): DJ Drama, Don Cannon, Leighton Morrison

Parent Label: Warner Music Group

Signed Artists: Lil Uzi Vert, Jack Harlow, Seddy Hendrinx, Sonny Digital, Killumantii, Skeme, and Carvena

Notes: This label has become well-known for their roster, which includes Uzi and Jack Harlow.

4. Cinematic Music Group (Jonny Shipes / Sony Music Group)

Founder(s): Jonny Shipes

Parent Label: Sony Music Group

Signed Artists: Joey Bada$$, JayDaYoungan (RIP), Ola Runt, Prentiss, Skaiwater, Yungeen Ace, Smoke DZA

Notes: Cinematic functions as a management company and publishing company as well as a label. It's grown a very strong reputation for itself and all of its close brand affiliates like Smokers' Club.

5. Dreamville Records (J. Cole / Interscope)

Founder(s): J. Cole

Parent Label: Interscope

Signed Artists: J. Cole, Bas, JID, Ari Lennox, Cozz, Lute, Earthgang

Notes: J. Cole's label made a name for themselves with their collective albums, which put a huge emphasis on collaboration. Dreamville has a storied history and a bright future.

6. Galactic Records (Lil Tecca / Giuseppe Zappala / Republic Records)

Founder(s): Lil Tecca and Giuseppe Zappala (Management)

Parent Label: Republic Records

Signed Artists: Lil Tecca, Tokin, Tana, WAV, Based1*, Lucas Rosse*, Menoh*, Niko East*

* indicates a producer

Notes: Galactic is one of the top new-era labels, with one of the best ears for talent, and a business-savvy choice of signing producers.

7. Alamo Records (Todd Moscowitz / Interscope)

Founder(s): Todd Moscowitz

Parent Label: Interscope

Signed Artists: Lil Durk, Comethazine, Wifisfuneral, Rod Wave, 03Greedo, Lil Mexico, Slimelife Shawty, ALX, Dee Watkins, YS, Sainvil, Yak Yola, and more

Notes: Alamo's roster speaks for itself. It has one of the strongest A&R teams, and a knack for nurturing careers of some of this generation's best talent.

8. 300 Entertainment (Warner Music Group)

Founder(s): Kevin Liles, Lyor Cohen, Todd Moscowitz

Parent Label: Warner (Original owners sold in 2021)

Signed Artists: Megan Thee Stallion, Young Thug (and YSL Records), Fetty Wap, $not, Tee Grizzley, OMB Peezy, Shy Glizzy, Whiterose Moxie, Quarters of Change, and more

Notes: YSL is a whole focal point in itself; Megan Thee Stallion and the rest of the roster make this impossible to miss on our list.

9. Victor Victor (Steven Victor / Republic Records)

Founder(s): Steven Victor

Parent Label: Republic Records / Universal Music Group (UMG)

Signed Artists: Nigo, Pusha T, Pop Smoke, Autumn, Ski Mask the Slump God, 16yrold, Cashmoneyap, Reyanna Maria

Notes: One thing is for sure: Steven Victor knows his way around the music industry. The music mogul has one of the most tightly curated rosters in existence.

10. AWGE (A$AP Rocky, Interscope)

Founder(s): A$AP Rocky

Parent Label: Interscope

Signed Artists: Slowthai, Thottwat, Kelvin Krash, Smooky Margielaa, A$AP Nast, Playboi Carti, Key!, A$AP Twelvyy, A$AP Ant, A$AP Illz, A$AP TyY, A$AP Ferg, A$AP Rocky

Notes: There's a certain charisma and artistic integrity that AWGE displays, and it's unlike anything we've ever seen. This collective of top-tier creatives has made quite the name for itself, especially on the heels of their 'AWGE Tapes.'

11. Griselda Records (Westside Gunn, Conway the Machine, Mach-Hommy / Independent)

Founder(s): Westside Gunn, Conway the Machine, Mach-Hommy

Parent Label: Independent

Signed Artists: Westside Gunn, Conway the Machine, Mach-Hommy, Benny the Butcher, Boldy James, Rome Streetz, Armani Caesar

Notes: This label is one of the most deliberate and artistic out there. Led by Westside Gunn, Conway the Machine, and Mach-Hommy, this classic-styled group of artists are making major waves, both in-person and digitally.

12. Quality Control (Kevin "Coach K" Lee and Pierre "P" Thomas / Universal Music Group)

Founder(s): Kevin "Coach K" Lee and Pierre "P" Thomas

Parent Label: Universal Music Group

Signed Artists: Migos, Lil Baby, City Girls, Lil Yachty, Marlo, 24 Heavy, Bankroll Freddie, Duke Deuce, Jayy Fox, Jordan Hollywood, Kollision, Layton Greene, Quay Global, Wavy Navy Pooh, Lakeya, Metro Marrs

Notes: QC has become known for their ability to develop and sustain the careers of some of the most notable artists in the game. Migos, Cardi B, and the list goes on.

13. Collective Music Group (CMG) (Yo Gotti / Universal Music Group)

Founder(s): Yo Gotti

Parent Label: Universal Music Group

Signed Artists: Yo Gotti, Blac Youngsta, Moneybagg Yo, BlocBoy JB, 42Dugg, Big Boogie, EST Gee, Mozzy, Lil Poppa, Lehla Samia, Glorilla

Notes: This past year has been a monumental one for CMG. Pay particularly close attention to their latest signee, Glorilla, who arguably has the "hot girl" song of the summer, "FNF (Let's Go)."

13. Other Labels on Our Radar

Conclusion

That concludes our list of the top record labels in the music industry. There are definitely more worth mentioning, but we'll continue covering them as they make big steps going forward.

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