When Rhymesayers Entertainment first came to be in the mid-90’s, the independent Hip Hop scene was just beginning to flourish—perhaps one of the most prominent indie Hip Hop moments to date. Since that time, the landscape has changed dramatically, and most of the indie Hip Hop labels from that period no longer exist. However, thanks to a solid foundation of talent, wisdom and diligence, paired with an unending desire for growth and diversity, Rhymesayers is still here today, almost three decades later.
The Rhymesayers collective was born in the early 90’s, out of equal parts necessity and opportunity, in a local scene hungry for Minnesota talent to rise. The crew, comprised of a handful of talented artists from Minneapolis & Saint Paul, started building their name by regularly performing in local coffee shops and selling their “Headshots” tapes and merchandise as a means to invest into their future.
Years of hard work and reinvestment came to fruition with the founding of Rhymesayers Entertainment in 1995, and its first official releases—1996’s full-length debut from Musab (formerly Beyond), Comparison, and 1997’s full-length debut from Atmosphere, Overcast!. These two releases fueled interest in the label and helped catalyze its expansion to other markets outside of the Twin Cities such as Madison, Milwaukee, Boulder, Denver, Chicago and more, setting the stage for what would become one of their strongest and most enduring qualities: touring and live performances.
While the Rhymesayers lineup initially focused on local talent like Musab, Atmosphere, Eyedea & Abilities, and Brother Ali, rigorous touring and consistent exposure helped the label to connect with other like-minded artists throughout the country, which led to new signings and an even more dynamic roster. Additions like MF DOOM, Soul Position, Aesop Rock, Sa-Roc, Evidence, and many others, all played a role in diversifying the label’s sound.
The same desire for diversity and growth that has served as a cornerstone of Rhymesayers origins is embedded in its culture, and at the core of its commitment to do business responsibly. With a focus on Social Justice and Creative Arts, Rhymesayers supports and partners with organizations through in-kind donations, mentorship, fundraising, community programming, platform sharing, employee volunteerism, and charitable giving.
Remaining true to its independent ethos and original principles and philosophies, Rhymesayers continues to grow and evolve.