The late ’90s birthed a special time in hip hop, specifically the year 1998. That year brought us singles like Diddy’s “Been Around the World” (he was Puff Daddy back then), “Deja Vu” by Lord Tariq and Peter Guns, Noreaga’s “SuperThug (What What),” “Been Around the World” by Ma$e, Lauryn Hill’s “Doo Wop,” and a whole lot more.
Coming off the deaths of Tupac and Biggie, the collective energy in hip hop was still in a fragile but less violent place, and on the brink of creating new sound impressions. Contributing to that movement were the Ruff Ryders.
Ruff Ryders Entertainment, which started out as a management company, was founded in 1998 by Darrin “Dee” Dean and Joaquin “Waah” Dean. The Dean brothers used to manage DMX and The Lox, before they expanded the family business. Their beginning roster consisted of X, The Lox, Eve, Drag-On, and the Dean’s nephew/resident producer, Swizz Beatz.
Later on they added Cassidy, Fiend, and a newcomer by the name of Jin, before the label disbanded in 2010. The Ruff Ryders attempted a comeback in 2011, but over a decade earlier is when the roster with really bubbling.
The first Ruff Ryders compilation, Ruff Ryders Vol. 1 came out in 1999, introducing us to Eve (“What Ya Want”), and more of Swizzy’s beat skills. By the top of the millennium, the Ruff Ryders were flourishing in the talent department. E-V-E has over 13 million in sales to her name, Swizzy has earned the title of “super producer,” and X went on to become one of Hip-Hop’s top sellers with 30 million records sold.
We all know what X has been dealing with lately (his most recent struggle involved wage garnishment), so Hip-Hop Wired wanted to take a look at how the rest of the Ruff Ryders have faired over the years.
Hit the gallery below for an update and some throwback shots of the Ruff Ryders.