Over the next couple of weeks we will be sharing a series of posts based on some of our favourite record labels to date. Each post will include a write along with a playlist showcasing the artists represented by the labels. To kick off this series we are taking a look at one of the most significant labels in hip-hop...
If you were to ask any dedicated music fan what the most influential and progressive label in modern hip-hop is you are almost certain to hear the name Stones Throw Records.
Founded in 1996, by Chris Manak aka. Peanut Butter Wolf, Stones Throw has continuously pushed the most unique and progressive new sounds in hip-hop to the forefront of the modern music scene. Over the years Stones Throw has boasted a huge variety of groundbreaking releases from Madlib and MF Doom’s ‘Madvillainy’ to J Dilla’s ‘Donuts’. From the very beginning Peanut Butter Wolf sought to establish this label in order to create a home for the outsiders of the music world, perhaps most importantly the music that he and rapper Charizma had made throughout the late 80s and early 90s. However, this desire to promote Charizma & Peanut Butter Wolf did not stem from a vain desire for fame and profit, but in fact a selfless desire to posthumously commemorate his friend in the world of music. Manak has stated that it was through Stones Throw, DJing and beatmaking that he was finally able to come to terms with the tragic and untimely loss of his music partner and best friend.
It is for this reason that Stones Throw has always been a deeply personal project for Manak, it’s reputation and legacy reflecting not only upon himself but that of his former-collaborator too. Now 21 years old, Stones Throw still continues to challenge our perceptions of music and genre due to Manak’s unrelenting and uncompromising musical subjectivity. Manak has stated that for him Stones Throw is reserved exclusively for artists and music that he is personally inspired by, not what the public may enjoy, but instead purely what Manak himself sees as innovative. It is for this reason that Stones Throw has always seemingly favoured the outsider. This passion for the unique and eccentric has established the label as one of the most creatively liberated spaces in music attracting a variety of oddball artists such as Dam-Funk & Quasimoto. Having passed on a multitude of more successful and established artists in favour of these lesser-known experimentalists it has become even clearer than Manak and Stones Throw will always value personal expression and innovation over financial gain and will be remembered as one of the most distinctive and diverse independent labels in recent history.
This exceptional musical range is on full display across the label’s roster, from the trademark Stones Throw hip-hop sounds of skewed and distorted psych beats and soulful and jazzy samples to the world outside of hip hop such as the Disco stylings of Mayer Hawthorne, or the Hallucinogenic Slacker Rock of Mild High Club:
If you’re looking to expand your knowledge of the label even further, then have a listen through our Stones Throw dedicated playlist and put some time aside for the critically acclaimed documentary “Our Vinyl Weighs A Ton”: