Which rap label is the greatest of all time is a less-common rap nerd argument than “best rapper, all time,” but it’s still likely to generate some heat among the right group. If you’re into things like sales and influence, then we may finally have the answer. Def Jam leads all record labels by a long shot.
Polygraph analyzed chart data and found that Def Jam artists have spent a cumulative 1,952 weeks on the Billboard‘s “Hot Rap Songs” chart with 152 separate tracks. Their closest competitor is Young Money, with 83 tracks claiming 1,322 weeks on the chart. The top 10 is as follows:
1) Def Jam
2) Young Money
5) Bad Boy
6) Grand Hustle
9) Cash Money
That alone would be interesting enough. But Polygraph also broke down the most successful labels in each city. For example, San Francisco’s Sick Wid It is the most successful Bay Area label, thanks to hits by label head E-40.
You can also go year-by-year (starting in 1989) and see the proliferation of successful labels throughout the country. The interactive year-by-year map also allows you to hear a label’s most successful song in any given year by clicking on the label’s name. Overall, it’s a bunch of beautiful data to get lost in. And it’ll provide some handy support the next time the label argument rears its contentious head.