Headlines of Yore

Remembering Ruffhouse Records, the ’90s Philly music label behind hits like Cypress Hill, The Fugees, and ‘Jump’

One of the era’s biggest recording powerhouses was founded in Northern Liberties.

Artwork for 'Jump' by Kriss Kross; the Ruffhouse Records label

Artwork for 'Jump' by Kriss Kross; the Ruffhouse Records label

Wikimedia Commons

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Philadelphia’s music recording history runs deep. Many of the most influential albums of the 20th century were recorded in the city — from classical to soul to hip hop.

In the 1930s, the Philadelphia Orchestra partnered with RCA to develop a new method of recording orchestral music when they made most of the soundtrack to Disney’s “Fantasia.”

In the 1960s, Joe Tarsia founded Sigma Sound Studios and introduced 24-track recording to the industry. The following decade brought Philadelphia International Records, Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff’s juggernaut that created and developed the genre known as Philly soul.

These days, Meek Mill’s Dream Chasers Records reps the city. And MilkBoy Studios regularly produces music for a variety of stars — Dave Matthews Band, Usher, Miley Cyrus, Nicki Minaj.

Some might not recall one of the city’s biggest music powerhouses, which came between these eras: Ruffhouse Records.

Founded in Northern Liberties in the late ’80s, Ruffhouse had a string of major hits before closing about a decade later. Bands launched from this Philly pad included Cypress Hill, The Fugees, and the memorable, backwards-clothes-wearing Kriss Kross.

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Music, History