Year Established: 1995 Genre Focus: Hip-Hop Website: www.rhymesayers.com
You can't rightfully discuss major players in the realm of independent underground hip hop without bringing up the Rhymesayers crew. Founded by the foursome of Sean Daley (Slug), Anthony Davis (Ant), Musab Saad (Musab), and Brent Sayers (Siddiq), Rhymesayers Entertainment has consistently churned out a quality product since its inception in 1995.
Initially compromised mostly of artists from its home state of Minnesota, the label has since extended is geographical reach to include nationally recognized acts as well. Aesop Rock, Atmosphere, Brother Ali, DJ Abilities, Evidence, Freeway, and even MF Doom have all recorded material with the imprint. Beyond just your standard record label, Rhymesayers is also responsible for The Soundset Festival, which they've curated since 2008. Last summer, over 20,000 hip hop heads made the trip to Minneapolis take part in the event's fifth anniversary.