Ruffhouse: From the Streets of Philly to the Top of the '90s Hip-Hop Charts

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Product Details

$16.99  $15.80
Diversion Books
Publish Date
5.9 X 8.7 X 0.7 inches | 0.8 pounds

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About the Author

Chris Schwartz is the founder and CEO of Ruffhouse Records. At its height, Ruffhouse's roster included The Fugees, Ms. Lauryn Hill, Wyclef Jean, Cypress Hill, Kriss Kross, and Kool Keith, among others. Ruffhouse Records sold more than 120 million records worldwide, generating over a billion dollars in sales and a multitude of Grammy Awards. Chris has been the recipient of many awards celebrating his success, including 250 gold and platinum records and a plaque on the Philadelphia Music Alliance's Walk of Fame. He lives with his wife and daughter in Gladwyne, Pennsylvania.


"All respect to Chris Schwartz. He is a great visionary." - Nas

"Anyone who was paying attention in the '90s knows that Ruffhouse was one of the industry's 'it' labels, and looking back on that time now, it's easy to see why. In this fascinating and revealing book, Chris Schwartz describes how he went from hustling grimy Schoolly D records on the streets of Philadelphia to the pinnacle of mainstream success with Ms. Lauryn Hill, The Fugees, and Kris Kross. It's an absolute must-read for anybody who cares about hip-hop." - Barry Weiss, partner & cofounder, Records, LLC and longtime music industry veteran

"I've gotten to know Chris Schwartz very well over the past 25 years both personally and professionally, but there are elements to the Ruffhouse story that even I didn't know until I read this book. That's a testament to Chris and his abilities as a storyteller, and a reflection of his single-minded focus. If you loved The Score or The Carnival, you'll appreciate Ruffhouse." - Wyclef Jean

"From 'Jump' to 'Insane in the Brain' to 'Killing Me Softly, ' Ruffhouse Records released some of the biggest hits of the 1990s and became, as a result of their meteoric rise, the talk of the industry. In this revealing and fascinating memoir, Chris Schwartz explains exactly how they did it, and then how it all came tumbling down. You could call it a cautionary tale, but that would be selling Chris's story short. Consider it instead a rare peek behind the curtain of a crazy business where stars and fortunes are instantly made and just as quickly unmade. I couldn't put it down." - Chris Blackwell, founder, Island Records

"In 1999, just six months after Ruffhouse artist Lauryn Hill snatched up all the Grammys, the label took a chance on me and put out my Black Elvis/Lost in Space concept album. Lauryn and I couldn't have been more different as artists, but that's one of the things that made the label great. They were able not only to produce a broad crossover smash like The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill but also to step out on a limb and push the creative envelope with a record like mine. Chris Schwartz is a true visionary, and I am grateful to him and his partner, Joe Nicolo, for their belief and support. Labels like Ruffhouse are few and far between today, and in this book Chris describes in vivid detail all the things, both positive and negative, that made them unique. It's a fascinating snapshot of a label's rise and fall and all the crazy things that contributed to both. It's a wild ride." - Kool Keith

"[A] story of adversity and perseverance...Schwartz is strongest when describing the creative process and most fascinating when revealing the difficult decisions that go into each production and release. He is celebratory when success is attained and honest when an outcome is less than he'd hoped for...Schwartz had a lot to overcome, and it's a testament to his strength that he enjoyed the fruits of his vision and drive...Fans of these artists will love the insider information on the recording process and the trials and tribulations of getting this music out into the world."-Library Journal

"Recounts a pivotal era in Philly music history. Even more gripping: his personal tale of surviving a violent home life on the Main Line to become a top Philly producer."-Philadelphia Magazine

"As Ruffhouse grew, it discovered artists that changed the face of rap music-such as Cypress Hill, the Fugees, Lauryn Hill, and Kriss Kross...Schwartz concludes that his remarkable success in the record business grew out of his being willing to step into the unknown. Schwartz's insider's tale will appeal."-Publishers Weekly

"Schwartz recounts his perilous yet prosperous journey through the music industry in a tantalizing new tome...The founder of one of the most seminal