The Rise & Fall Of...: The Rise & Fall of No Limit Records

Thursday, Feb 25, 2010 12:00AM

Written by SOHH.com

As hip-hop enters a new era of business ventures, endorsement deals and growth within the music industry, SOHH reflects on the highs and lows of the rap empires who opened the door for today's black entrepreneurs.

No Limit Records

Founded in 1990 by rap mogul Percy "Master P" Miller, No Limit Records made a significant impact on the music, film and fashion industries. Led by P, the label helped steer the successful careers of artists like Silkk the Shocker, Mystikal and C-Murder as it rode the high road of achievement from the 1990's into the 2000's.

Percy Miller, aka Master P, began his career by distributing his records through a smallBay Area record label. He started out inRichmond, California where his mother resided. Despite being on the West Coast, he maintained his connections to the South through his father who remained in New Orleans. Miller signed his friends E-A-Ski & CMT, Sonya C (his then girlfriend), King George, Big Ed, Lil Ric and added his brother, Silkk the Shocker. (Wikipedia)

The Players

Master P

Master P

P. Miller left In-A-Minute records shortly after releasing his debut album and formed his own label No Limit Records. With P. Miller as its premier artist, No Limit Records went on to release many albums from artists such as Snoop Dogg, Mystikal, Mia X, Mercedes, Soulja Slim, and Miller's siblings Silkk Tha Shocker and C-Murder and sons Romeo and Young V. (Fortune Magazine)

Snoop Dogg

Snoop DoggNo Limit Records Logo

The solo Da Game Is to Be Sold Not to Be Told, Snoop's first effort for No Limit, followed in 1998; No Limit Top Dogg appeared a year later and Dead Man Walkin' the year after that. Tha Last Meal followed in December of that same year. The heavy release schedule resulted in varying musical quality from album to album, but by the turn of the century, Snoop had become such a cultural phenomenon that his albums almost became secondary to the personality behind them. (All Music)

Mia X & Mystikal

Mia-X-2010-02-17-300x300.jpgMystikal

Mia X was the first female rapper to sign to No Limit Records. From 1995 to 1998, Mia X released three albums for No Limit: Good Girl Gone Bad, Unlady Like and Mama Drama. Unlady Like was certified gold by the RIAA for sales exceeding 500,000 copies. Mystikal signed to Master P's No Limit Records for Unpredictable in 1997, which also sold well and garnered Mystikal critical praise. In 1998, Mystikal made his first major guest appearance on Busta Rhymes' Extinction Level Event on the track "Iz They Wildin Wit Us & Gettin' Rowdy Wit Us?". His real breakthrough was Let's Get Ready, released in 2000. (Wikipedia)

Tru

Silk-The-Shocker-2010-02-17-300x300.jpgC-Murder

Tru is a three-piece gangsta rap group that No Limit mastermind Master P formed with his younger brothers, Silkk and C-Murder. Tru became the most popular act on No Limit with their 1995 debut album, True; it sold over 200,000 copies with little promotion or airplay, and helped establish No Limit as an underground hip-hop force. (All Music)

No Limit Achievements

Master P Signs Exclusive Distribution Deal With Priority Records

In 1995, No Limit signed a huge distribution deal with Priority Records to distribute No Limit Records music. Master P maintained ownership of all of his master recordings and his studio. He also became the label's main artist, and also released the album Ice Cream Man that year. (Wikipedia)

No Limit Films

His first feature film, a straight to video project titled 'I'm Bout It', debuted number one on Billboard's Top Music Video chart. The film is allegedly based loosely on his life growing up in New Orleans. The soundtrack debuted number one on Billboard's R&B album chart and number five on Billboard's Top 250. (Hip Online)

Ventures Into Clothing & Management

As founder and CEO of No Limit Entertainment, Miller at one time presided over a business empire that included No Limit Records, Bout It Inc., No Limit Clothing, No Limit Films, No Limit Sports Management, PM. Properties and Advantage Travel. P. Miller ranked 10th on Forbes magazine's 1998 list of America's 40 highest paid entertainers with an estimated income of $56.5 million. (Black Collegian)

Downfall

The Departure Of No Limit Artists

Master P began to branch outside of rap, appearing in World Championship Wrestlingin which his No Limit Soldiers took on the West Texas Rednecks, and even tried to make the NBA. As for No Limit Records, each release featured less and less of the marquee artists, leading their fans to the correct conclusion that they had left the label. By 2000, only Master P, C-Murder, Silkk, Magic, and Mia X remained from their most celebrated artists. (Wikipedia)

C-Murder Sentenced To Life In Jail

His 2002 release, Tru Dawgs, was a test for the label but was preceded by tragedy when C-Murder was arrested for shooting someone in a nightclub. He went to jail right after the album was finished and was there during the release of the CD. Master P was a vocal supporter of C-Murder since the incident, claiming that he wasn't involved and it was a case of mistaken identity. Regardless of Master P's support, C-Murder was convicted and sentenced to life in prison on October 1, 2003. (All Music)

No Limit Records Shuts Down

On December 17, 2003, the company filed for bankruptcy due to various lawsuits.[1]Miller realized it was more sensible to shut down No Limit and reorganize and refinance the company with profits from No Limit Records. (Greenwood Press)

Resurrection

While Master P's No Limit Records primarily collapsed from its peak of fame and popularity due to numerous reasons including artist departure, the company would later be resurrected with the help of the mogul's son Lil Romeo and a deal with Koch/E-1 Music.

He named his new label "The New No Limit Records". By 2004, the reorganized label had moved to Koch Records for distribution. The New No Limit is now in partnership with Miller's own distribution company, Guttar Music Entertainment. (Wikipedia)
[Check out The Rise & Fall of Death Row Records.]
[Check out The Rise & Fall of Bad Boy Records.]
[Check out The Rise & Fall of Roc-A-Fella Records.]
[Check out The Rise & Fall of G-Unit Records.]

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