Austin Party Weekend Label Feature: Stones Throw Records
For underground hip hop heads who came of age in the ’90s and the ’00s, Stones Throw Records is that label and its founder, DJ/producer Peanut Butter Wolf (né Chris Manak), is that dude. Founded by PB Wolf in 1996 as a means of releasing the album he made with his deceased best friend (Charizma), the Los Angeles-based indie has since delivered us classics like Madlib & MF Doom’s Madvillainy and the late great J Dilla’s Donuts, and given previously languishing talents such as Dâm-Funk and Aloe “I Need A Dollar” Blacc their big breaks. No slouch, PB Wolf has also released three albums, five label compilations, and seven mixtapes of his own, and now tours the world DJing. All this, of course, while putting out a steady stream of critically acclaimed material from rappers’ rappers (Guilty Simpson; Homeboy Sandman; Jonwayne) and left field weirdos (“alleged” Madlib alter-ego Quasimoto; multi-instrumentalists James Pants and Mayer Hawthorne) alike.
What defines the Stones Throw sound? According to the boss man himself, “I put out what I personally like and save the rest for the other labels out there. As executive producer, I don’t put out what I think the people will like, I put out what I like. This has worked for me so far, and if it stops working for me, it will be the end of Stones Throw as a label. I’ve passed on some artists that I knew would sell a lot of units because I didn’t like the songs. That sounds like a bad business move and from a purely financial standpoint it is one, but profit isn’t the only thing that drives my label. If money were my sole motivation, I’d be rich by now because so far I’ve attained everything I’ve put my mind to. I may be wealthy someday, but only as an indirect consequence of putting out what I believe to be good music.”
Following his bliss may not have made Peanut Butter Wolf rich (yet), but it has made Stones Throw one of the most respected names in the industry. In 2014, the label was the subject of a documentary, “Our Vinyl Weighs A Ton,” which featured the likes of Yeezus, Common, A-Trak and Questlove retracing the label’s prodigious influence upon the genre of hip-hop and beyond.
Needless to say, we couldn’t be more psyched for Stones Throw’s Austin Party Weekend showcase this Friday, March 20th at the Empire Control Room & Garage. Below: Peep the lineup, RSVP(!!!), and check out a playlist Stones Throw put together highlighting their showcase performers (and did we mention RSVP?).