Stones Throw Records – One More Thing to Love Cali For.
Stones Throw Records is an independent hip hop record label based in South California, its subsidiaries Now-Again Records and Soul Cal Records specialize in funk and soul re-issues.
It was started in 1996 by DJ/Producer Peanut Butter Wolf (Chris Manak) primarily in San Jose, then, with a little help form his friends he moved to Los Angeles and turned the little garage-business into one of the most important independent labels in the country, much like East Coast indie stalwarts Rawkus were in the late 1990s. There is, however, one particularly notable difference between the two. While both labels are known for their independent spirit and bohemian rosters of hip-hop artists, Stones Throw has also become ground zero for the “Indie Soul” movement. "Indie Soul" is a throwback to Chicago soul and jazz mixed with modern beats and arrangements, and best represented by artists like Georgia Anne Muldrow and the versatile Aloe Blacc.
Wolf says he started the label because of his love for music. He grew up as a white kid in California listening to '70s soul. But once he got a taste of early hip-hop, Wolf was hooked. He took on the name Peanut Butter Wolf in the late-80s when he realized that, in an odd turn of events, a girlfriend’s youngest brother feared the “peanut butter wolf monster” more than death itself. Wolf and his more conventionally-named counterpart, Charizma, began recording in 1989 when the two were still teenagers. Within three years, the duo signed a contract with Hollywood Basic (Disney) alongside label mates Organized Konfusion and DJ Shadow. Charizma and Peanut Butter Wolf were riding high, touring Europe, receiving press in magazines such as Billboard and (a then newspaper format) Ur , hanging with radio legends Sway & King Tech on the Wake Up Show and performing live shows with groups like House of Pain, Nas and The Pharcyde. Then, in December of 1993, Charizma tragically lost his life. Stunned, Wolf temporarily gave up on music. Meantime getting more & more interested with the production side of it. In 1996, Peanut Butter Wolf founded Stones Throw Records. Charizma’s posthumous "My World Premiere" was the single to launch the label.
Lately, PB Wolf has moved away from producing (save the odd remix or compilation track) to build the Stones Throw label and to travel as a DJ to Europe, Japan, Australia, Canada, and across the US. Through his willingness to experiment and provide Stones Throw’s artists with musical carte blanche, he has overseen the releases of Lootpack’s Soundpieces, Quasimoto’s The Unseen, Breakestra’s Live Mix, Yesterdays New Quintet’s Angles Without Edges, Madlib's Shades of Blue, Jaylib's Champion Sound and the legendary Donuts LP.
Stones Throw philosophy about the music keeps the quality control high. Instead of chasing chart hits, Manak (PBW) simply puts out records he likes and believes in. Remembering his experience being signed to a label that offered him little creative control, Manak ensures that Stones Throw works closely with the artists. The musicians on the label are involved in every step of the process, including determining promotional budgets. After the label recoups costs, profits are split 50/50 with the artists.
Manak's experience as a DJ has also led him to remain committed to releasing on vinyl and releasing break beat records. While other labels are turning away from vinyl, Stones Throw is attempting to stage a revival of the 45.
For more than a decade Stones Throw Records has worked with some of the biggest indy rap acts in the business, it was a home to Madlib and many of his projects: Madvillain, Jaylib, Yesterdays New Quintet, Quasimoto, MF DOOM, Sound Directions and Lootpack. Other notable artists on the Stones Throw's past and present roster include James Pants, Gary Wilson, The Turntablist (aka DJ Babu), Rob Swift, Rasco, Breakestra, Oh No, Dudley Perkins, J Dilla (aka Jay Dee), and Koushik, . J Dilla (Jay Dee)'s final album during his lifetime, Donuts, was released by Stones Throw in February 2006, when the label announced new signings Aloe Blacc, J Rocc, Roc C, Cue, and Georgia Anne Muldrow, and an upcoming compilation of new material including Madvillain for the Adult Swim network. Jeff Jank is the designer of a great deal of the beautiful album covers on the Stones Throw label. Proof that if you focus on quality everything else will come. Mad liberators.