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

Diversion. Jun. 2019. 224p. illus. ISBN 9781635765991. $24.99; ebk. ISBN 9781635765977. MUSIC
In this story of adversity and perseverance, Schwartz provides what is at times literally a blow-by-blow (the abuse he suffered as a child was harrowing) account of his personal life and professional success. He founded Ruffhouse Records in 1989, signing artists such as the Fugees, Lauryn Hill (who wrote the book’s foreword), Wyclef Jean, Cypress Hill, Kris Kross, DMX, and Beanie Sigel. 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. At the end of the day he is satisfied with the level of his achievement, and the work concludes on a positive note. Yet Schwartz had a lot to overcome, and it’s a testament to his strength that he enjoyed the fruits of his vision and drive.
VERDICT 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

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