Mo Wax

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Mo’ Wax is a UK-based record label owned by James Lavelle, who founded it in the early 1990s. The label is most famous for being a purveyor of the “Trip-Hop” sound, although many artists dislike the term, or prefer the broader “abstract hip-hop” tag, if the music must be labeled at all. The label is also responsible for bringing attention to the graffiti artist Futura 2000 by using his artwork on many of its releases in the early to mid 1990s.

Mo’ Wax released records by many artists over its years of existence, the most notable being by DJ Shadow, DJ Krush, Andrea Parker, Luke Vibert, Air, Dr. Octagon, Attica Blues, Money Mark, Malcom Catto, Nigo (of Bathing Ape fame), David Axelrod, South, Blackalicious, and Lavelle’s own UNKLE. Lavelle ended up signing partial ownership of Mo’ Wax over to A&M Records (now part of the Universal Music Group) in 1996. Currently, some of the Mo’ Wax catalogue is part of the Beggars Banquet Group, but there are rumors that the label itself has folded and is no longer putting out new releases.

The Mo’ Wax imprint became a collectors favourite. Not because of the limited runs of each release, but because the artwork was just as vital to each release as the music it contained and represented. The original Mo’ Wax logo as used on the very early releases was designed by UK graphic designer Swifty, but the label excelled their reputation by featuring artwork contributions from Futura, 3D (from Massive Attack) and Req 1. Ben Drury was the main designer responsible for the art direction and design of the label.

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