Priority

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Priority Records is an American based record label, owned and operated by EMI, and has made a name for itself dealing primarily in hip hop music.

The Los Angeles-based company was 1985 by three former K-tel executives: Bryan Turner, Mark Cerami and Steve Drath. Initial funding was provided by R-tek, a company headed by former K-tel board members: Ray and Harold Kives, and their company took an initial 50% ownership in Priority.To support early operations, Priority licensed repertoire from others and released compilation albums but soon began to develop its own significant artist roster. Between 1987 and 2001, Priority enjoyed success with many gold, platinum and multi-platinum artists, among them N.W.A., Ice Cube, Master P, Snoop Dogg, Mack 10, Westside Connection, Eazy-E and Ice T. Priority bought out the R-tek interest in 1987.

In the early 1990s, the label struck up a distribution deal with EMI, while continuing to operate independently. EMI bought a 50% stake in Priority in 1996, and the remainder in 1998. Despite EMI’s full ownership, Priority continued to be independently managed company until 2001, when its operations were merged into EMI’s major US subsidiary, Capitol Records. Priority was absorbed into Capitol Records in 2004, and ceased operations.In late 2006, EMI revived Priority Records. The first act signed to the newly reorganized company is C-Murder (who, in the mid-late 1990s, recorded for the label via No Limit Records.)

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