Red Bull Music Academy has a Stones Throw label special this week: Hear honcho Peanut Butter Wolf breaking down the history of Stones Throw's vinyl factory, and tune in to live recordings and exclusive interviews with all label luminaries here:
Contributing to the musical conversation has been on the mind of Peanut Butter Wolf since he first heard Marvin Gaye on TV, and throughout college he was itching to release records. He put his first record on a local label with only 500 copies pressed, never mastered it, and didn't even know you could sell them to a distributor. They gave most of the copies away to their friends and family and local radio stations, and after all that, they still had about half of the records leftover. But their goal was to make a record and they reached it.
Later that year, PBW met Charles Hicks aka Charizma. They signed to L.A. label Hollywood Basics, but Disney's shareholders had other plans for their artistic endeavours. Charizma and Peanut Butter Wolf got out of the deal just before the hip hop division of the label was closed. But two months later, at the end of 1993, Charizma passed away.
In many ways Stones Throw embodies this personal triumph over adversity. Hurdles are there to be leapt over, but when the drive is fuelled with such personal motivation, the obstacles take on a whole new perspective. Wolf's Stones Throw is less about distribution strategies and profit margins, and more about family values and community spirit.
In that respect, the Stones Throw family that has sprung up is unlike any other. Easily the most recognisable name throughout the extensive catalogue is Madlib and his many monikers – the prolific producer has set the tone for the label's open-eared output for over a decade, first with Lootpack, and later with Jaylib, Madvillian, Yesterdays New Quintet, Beat Konducta, DJ Rels, and Quasimoto.