On this day in Hip Hop history, the management company and label imprint Violator released their first compilation album entitled Violator: The Album. Showcasing the management team’s star-studded talent roster, this album is full of rarities making it a must-have for any self-proclaimed “Hip Hop head.”
For those out of the loop, Violator was a multi-dimensional entertainment conglomerate ran by Chris Lighty until his untimely passing on August 30, 2012. Thriving mainly from 1999 to the early 2000s, Violator represented some of Hip Hop’s most known titans including Mariah Carey, Busta Rhymes, Q-Tip, Missy Elliot, Nas, Mya, 50 Cent, Mobb Deep and LL Cool J just to name a few.
Violator: The Album was the first release from Violator Records, in collaboration with Def Jam. Due to Chris Lighty and Violator’s expansive resources, this album was able to be jam-packed with talent ranging from all sides of Hip Hop. With production handled by The Beatnuts, DJ Scratch, Diamond D, Havoc, Q-Tip, and Swizz Beatz it is hard to dispute that this album is not one of the best-produced projects of 1999; and, as prolific as the production team for this album may be, it still in no way outshines the artist performances. With features from Busta Rhymes, LL Cool J, Mobb Deep, Ja Rule, Hot Boys, Noreaga, Fat Joe, Big Pun, 8Ball, and Cam’ron, this album can be considered one of the best-orchestrated compilation tapes to date.
Commercially, the album was quite successful peaking at #8 on the Billboard 200 chart and #1 on the Top R&B/Hip Hop chart. The project sold very well and was certified gold within one month of its release.
Regardless of its sales or star roster, what makes this album a piece of Hip Hop history is the first single released from the project, A Tribe Called Quest’s Q-Tip’s solo debut. “Vivrant Thing” which peaked at #26 on the Billboard Hot 100 was released in promotion for Q-Tip’s debut solo LP Amplified. This track marked the evolution of Q-Tip’s career, marking his transition to independence.
Following the success of this album, Violator went on to release a sequel two years prior. Violator: The Album 2.0 had a similar response, but failed to be as popular as its predecessor.