In a recent interview with Sway in the Morning, Drag-On who was synonymous with the Ruff Ryders camp during their heyday discussed his signature 1999 track “Down Bottom” with Juvenile. The impact that it had and how Ruff Ryders were one of the first hip hop camps to align themselves with the southern hip hop scene significantly. Prior to that Ruff Ryders signature artist DMX had already worked with the likes of 8ball and Jermaine Dupri. It was foreshadowing the run the south would have with hip hop during the 2000’s.
Drag-On – Sway in the Morning Interview
As mentioned DMX was the first one from the Ruff Ryders camp to work with a southern artist. He appeared on the remix to “Pure Uncut” with 8ball as well as Herb McGruff and Canibus. The original appeared on 8ball’s 1998 double album Lost. That same year DMX hopped on “Get Your Sh*t Right” from Jermaine Dupri’s Life in 1472 along with The Madd Rapper.
8Ball – Pure Uncut (remix) feat. DMX, Herb McGruff, & Canibus
Jermaine Dupri – Get Your Sh*t Right feat. DMX & The Madd Rapper
The following year was when Drag-On’s collaboration with Juvenile was released through the Ryde or Die Vol. 1 compilation. On the remix appeared Yung Wan, an artist from Atlanta that Ruff Ryders producer Swizz Beatz had brought on board through a production deal. Yung Wan would then make an appearance on 2000’s Ryde or Die Vol. 2 on the track “WW III” along with Snoop Dogg, Swizz Beatz, Scarface, and Jadakiss. Another track “Platinum Plus” appeared on the compilation consisting of Jermaine Dupri, Mase, and Cross.
Drag- On – Down Bottom feat. Juvenile
Drag-On – Down Bottom (remix) – Yung Wan
Ruff Ryders – World War III feat. Snoop Dogg, Yung Wan, Scarface, Jadakiss, & Swizz Beatz
Ruff Ryders – Platinum Plus feat. Jermaine Dupri, Mase, & Cross
That same year Swizz Beatz contributed several tracks to the 8Ball & MJG project Space Age 4 Eva including “Boom Boom”. In 2001 Jadakiss released his solo debut Kiss tha Game Goodbye. The track “What You Ride For?” featured the Southern artists 8Ball, Yung Wun, and Fiend formerly from No Limit. Fiend had a brief affiliation with the Ruff Ryders but would appear on several tracks from Ryde or Die Vol.3: In the “R” We Trust. This included “Rock Bottom” alongside David Banner and “Some South Sh*t” with Ludacris, and Yung Wun.
8Ball & MJG – Boom Boom feat. Swizz Beatz
Jadakiss – What You Ride For feat. 8Ball, Yung Wun & Fiend
Ruff Ryders – Rock Bottom feat. Fiend & David Banner
Ruff Ryders – Some South Sh*t feat. Ludacris, Fiend, & Yung Wun
Eve’s 2001 album Scorpion would showcase the southern artist Trina on Gangsta B*tches along with Da Brat. In 2002 Jadakiss and Styles P from The Lox hopped on “Knockin’ Heads Off” which was on Kings of Crunk from Lil Jon & the East Side Boyz. Around that same time Swizz Beatz released his compilation Swizz Beatz Presents G.H.E.T.T.O Stories which included the posse cut “Bigger Business” with Jadakiss, Ron Isley,Diddy, Birdman, Snoop Dogg, Cassidy, and TQ on the track.
Eve – Gangsta B*tches feat. Trina & Da Brat
Lil Jon & the East Side Boyz – Knockin’ Heads Off feat. Jadakiss & Styles P
Swizz Beatz – Bigger Business feat. Jadakiss, Ron Isley, Diddy, Birdman, Snoop Dogg, Cassidy & TQ
The following year Jadakiss would show up on the remix to “Never Scared” accompanied by So So Def artist Bone Crusher along with Busta Rhymes, and Cam’ron. In 2004 Yung Wun released “Tear It Up” a track from his debut album The Dirtiest Thirstiest. The track also included DMX, Lil’ Flip, and David Banner. By that time southern hip hop and the crunk movement was completely dominating the airwaves. The Ruff Ryders were one of the first to bridge the gap and work significantly with southern artists before it became the norm.