A Tribute to Hydra Entertainment
Wednesday August 18th 2004,
Filed under: Features
Written by:

While Rawkus Records has to be the most overrated label of the 90′s, Hydra Entertainment is easily the most overlooked. Dismissed by many critics as a purveyor of “mediocre thug crap” while they championed snooze-worthy Talib Kweli records, Hydra has been the delivering a stream of classic street material that rarely disappoints. And for those sensitive types who prefer there vinyl beef-free, there’s the amazing “Hydrabeats” series, which provides 14 volumes of dope tracks by Godfather Don, The Beatnuts, The Ghetto Pros and A Kid Named Roots, amongst others.

Information on this label is scarce, and my attempts to contact the people involved have been futile. I’ve heard rumors that Godfather Don and Mike Heron own Hydra, but I have my doubts. Started by Jerry Famolari and Mike Heron, the whole operation seems to operate on a truly underground level, as I’ve never seen a print ad for any of their releases, there’s no web site or working email and packaging on the singles is always kept to a simple sticker. Nevertheless, Hydra continues to sporadically release records to this day, having outlived celebrated indy outfits such as Fondle ‘Em, Guesswyld and Rawkus.
The series of Godfather Don 12″s on Hydra are probably the most well known (I’ll discuss those next post), but their staple product has been Queens super-group Screwball, who’ve been dropping twelves with them since ’97.

Some other essential releases are Royal Flush’s “It’s Royal Flush”, the classic “BQE” EP (which featured Hostyle’s “Beat ‘Em In The Head” and God Don’s “Burn”), Kamikazee’s Marley Marl-blessed “Snakes” and the Beatnuts-assisted Triflicts and Gab Gotcha singles. There’s also been some unusual combinations, such as Prince Poetry, Godfather Don and RA The Rugged Man sharing mic duties on “Three The Hard Way” or the pairing of Mobb Deep over a Don beat. Hydra also put out “Hip Hop Independents Finest” double EP, which was the closest thing to “backpack rap” that they’ve done. I’m currently compiling a discography of the label, so stay tuned.

Share Button

7 Comments so far
Leave a comment

Didn’t they put out that Powerule 12″too? The one before the one on Dolo… I think it was produced by V.I.C.

Comment by mucho 12.12.04 @


Comment by chomski 12.30.04 @

I know I’m late on this, but I totally agree. As I trim my collection I find myself letting my rawkus records go and I cling onto all my Hydra 12″s, especially ‘Snakes’ and ‘Beat ‘em in the head’. ‘Zoo York’ was a heater as well

Comment by Drew Huge 01.31.05 @

I couldn’t agree more! I have been trying to tell heads that they are sleeping on Hydra.

What’s with the no contact info though?

In any case, if you ever come into some information please email me!

Those early don 12″‘s are nice!

My favorite release is hydrabeats vol 5, the beatnuts one.

Comment by aaron 02.22.05 @

have bought and received my hydra joints
one of my favorite labels ever
kind of like cti because you knew what u were gettin when you saw the record
cti- black background with ill design
hydra- black cover w/ and ill sticker design

Comment by illest 03.16.05 @

i know it’s ’08 now, but were there songs here?
did i miss the boat?
i just recently got a decent computer that i can actually download with/onto, and i’m trying to make up for lost time here. i basically want every song that’s ever been up on this site (take it as a compliment, Robbie -i trust your judgement).
…is that too much to ask?

Comment by onthaStrenff 01.24.08 @

you can’t forget that Slade Savage 12″ too.that was dope as fuck.

Comment by masshysteria 09.28.08 @

Leave a comment
Line and paragraph breaks automatic, e-mail address never displayed, HTML allowed: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>