EPMD, who was managed by Russell Simmons early on in their career, became apart of the Def Jam family in 1990 after their previous contract was acquired from a defunct independent label, known as Sleeping Bag Records. Although the indie put out their first 2 albums, and the rights to those albums were purchased by Priority/EMI, Def Jam played a prominent role in helping the group find mainstream success. Crossover, which was the group’s second single to hit #1 on the Billboard Rap Singles chart, peaked at #42 on the Billboard Hot 100 and remains as their only single to be certified gold to date.
In 1998, after making legendary appearances on LL Cool J’s “4, 3, 2, 1”, Mase’s “24hrs. To Live” and The LOX “Money, Power, Respect”, DMX dropped his first major label single, "Get At Me Dog", on Def Jam. The song went certified gold and was followed up a few months later by his groundbreaking album, It’s Dark And Hell Is Hot, debuting at #1 on Billboard 200 and selling over 5 million copies worldwide. Ruff Ryder’s Anthem would be the 4th single released from the album. Dark Man X would drop 4 more albums before leaving the label in 2006.