In the pantheon of East Coast hip-hop during the late '90s to early 2000s, Ruff Ryders were at the top of the mountain. Founded in 1988 by brothers Darrin "Dee" Dean and Joaquin "Waah" Dean, the label first flourished with marquee artist DMX, who famously dropped his first two albums in the same year and ripped through SoundScan in the process. Ruff Ryders later expanded its roster, adding Eve and The LOX, who continued to bolster the label. Swizz Beatz—a nephew to Dee and Waah and Ruff Ryders' former in-house producer—contributed with his own artists Cassidy and Yung Wun. And who can forget Drag-On? Not us.

While the label eventually closed up shop in 2010, Ruff Ryders still produced a great run in hip-hop history that shouldn't be forgotten. To commemorate their success, we've compiled 25 Photos That Defined the Ruff Ryders Era

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