While digital booms and dot com busts dominated the headlines of the 1990s, just beneath this mass radar, a quieter, but just as potent "underground" musical revolution was being waged every night in clubs from New York to Berlin to Tokyo and on all dance floors in between. Night after night, hip-hop DJs rocked the house not with the latest digital technology, but with vinyl records. By the end of the '90s, this "underground" movement turned into one of the biggest beats of the music industry. Now, like then, one of the most prolific and trusted worldwide brands of this vital vinyl is the NYC-based AV8 Records--dedicated to vinyl and the DJ since 1993. In fact, one would be hard pressed to find a club DJ whose repertoire did not include numerous AV8 records, and it is getting more and more common to find DJs who swear by, and thus, spin AV8 records exclusively. During AV8's first decade, they sold millions of records worldwide, including releases from such hip hop legends as Wu Tang Clan, Biggie Smalls, Jay Z and DR Period among others.
Although Fat Man Scoop's "Be Faithful" was featured prominently in the 2001 movie (and promotional trailer for) "Save The Last Dance," starring Vanessa L. Williams, it was first released by AV8 in the late '90s. With "Be Faithful," AV8 also transformed Fat Man Scoop, then a DJ at NYC's "Hot 97"-America's 1 hip-hop station--into an international star. Other AV8 hits include: Aaron Hall's "Why You Tryin' to Play Me" that featured a pre-Bad Boy vocal recording by the late Biggie Smalls; The Crooklyn Clan's "Choose One," whose "Is New York in the house tonight?" chant became the electrifying battle cry of the New York Knicks' run to the 1994 NBA Finals; and Sporty Thieves' "No Pigeons," a witty answer record to TLC's "No Scrubs." AV8 CEO Marc Petricone launched the company in 1992 in his native Boston. Petricone, who managed several dance clubs in the area, found his first artist, dj/producer Armand Van Helden through his brother, Neil, also a dj/producer. Neil Petricone and Van Helden worked together at Neil's X-Mix remix studio. At the time, X-Mix was riding high for their remixes of Tori Amos and others. The following year, Petricone moved AV8 to New York City, where it has been based ever since, and made its debut with Van Helden's "Pirates of the Caribbean." At this time, AV8 was also launching a house music division entitled DV8. Unbeknownst to Petricone, one Rick Wake was also using the DV8 name, and the two hip-hop titans met briefly and came to an agreement that allowed Wake to keep using the DV8 name. Following this DV8 deviation, Petricone and AV8 focused strictly on hip-hop, building a reputation that has become second to none. Now, under the AV8 and with the distribution reach of Koch International, Petricone plans to build on AV8's impeccable hip-hop/DJ vinyl single base to expand into the full-length album CD market. AV8 will develop artists over longer periods of time and introduce new musical divisions that explore reggae, dancehall, R&B and pop. Concurrent with these new developments, they will continue their rich hip-hop/DJ vinyl single legacy via AV8 Street--a platform for emerging hip hop artists that, on a one-off recording basis, will release singles at the astounding rate of one or two per week. Now in its second decade, AV8 is no longer "underground," but clearly still has the beat, sound and pulse of the streets and clubs the world over.