Ted Field

Jimmy Iovine

Co-founders, Interscope Records

Welcome to the team that helped bring gangsta rap to the general public.

Interscope Records, the label founded by Ted Field and Jimmy Iovine, has been called both an affront to society and a success story for the '90s music scene.

Created in 1990 in Los Angeles, Interscope has made its controversial reputation by releasing top selling albums for rap artists Snoop Doggy Dogg and Tupac Shakur, and industrial rockers Nine Inch Nails and Marilyn Manson. In the last few years, the label has released the less edgy sound of rock bands No Doubt and Bush.

"Iovine and Field have done a huge service to the music industry at large by providing an outlet for artists that could not get the attention of the mainstream," said Christopher Dixon, an analyst for PaineWebber. "Interscope was the first music company to really go out and support the young urban sound in the face of a lot of criticism."

Iovine and Field shrugged off the bursts of mainstream outrage. Iovine has said that music has been controversial since Elvis Presley, so the outcry is nothing new. Field credits Seagram head Edgar Bronfman Jr. for being supportive of Interscope artists' creative license.

Field, 46, is an heir to the Marshall Field retailing fortune. After an upper-class childhood in Chicago and Alaska, Field settled in Southern California in the '70s. By 1982, he did what most rich young heirs do in Hollywood: He started a film company, also called Interscope.

After producing popular films such as "Outrageous Fortune" and "The Hand That Rocks the Cradle," Field branched out into music in 1990. By the end of that year, he began Interscope Records with Warner Music's Atlantic Group as a $30 million joint venture.

Iovine, 44, started as a recording engineer in New York, where at age 19 he worked on John Lennon's "Walls and Bridges" album. He later became a producer, with credits including U2's hit album "Rattle and Hum." Iovine, who moved to L.A. in 1982, was twice voted producer of the year by Rolling Stone magazine. Several years later, he teamed up with Field.

Bowing to criticism surrounding Interscope's ties to the provocative Death Row rap artists, Time Warner dumped the record company from its holdings in 1995. Seagram's MCA picked up the half-ownership in early 1996, and Interscope has continued to sign commercially and critically successful artists. Interscope is believed to have grossed around $300 million last year.

"Jimmy and Ted and their team have always been slightly ahead of everyone else in finding new artists and genres," said Zach Horowitz, president of the Universal Music Group (formerly MCA). "They have been a delight to us."

Sara Fisher

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