Comedian Richard Pryor inked a deal with Laff Records it was announced today (January 10, 1971).
Laff Records was a legendary, West coast independent record operation, which specializes in releasing adult-themed albums.
Lou Drozen was originally in the jewelry business, but after he saw a performance by a variety of black comedians, including LaWanda Page, he was inspired to put record racks in his store for releases by local comedians, which quickly sold out.
The first album to feature explicit language that was a commercial success was indeed, Richard Pryor’s debut album for Laff Records titled Craps: After Hours.
The hilarious album, which has been sampled by numerous artists over the years, recounts Richard Pryor’s time growing up in Peoria, Illinois, in addition to other humorous incidents from his past.
Craps: After Hours, which was issued a few years after his appearance on “The Ed Sullivan Show,” sold over 10,000 copies on its first pressing, which was considered a hit for a comedy album back then.
Richard Pryor would sign his next deal with Stax Records, which produced his groundbreaking album That Nigger’s Crazy, which was released in 1972.
The release of That Nigger’s Crazy for Stax Records also sparked a lawsuit with Laff Records, over contractual obligations to Pryor’s former label.
Richard Pryor would fight with Laff Records over unpaid royalties throughout his career, over compilation releases of material he recorded prior to signing with Stax Records.