25 Years of Def Jam Recordings. The Seminal Hip-Hop Label’s Founders Relive Their First Encounter



From www.nowness.com:

“When the punk rock-loving teenage law student Rick Rubin met party promoter Russell Simmons in 1984, few could have predicted that the unlikely duo would change the face of hip-hop forever. Rizzoli’s forthcoming tome, Def Jam Recordings: The First 25 Years of the Last Great Record Label, documents how the pair’s humble “experimental art project” went on to become the most influential label in rap history, and the genre’s first multi-million dollar empire. “They built a company that made hip-hop louder and bigger than any reasonable person might have guessed possible,” says The New Yorker’s Kelefa Sanneh, a contributor to the book. Consistently and controversially shattering industry conventions, Def Jam created rap’s first 80s pin-up in LL Cool J, saw the Beastie Boys’s iconic Licensed to Ill become one of the best selling hip-hop records of all time, and, via Public Enemy, provided the theatrical soundtrack to a black power revolution. Rubin’s masterstroke was encouraging Run-D.M.C. to cover Aerosmith’s “Walk This Way,” a track largely credited with bringing rap to the mainstream. “Our inexperience and innocence allowed us to make music that went beyond the accepted norm,” says Rubin of Def Jam’s modus operandi. “Enthusiasm drove us.” Today, Def Jam’s purview extends well beyond hip-hop, boasting a roster that puts Rick Ross and Method Man side by side with pop megastars Rhianna and Kanye West. In this exclusive extract, the illustrious founders recall-with a little help from the Beastie Boys’ Adam Horowitz-how they first met. . . . “

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