When Rick Rubin met with LL Cool J for the first time, LL couldn’t believe his eyes, Rubin says. 

“Both LL and Russell [Simmons] couldn’t believe that I was White when I met them,” Rubin says in a recent interview with satellite radio station Shade 45.

When Rubin met Russell Simmons, he received a similar response. 

“I told [Simmons] I’d made this record,” Rubin says. “He couldn’t believe it. He was like, ‘You made that? That’s the Blackest record I’ve ever heard in my life. This was at a time when there was nobody White, at that time, in this world. It was interesting.” 

With Simmons, Rubin helped create Def Jam Recordings. During their run at Def Jam, the imprint’s roster included LL Cool J, Run DMC and the Beastie Boys, among others.

This year, Rubin worked with several rappers, including Kanye West, Jay Z and Eminem. 

In November, Rubin spoke regarding his work with Eminem during an interview. 

“I would say that he is probably the most obsessive artist, maybe, that I have met in any genre,” Rick Rubin says in an interview with complex.com. “He is very, very dedicated to his craft. To the point to where it seems like there is nothing else in his life. It truly is a 24-7 thing for him. One of the reasons that many artists make good records when they’re young and then as they grow up, maybe they’re not doing their best work anymore, is because—especially if you’re successful—other things in life take over. Whether it’s family life or just other interests. It just happens.” 

More of Rubin’s Shade 45 interview can be heard below. 

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