The combination of Rubin’s Rock expertise and Simmons’ cognizance of Hip Hop is what helped define Def Jam as a label and would also play a part in the pairs creative differences.
“Well, if he’s making Slayer and I’m over here making Oran “Juice” Jones where’s the common thread?” Russell asks. “Neither one of us. We should have been in the studio making Run DMC, that’s what I think. We should’ve made the next Run DMC album. He wasn’t really ready to make Public Enemy because they didn’t want anybody near them. They were like, ‘Get the fuck away from us. All of you niggas,’ and they made the second Public Enemy album was the greatest record Def Jam ever made.”
Rick Rubin left Def Jam in 1988 and currently operates American Records, formerly Def American Records, which mostly focuses on Rock talent.
In 1999, Simmons sold the last of his Def Jam shares for $100 million and discusses what it was like to make the decision to walk away from the company he helped to build.
“I’m doing Def Comedy Jam, I was doing Phat Farm, I was doing other stuff,” the Hip Hop mogul says in the interview. “I had smarter people people than me working there. Lyor [Cohen] was brilliant. Kevin Liles was great. Mike Kaiser was brilliant. Julie Greenwald was brilliant. I build shit and then when everybody’s smarter than me I get out of the way.”
This month, Russell Simmons’ All Def Digital launched their in-house creative agency, ADHD. ADHD’s goal is to help brands and advertisers reach the Hip Hop demographic in more authentic ways.
The full VladTV interview with Russell Simmons is as follows.
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