Russell Simmons addresses Beastie Boys‘ departure from Def Jam Records.
According to Russell Simmons, had the Beastie Boys not left Def Jam, and released their second album through the label, they could have been greater than Eminem. The Def Jam co-founder was asked about the Hip Hop trio’s departure from the label, during an interview with Vlad TV.
Simmons revealed that the Beastie Boys left Def Jam because of differences they had with both Lyor Cohen and Rick Rubin. He also touched on the potential the group had had they toughed it out with the label.
“They left because they couldn’t get along,” Russell Simmons said. “They were young. They couldn’t get along with Lyor and Rick. Lyor wanted to manage ’em and make them a big movie at a big movie studio. Rick wanted to produce and direct their movie…Rick thought that the Beasties were kinda being placated to. And they weren’t being made to work properly…Rick being the genius he was, I’m sure their next album would have been greater. I’m sure that had Rick stayed with the Beastie Boys they would have been Eminem or greater.”
During his interview, Simmons also shed some light on the Beastie Boys’ classic record, “Fight For Your Right To Party.” He says the song wasn’t meant to be the group’s first single, and served as a “bad intro” for the Beastie Boys.
“He [Rick Rubin] didn’t make ‘Fight For Your Right To Party,'” Simmons said. “That wasn’t his shit. They made that…We didn’t plan to make it the first single. Radio snatched it [and] made it huge. It was kind of a bad intro to their careers. It was kind of pop. They had to save themselves. They didn’t even do ‘Fight For Your Right To Party’ live after that…Really wasn’t what they were about.”
Video of Russell Simmons comparing the Beastie Boys to Eminem, can be found below.