Russell Simmons and Rick Rubin talk 30 years of Def Jam [WATCH]


It’s been three decades since the most iconic hip-hop label was launched.

Rick Rubin and Russell Simmons co-founded Def Jam Recordings in 1984, working out of Rubin’s NYC dorm room. The two seemed like an odd pair at the time; the Hollis, Queens, New York, rap promoter and the punk rocker from Long Island, New York; but with focus and tenacity, Rubin and Simmons helped forge a path that legitimized hip-hop as a commercial genre and took it worldwide. Now, the two visionaries are celebrating 30 years of Def Jam being the most recognized name in hip-hop.

Simmons and Rubin are both featured in a special edition of Noisey’s Back and Forth series that focuses on the 30th Anniversary of the legendary Def Jam Recordings. Revisiting everything from the early days of the label, to the release of LL Cool J’s hit “Radio,” the first clip of the four-part series is more than a nostalgia trip, it’s an eye-opening look at hip-hop history.

The Def Jam 30th Anniversary Bash is set to take place Oct. 16, at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York, with superstars like EPMD, Ja Rule, 2 Chainz and Rick Ross.


Stereo Williams
Stereo Williams

Todd "Stereo" Williams, entertainment writer based in New York City. He co-founded Thirty 2 Oh 1 Productions, an indie film company.

Subscribe to our mailing list

* indicates required

Join Our Newsletter

Get the latest news from Rolling Out.