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Synopsis

If hip hop is now the heartbeat of American culture you can locate much of that pulse within the grooves of the Def Jam catalogue. Having introduced the world to LL Cool J the Beastie Boys Public Enemy DMX and Jay-Z the label formed by hustler-incarnate Russell Simmons and A&R maverick Rick Rubin has now successfully marketed what was a ghetto phenomenon into the most pervasive youth culture of the late 20th century. This book examines the unlikely partnership forged between workaholic entrepreneur Simmons and hirsute ex-punk Rubin. The label they formed is arguably the greatest imprint of the 80s. While Rubin would leave for pastures new but just as controversial Simmons continued to pilot the label until 1999 when he sold his stake for 100 million. He has gone on to establish interests in everything from film to fashion radio TV and the internet becoming the model hip hop businessman but causing some former allies to accuse him of losing sight of what hip hop was truly about. This book documents the growth of Def Jam from humble origins in Rubin’s student dorm to its current status as the pre-eminent black music label of the 80s and 90s. It also takes an honest look at the egos and personalities of those involved recounting the bickering and failures that accompanied the glorious groundbreaking successes.

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