Rick Rubin has been noted as one of the most influential people in the world by Time magazine and he began his journey to success while he was a student at New York University in the early 1980s. He joined forces with a local entrepreneur by the name of Russell Simmons.
Rubin used his knowledge of what was happening in the New York club scenes to influence his production of Hip-Hop music and create a new type of label for the genre. The Def Jam label signed young artists that would go on to have success for themselves and the label, two significant successes would be LL Cool J and the Beasties Boys. Later artists that would help to define the label would be artists such as Public Enemy, Redman, EPMD, and ONYX. The label underwent some changes and is currently part of the Universal Music Group.
“I’m just trying to make my favorite music. That’s how I work; I just do things based on the way they feel to me. I want to be touched by the music I’m making. Luckily, other people have shared that response to my work over the years.” – Rick Rubin
The headquarters for Def Jam was initially in Rubin’s dormitory and in a feature with Rolling Stone he revisits his old room to share some of his early experiences and how he got started in the music business.
Dawn of Def Jam: Rick Rubin Returns to His NYU Dorm Room
Entrepreneur: Rick Rubin
Label: Def Jam
Interview: Rolling Stone