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Def Jam past and present assemble for 30th anniversary
Image: Def Jam Records

Def Jam past and present assemble for 30th anniversary

The brainchild of Russell Simmons and Rick Rubin, who founded Def Jam Records, celebrate it’s 30 year anniversary  with a concert at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, NY Thursday night.

The performers are a fusion of both past and present Def Jam artists such as 2 Chainz, Rick Ross, Fabolous, Foxy Brown, Onyx, Ashanti, Ja Rule, Method Man, Redman, EPMD, Warren G, Jhené Aiko and Jeremih are all billed to touch the stage for the one-night only event.

Along with the concert Def Jam is also releasing a commemorative box set which you can receive in a 3-CD  or 6 LP format. The set also comes numbered with the selection curated by Rick Rubin and a T-shirt.

The complete Def Jam 30 set Photo: Def Jam Records

The complete Def Jam 30 set Photo: Def Jam Records


The concert represents the movement hip-hop still is to this day and the evolution of the music. Not many rappers have enjoyed the longevity of a rap career such as LL Cool J or Jay Z. Artist’s such as Earl “DMX” Simmons have had numerous incidents wit law enforcement officials, prison, and drug use.

He still is one of the most iconic artist to grace the label selling over 21million albums worldwide,according to SF Weekly.He also is the only artist in the history of the Billboard 200 to reach number 1 with his first five albums according to Billboard magazine. 

In an interview with the LA Times Jay Z recalls being on tour with DMX and being outdone by his performances.

“DMX tore me to pieces. I remember being stunned,”  Jay Z said.

Having the commemorative concert at the Barclays Center is another tie to Jay Z.  As an former artist and  president of Def Jam,  Jay Z formally owned a share of the performance venue.

This s a testament to the  leadership and influence of Russell Simmons and Rick Rubin.

Other hip-hop moguls that were influenced by the founding duo include another music entrepreneur Sean”P. Diddy” Combs.

 Performers  at the Def Jam 30 Concert From the left:  2 Chainz, Ashanti, JA Rule, Rick Ross.

Performers at the Def Jam 30 Concert From the left: 2 Chainz, Ashanti, JA Rule, Rick Ross.

Russell Simmons speaks highly of  the longevity of Combs in a GQ article.

“It looked like Puffy was finished a hundred times,” Simmons says . “It don’t make no difference. No matter how many times you stab him, Puff ain’t gonna lay down. He’s a survivor. He’ll reinvent himself.”

Rick Rubin and Russell Simmons founded what grew to become one of the most influential imprints in hip-hop history.

Simmons partnered with Rick Rubin to create Def Jam Records in 1984. They signed artists like the Beastie Boys, LL Cool J, Public Enemy and Run-D.M.C.

Simmons later sold his stake in Def Jam to Universal Music Group for $100 million.

About Mitchell Gaddis

Mitchell Gaddis' dream job would be working for Warner Brothers in a corporate setting producing programing content.


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