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July 28, 2011  | by: Jasmina Cuevas

Def Jam Celebrates 25 Years

Def Jam Recordings has been making music history for quite some time now. Founded 25 years ago, Def Jam has built many music careers from the bottom to the top. From artists like LL Cool J, Beastie Boys to new-comers like Rihanna, Big Sean and Frank Ocean, Def Jam has taken music to a whole new level. Now 25 years strong, Def Jam wants to share its history with the world.

Def Jam Recordings was created by Rick Rubin in his dorm room at NYU. Introduced to Russell Simmons by a mutual friend, the two got together and started building their empire. Rubin and Simmons launched the career of Def Jam by releasing the hit single, “It’s Yours” by T La Rock and Jazzy Jay. Signing artists like Public Enemy, Foxy Brown, Kanye West and Jay-Z, Def Jam made a name for themselves that rang around the world.

The rise to the top was not always a smooth ride for Def Jam, though. Fighting to prove that they could survive, Def Jam went through many obstacles to make it to where they are now. Even now, 25 years later, there are still rumors spreading that Def Jam is falling apart. But Barry Weiss, the CEO of Def Jam, has put all those rumors to rest:

“I don’t know what the f*ck they’re talking about. Def Jam is not broke, it’s on fire!! We just did a deal with Kanye’s G.O.O.D. Music and Big Sean’s album is a great success and will continue to garner a lot of attention. Kanye and Jay-Z’s Watch The Throne has the whole world buzzing. Jeezy got an album coming out and his show last night in NYC has the whole industry excited. Rihanna just ended her amazing tour of her amazing album. Frank Ocean is on the verge of super stardom. Rick Ross and so many other great artists are part of our incredible roster. Of course we are looking to maximize our potential and are in search of additional African-American leadership to take us to the next level. But, let me be clear, Def Jam is on fire.”

Come September all of Def Jam’s ups and downs, history and success, will be published in the book, “Def Jam Recordings: The First 25 Years of the Last Great Record Label” for everyone to enjoy. To help promote the book, Def Jam is releasing a new web series leading up to its launch.

Check out the first episode below:

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