In association with Def Jam, a celebration of the first twenty-five years of the label that defined hip-hop music and culture, in the words and photographs of its founders and artists. This is the story of Def Jam in the words of its artists and top executives, taken from interviews and seamlessly told as a narrative of no-holds barred recollections and anecdotes, made even more compelling by the fact that Def Jam is one of the last great record labels to enjoy the widespread cultural influence that it does, in light of the increasing digitization of music. Def Jam celebrates a label that defined hip-hop and whose impact extends beyond its incredible roster of recording artists to all areas of culture, fashion, lifestyle, cinema, art–impacting the music business and pop culture forever.
In 1984, Def Jam introduced a new kind of music and lifestyle–hip-hop–through aspiring record producer and punk-rocker Rick Rubin and party promoter/artist manager Russell Simmons. It has become the sound of young America, akin to Motown in the sixties. This is the first book to see the label whole: through an oral history woven from interviews (some exclusive) with its founders and artists such as LL Cool J, Beastie Boys, Jay-Z, Ludacris, Ja Rule, Rihanna, Ashanti, and Kanye West, as well as through rare memorabilia from personal archives of the label’s movers and shakers: behind-the-scenes photos, flyers, advertisements, movie posters, album cover art, magazine covers, and press clips from around the world. It also showcases images from some of the best-known photographers of the era, including Albert Watson, Glen E. Friedman, Jonathan Mannion, and Annie Leibovitz. It is designed by Cey Adams, Def Jam’s founding creative director and is an insider’s portrait of the last great record label.
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