Russell Simmons Returns to Def Jam Records
Hip-hop mogul Simmons returns to Def Jam (Reuters)
Entrepreneur Russell Simmons announced his return to the music business Wednesday, working with the rap label where he made his fortune. Simmons, who co-founded Def Jam Records two decades ago before selling it in 1999 for $100 million, will head up Russell Simmons Music Group.
The label is a joint venture with Island Def Jam Records, created from the merger of Island Records and Def Jam.
Simmons, considered a hip-hop pioneer, started Def Jam with Rick Rubin in Rubin’s dorm room at New York University in 1984. Def Jam was the original home to some of the first mainstream rap stars: Run-DMC, the Beastie Boys and Public Enemy.
Island Def Jam is part of the Universal Music Group, part of French media conglomerate Vivendi Universal .
My familiarity with Simmons is almost entirely from his Def Comedy Jam appearances on HBO. I find it amusing, though, that Def Jam is owned by a French company.