Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Def Jam Through The Years Pt. 1

1984 Def Beginnings: Rick Rubin founds Def Jam working out of his New York University dorm room. Russell Simmons soon joins Rubin after DJ Jazzy Jay introduces the future moguls. The first single Def Jam Recordings release is T La Rock & Jazzy Jay's It's Yours.

1986: The Beastie Boys burst onto the scene with (You Gotta) Fight for Your Right (to Party!) the first single from their breakthrough album, Licensed to Ill. The track reaches No. 7 on the Billboard Hot 100 (and later is among the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame's 500 Songs that Shaped Rock and Roll).

1986: Run-DMC cover Aerosmith's hard rock classic Walk This Way and the single propels Raising Hell to become one of the best-selling rap albums of all time. The song and video are one of the biggest hits of the '80s, cement Run-DMC's crossover status, and resurrect Aerosmith for a new generation of fans.

1988: London-born American Hip Hop artist Slick Rick releases Children's Story. The groundbreaking single is uniquely constructed as one long verse and is often interpreted as a condemnation of violence and greed. Children's Story lyrics have since been sampled and re-incorporated in myriad Hip Hop songs.

1989: Public Enemy's Fight the Power energizes the soundtrack of Spike Lee's Do the Right Thing. In 1990 the group includes an extended version on their third album, Fear of a Black Planet. The song has largely served as the political statement of purpose for the group.

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