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Russell Simmons Biography

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Big Payback Notes • Early con? ict in the the ? scal underpinnings of hiphop. There was signi? cant backlash from urban purists (essentially those living and breathing hiphop’s four elements by DJing, MCing, breakdancing, and graf? ti tagging in its raw street setting) who disliked the commerical sensibiltiies of the Sugar Hill Gang and the mercenary attitudes of rap’s ? rst music label Sugar Hill Records.

Term “hiphop” begot cultural factions between those who saw themselves as lubricant partygoers (the Sugar Hill Gang and Joe and Sylvia Robinson) and others who saw themselves as serious artists (Kool Herc hiphop’s sole originator and rising phenom Joey “Run DMC” Simmons).

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• Rock & Roll proved that the music, the fashion, and the energy could be more than just an ephemeral craze and in fact it could be good business • Simmons: rap shouldn’t be like disco, rap should be like itself. hated the uptown and Bronx’ fanciful aesthetic, the magical costumes worn by Grandmaster Flash and the.

represented a handful of rap clients spread out among several record labels: Kurtis Blow on Mercury, Jimmy Spicer on Spring, Whodini on Jive and Run DM • Luckily bonded and won over Bill Adler, who was taken by Simmons’ blazing charisma and got him on 20/20 and ended up knowing about “Fresh Festival” • spokeout against bald-faced segregationwhere thenetwork was founded bymen who came out of 1970s radio and had been casually jettisoned from FM stations with the rational that the broadcaster’s White male targer audience didn’t like soul and funk music • “Rock Box” in 1984 becomes ? st video by a rap group to air on Music televition and Run DMC headlines ? rst national rap tour fresh fest • making “the blackest record ever” – transcended poilar approach… ampli? ed actually helped not hurted? • within 1985 Def Jam inspired a major motion picture and landed multi-million dollar productiondeal with prestegious rocrd conglomerate • meg cox wall street journal article, originally coined him the “mogul of rap” • Rock-centric • While most stories about Rubin gloss over the Pocket notes • Sheehy depicted the exchange between rappers and their audience in those beginning days of rap: “Rappers, called MCs (emcees) then, told stories and boasted—about street life, tenements, violence, and drugs; about their male prowess, their talents; about `sucker MCs’; and about women.

Their raps romanticized the dangerous, exciting characters of the street, sancti? ed its lessons into wisdom, made poverty and powerlessness into strength by making rappers superhuman, indomitable. The audience followed, ? nding their power in dancing and dressing styles of the moment; in mimicking the swaggering, tougher-than-leather attitude; and by worshiping their street `poets. ‘” • Simmons saw in rap enthusiasts a vast audience that the recording industry had not tapped into.

He left his college studies and began tirelessly promoting local rap artists, producing recordings on shoestring budgets and conducting “rap nights” at dance clubs in Queens and • • • • • • • • Harlem. In 1984, he teamed up with a fellow aspiring rap producer named Rick Rubin to form Def Jam Records, and caught the attention of CBS Records who agreed to distribute the label. Within three years, Def Jam albums such as the Beastie Boys’ Licensed to Ill, L. L. Cool J. ‘s Bigger and Deffer, and Run-DMC’s Raising Hell dominated the black music charts. pped barriers to entry? First, Def Jam teamed Run DMC with Aerosmith to record a rap version of the rock band’s hit “Walk This Way. ” The song was a smash and landed Run DMC on MTV, which until then had played rap only reluctantly. When the song reached a new white audience, Run DMC and Simmons found themselves with a No. 4 Billboard hit-the ? rst rap song to break the top ? ve. The single also helped the band’s third album, “Raising Hell,” sell 4 million copies. Next Def Jam signed the ? rst all-white rap act, the Beastie Boys.

The group’s bratty lyrics and rock ‘n’ roll -based riffs brought in an even wider white audience, and the band’s ? rst album, “License to Ill,” sold 8 million copies. The success of these albums prompted Def Jam to sign additional acts, including Public Enemy, Oran “Juice” Jones, and rap duo D. J. Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince (Will Smith). Amazingly, every record the label released through 1990 went gold. At the same time Simmons was developing Def Jam with Rubin, he was also becoming involved in other media.

In 1985, in cooperation with Warner Brothers, his Def Pictures produced its ? rst ? lm, “Krush Groove,” a rap musical based loosely on Simmons’ life. The ? lm, which cost only $2. 2 million to produce, grossed almost $20 million at the box of? ce. Simmons’ second ? lm, “Tougher Than Leather,” an action-comedy starring Run-D. M. C. , achieved similar success. Later Def Picture ? lms would include “The Addiction” (1995) and “The Funeral” (1996)-both directed by Abel Ferrara and starring Christopher Walken¬-and Eddie Murphy’s “The Nutty Professor” (1996).

Rubin left Def Jam in 1988 to form his own company, and Simmons continued to oversee the Def Jam label and Def Pictures as subsidiaries of Rush Communications. Next, Simmons ventured into television with “Def Comedy Jam. ” Co-produced by Simmons and his TV partners, Bernie Brillstein and Brad Grey, the show, which showcased black stand-up comedians, was an instant sensation. Simmons further expanded his communications empire in 1992 to include the magazine Oneworld, which features articles on music, fashion and hip-hop personalities.

In that same year, Simmons launched a line of clothing called Phat Farm, which by 1998 was grossing almost $22 million a year and is projected to top $100 million in the year 2000. A year later, Simmons started SLBG Entertainment, which serves as an agency for actors and other entertainers. One of the most recent offshoots of Rush Communications is the Rush Media Company, a marketing and advertising agency that produced award-winning advertisements for Coca-Cola in 1996. The key to Simmons success, more than anything, has been his keen sense of promotion.

At a time when the record industry was looking for the next one-hit-disco-wonder, Simmons actively sought out artists who could have a career, then promoted them and his label at the same time. In retrospect, Simmons was branding when everyone else was still marketing. As the label took off, Simmons, like another master of promotion, Virgin Group’s Richard Branson, looked for other places to use his name and his company’s name to sell new products. And there’s every indication that Simmons can and will go on to create an expansionistic, diversi? d conglomerate like Virgin. • Thanks to Simmons, hip-hop is no longer black culture or even urban culture-it’s American culture. And no one is counting is out as a fad anymore. “With my ? rst act in ’79, people said hip-hop was dead,” Simmons has said. “Now look, 20 years later, the culture is so strong we’re doing underwear. ” • A Phat Endorsement • When Run DMC made wearing Adidas sneakers popular after recording the song “My Adidas,” Russell Simmons asked the shoe manufacturer to sponsor a concert tour.

Adidas executives were skeptical about the marketing potential of the rap band, so Simmons invited them to a Run DMC concert. As the group was performing the song, one of the members yelled out, “Everybody in the house, rock your Adidas,” and three thousand pairs of sneakers shot into the air. The Adidas executives couldn’t reach for their checkbooks fast enough. • Show Them The Money Russell Simmons and Rick Rubin founded the Def Jam record label in 1983 with $8,000 of their own money. In 1999, Simmons sold the label to Seagram’s Universal Music for an estimated $120 million.

Cite this Russell Simmons Biography

Russell Simmons Biography. (2016, Oct 15). Retrieved from https://graduateway.com/russell-simmons-biography/

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