I Used to Love HER…Rick Rubin Speaks on How Hip-Hop Has Changed.
Rick Rubin, along with Russell Simmons, started what is arguably the most important Hip-Hop record label ever created in Def Jam Recordings. So, who better to commentate on the state of the culture today? Rubin gave a rare interview to Vulture and spoke about the early days of Def Jam, race and Hip-Hop, commercialism and more. Check out some excerpts below as well as a link to the full article.
On the impact of race in Hip-Hop:
“I think the one-two punch of Run-DMC’s “Walk This Way” with Aerosmith allowed people who liked rock a view into hip-hop to see, “Oh, this isn’t so foreign.” And then the Beastie Boys came along, and they were white, and could get played on radio stations that Run-DMC couldn’t, because of how racist our country is. I think that combination of the familiarity of “Walk This Way,” and the accessibility of the Beastie Boys being white, really allowed hip-hop to spread in a way that wasn’t possible before then.”
How commercialism has changed Hip-Hop:
“The whole thing, back then, was about self-expression and creativity. There was no one thinking, “I’m going to get rich doing this.” And once people started getting rich doing this, the intentions that people brought to hip-hop were more calculated. It felt like less this creative community. I felt like I was part of a movement, and it got more lonely and less fun as it got successful. Hearing N.W.A got me excited again, and when I heard the Wu-Tang Clan, that got me excited again. Then Jay-Z asked me to work on a song with him. He was making his last album, at the time, and he wanted one song from each of his favorite producers. I met him, and I really liked him, so that was the inspiration to go back and make a hip-hop song. That was my first one since the early days, and that was ’99 Problems.’”
Related: Was there ever any question that Def Jam Recordings would be the #1 most important hip-hop record label of all time??? Here’s a 30-song playlist of music from some of the legendary Def Jam artists: LL, Public Enemy, The Beastie Boys, Redman, Method Man and more.