Rick Rubin’s 1-Hour Conversation With Zane Lowe Leaves No Question Unanswered (Video)

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To some extent, Rick Rubin is something of Hip-Hop’s Howard Hughes, and that’s not just the beard. The music mogul went from starring (as a hybrid of himself) in Krush Groove to basically shunning press and spotlights throughout the ’90s and 2000s. That started to change, especially as far as Hip-Hop was concerned, a decade ago, when Rick (who co-founded Def Jam Records), started working with Lil Jon & The Eastside Boyz and Jay Z. After heading up Columbia Records several years back, having a hand in deals for people like The Clipse and others, Rick returned to a household name status in 2013, having a creative/executive hand in Kanye West’s Yeezus, Jay Z’s Magna Carta…Holy Grail, and Eminem’s Marshall Mathers LP 2.

In a rare audience, outside Rubin’s Shangri-La Studios in Malibu, California, the New Yorker (who has been responsible for hits by Geto Boys, Sir Mix-A-Lot, Chino XL, The Beastie Boys, LL Cool J, Public Enemy, T-La Rock, etc. as well as Johnny Cash, Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers, Adele, Slayer, Red Hot Chili Peppers, etc.) opens up. A barefoot Rick calls Eminem the best lyricist in Hip-Hop, and suggests much of Em’s material goes unheard. He expounds on working with his musical heroes later in their career, and helping them find new chapters in their sonic dimension, “imagining them at their best,” and creating/recreating it. He relives the Def Jam dorm-room days, and bluntly explains his departure, to start Def America Records. and why he was scrutinized for leaving Rap for a while. He also explains what a Rick Rubin-produced session typically looks like, in case you aren’t a premiere music star with a major budget. This is a music Head’s Rick Rubin interview, if ever there was one…

Would you agree that this is one of the best pieces of music journalism, video format or otherwise, in some time?

Related: I Used to Love H.E.R…Rick Rubin Speaks on How Hip-Hop Has Changed