Russell Simmons & Rick Rubin Discuss LL Cool J & T La Rock’s Impact (Video)

Def Jam Records is finishing its thirtieth year strong. The label worked with Noisey to gather thoughts from its founders in a four-part series. In the first vignette, Russell Simmons and Rick Rubin sit side-by-side on a couch to discuss the label’s earliest days.

The guys who started the imprint from a New York University dorm room take some rare time to honor one of the label’s seminal-but-oft-under-played 12″ singles, “It’s Yours” by T La Rock & DJ Jazzy Jay. Now moguls, Rick and Rush reveal that records such as that made the label, as Def Jam’s working capital made each release responsible for funding the next.

Following T La Rock, the pair move into LL Cool J’s “I Need A Beat.” Both removed from Def Jam today, Rick and Russell discuss Todd Smith’s tenacity in writing raps, including those for Run-DMC. Rubin remembers the Farmers Boulevard talent as being able to write about anything, at any time.

What’s your favorite Def Jam 12″ single?

Related: Def Jam Records Started With A Smash. 30 Years Ago Today T La Rock Declared It’s Yours