Archives

The Beastie Boys Explain Why They Were Nearly Done After Licensed To Ill

The Beastie Boys are a Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame inducted group recognized for fusing Hip-Hop, Punk Rock, and Electronic music. Between the early 1980s and the early 2010s, the trio of Adam "MCA" Yauch, Michael "Mike D" Diamond, and Adam "Ad-Rock" Horovitz released eight studio albums. Exactly half... Read more

Finding The GOAT Group: A Tribe Called Quest vs. Public Enemy. Who Is Better?

“Finding the GOAT Group,” the fourth installment of Ambrosia For Heads’ annual competition series features Hip-Hop’s greatest collectives vying for the #1 spot. Sixty-two groups have been pre-selected by a panel of experts, and one slot will be reserved for a wild-card entry (which has been determined), including the possibility... Read more

Eminem Says His Homophobic Tyler, The Creator Diss Went Too Far (Video)

So far, the first two parts of Sway Calloway's Kamikaze interview with Eminem has provided insight into his now high-profile beefs with MGK and Joe Budden. The rare public conversation also unpacks his more recent musical output, which the Detroit native admits hasn't been as on point as work from... Read more

Finding The GOAT Group: A Tribe Called Quest vs. Run-D.M.C. Who Is Better?

“Finding the GOAT Group,” the fourth installment of Ambrosia For Heads’ annual competition series features Hip-Hop’s greatest collectives vying for the #1 spot. Sixty-two groups have been pre-selected by a panel of experts, and one slot will be reserved for a wild-card entry (which has been determined), including the possibility... Read more

Finding The GOAT Group: Run-D.M.C. vs. Grandmaster Flash & The Furious Five. Who Is Better?

“Finding the GOAT Group,” the fourth installment of Ambrosia For Heads’ annual competition series features Hip-Hop’s greatest collectives vying for the #1 spot. Sixty-two groups have been pre-selected by a panel of experts, and one slot will be reserved for a wild-card entry (which has been determined), including the possibility... Read more

Finding The GOAT Group: Geto Boys vs. N.W.A. Who Is Better?

“Finding the GOAT Group,” the fourth installment of Ambrosia For Heads’s annual competition series features Hip-Hop’s greatest collectives vying for the #1 spot. Sixty-two groups have been pre-selected by a panel of experts, and one slot will be reserved for a wild-card entry (which has been determined), including the possibility... Read more

Russell Simmons To Make A Film About Def Jam’s Unsung Hero: T La Rock

Before LL Cool J and the Beastie Boys, a fledgling Def Jam Recordings had another MC in mind for its legendary path: T La Rock. Brother to Treacherous Three MCs member Special K, the Manhattan-born, Bronx—raised MC (aka Clarence Ronnie Keaton) would work with Rick Rubin and DJ Jazzy Jay (pioneering... Read more

This Mix Salutes 1987’s Def Jam Tour With LL Cool J, P.E., Eric B. & Rakim and Whodini

By 1987 Def Jam Records had solidified a foothold in the Hip-Hop music landscape. While labels like Sugar Hill, Enjoy, Jive, and Profile Records had released some truly incredible singles, Russell Simmons and Rick Rubin's three-year-old outfit was fast embracing the Rap album format. Moreover, they had a diverse roster—in... Read more

10 Years Ago, Rakim, Nas, Kanye West & KRS-One Made A Classic (Video)

This week, a new video with D.M.C. revealed how telling his verse on "My Adidas" truly was. The Hollis, Queens superstar MC pointed back to the lyrics claiming he took the beat of the street and put it on TV. In doing just as Darryl McDaniels said, the world followed,... Read more

Finding The GOAT Producer: DJ Premier vs. Rick Rubin. Who Is Better?

“Finding the GOAT Producer,” the third installment of Ambrosia For Heads’s annual battle series features Hip-Hop’s greatest producers vying for the #1 spot. Thirty producers were pre-selected by a panel of experts, and two slots will be reserved for wild-card entries, including the possibility for write-in candidates, to ensure no... Read more

An Oral History Of Yo! Bum Rush The Show Reveals How P.E. Launched A Revolution

Thirty years ago today, one of Hip-Hop's most consistent forces unleashed its game-changing first album. On February 10, 1987, Public Enemy debuted Yo! Bum Rush The Show. The story began half a decade before. Meanwhile, 30 calendars deeper, Heads are still learning interesting facts and anecdotes about the Def Jam... Read more

Finding The GOAT Producer: The Sweet 16 Has Been Determined

Last night (February 5), Round 1 voting closed for "Finding The GOAT Producer." That round, launched in early January, began with 32 producers (including two Wild Card inductees into the bracket). As of today's tiebreaker between Organized Noize vs. Erick Sermon (which was within less than 1% when the polls closed),... Read more

Finding The GOAT Producer: Marley Marl vs. Rick Rubin. Who Is Better?

“Finding the GOAT Producer” begins. The third installment of Ambrosia For Heads’s annual battle series features Hip-Hop’s greatest producers vying for the #1 spot. Thirty producers were pre-selected by a panel of experts, and two slots will be reserved for wild-card entries, including the possibility for write-in candidates, to ensure no deserving... Read more

This Documentary On Sampling Highlights Some Rap Classics (Video)

A documentary on the evolution of music production has been airing this fall. Soundbreaking on PBS examines what music producers do, how the craft and technology has advanced, and the impact some men and women have had on superstars in Pop, Rock & Roll, Soul, and Hip-Hop. Episode 6 of... Read more

Chuck D Explains How The #1 Public Enemy Anthem Truly Was Before Its Time (Video)

Public Enemy has a litany of power-packed jams. 1987's "Public Enemy #1" is one of the singles that showcased the Long Island, New York collective as something different—in vocals, production, and command. Appearing in "Once Upon A Rhyme" for B-Real TV, Chuck D gives his Prophets Of Rage band-mate's platform... Read more

Joey Purp & Chance The Rapper Make A Def Jam Like Back In The Day (Video)

Chicago, Illinois artist Joey Purp is having a banner year in 2016. His iiiDrops project is the latest in a series of Windy City freebies that balances substance, swagger, and a lot of originality. He releases one of the effort's standouts as a visual, the Chance The Rapper-assisted "Girls." While... Read more

Run-DMC & Aerosmith Reveal Why They Didn’t Want To “Walk This Way”

Thirty years ago this month, Run-D.M.C. and Aerosmith teamed for "Walk This Way." Eleven years after the Boston, Massachusetts band recorded the initial version of their single, its creators—Steven Tyler and Joe Perry would learn that the drums (courtesy of Joey Kramer) had been re-appropriated by the Hip-Hop community. As... Read more

Russell Simmons Reveals His Secret For Balancing Commercial Success With Maintaining Crediblity (Video)

Throughout Russell Simmons' founding tenure at Def Jam Records, the Hollis Queens, New York native developed a number of hugely successful artists and albums. The Beastie Boys' Licensed To Ill, DMX's It's Dark And Hell Is Hot and Flesh Of My Flesh, Blood Of My Blood, Method Man's Tical 2000:... Read more

Russell Simmons Crowns Def Jam’s Greatest Album & His Favorite Artist (Video)

Russell Simmons and Rick Rubin began releasing Def Jam Records singles in 1984. Started in a New York University dorm room (occupied by Rubin), the company would expand to become a reported $115 million property by the late 1990s. From original flagship artist LL Cool J, Def Jam would play... Read more

Public Enemy’s It Takes A Nation Of Millions vs. A Tribe Called Quest’s Midnight Marauders. Which Is Better?

Last September, Ambrosia For Heads launched a debate among its readers seeking to answer one of Hip-Hop’s most hotly-contested questions: what is the greatest Rap Album Of All-Time? “Finding The GOAT Album” has considered more than 120 albums from the 80s, 90s and 2000s (40 in each), with options for... Read more

Eric B. & Rakim’s Paid In Full vs. Run-D.M.C.’s Raising Hell. Which Is Better?

One year ago, Ambrosia For Heads launched a debate among its readers seeking to answer one of Hip-Hop’s most hotly-contested questions: who is the greatest MC of all time? “Finding The GOAT MC” lasted between September 2014 and May 2015, engaging millions of readers and ultimately producing its winner, as... Read more

Public Enemy’s It Takes A Nation Of Millions To Hold Us Back vs. Common’s Be. Which Is Better?

One year ago, Ambrosia For Heads launched a debate among its readers seeking to answer one of Hip-Hop’s most hotly-contested questions: who is the greatest MC of all time? “Finding The GOAT MC” lasted between September 2014 and May 2015, engaging millions of readers and ultimately producing its winner, as... Read more

Rick Rubin Shares Memories Of His First Time Ever Recording With LL Cool J

LL Cool J's career is greatly owed to Rick Rubin, at least his discovery. And perhaps Rick Rubin's own success is largely owed to the gravitas of LL Cool J. The breakthrough Def Jam Records artist would be one of the earliest label acts, on the fledgling imprint launched by... Read more

LL Cool J’s Radio vs. MC Lyte’s Lyte As A Rock. Which Is Better?

One year ago, Ambrosia For Heads launched a debate among its readers seeking to answer one of Hip-Hop’s most hotly-contested questions: who is the greatest MC of all time? “Finding The GOAT MC” lasted between September 2014 and May 2015, engaging millions of readers and ultimately producing its winner, as... Read more

Finding the GOAT Album: Run-D.M.C.’s Raising Hell vs. Whodini’s Escape. Which One Is Better?

One year ago, Ambrosia For Heads launched a debate among its readers seeking to answer one of Hip-Hop’s most hotly-contested questions: who is the greatest MC of all time? “Finding The GOAT MC” lasted between September 2014 and May 2015, engaging millions of readers and ultimately producing its winner, as... Read more

Finding the GOAT Album: Beastie Boys’ Licensed To Ill vs. EPMD’s Strictly Business. Which Is Better?

One year ago, Ambrosia For Heads launched a debate among its readers seeking to answer one of Hip-Hop’s most hotly-contested questions: who is the greatest MC of all time? “Finding The GOAT MC” lasted between September 2014 and May 2015, engaging millions of readers and ultimately producing its winner, as... Read more

Public Enemy’s It Takes A Nation Of Millions To Hold Us Back vs. Jungle Brothers’ Straight Out The Jungle. Which is Better?

One year ago, Ambrosia For Heads launched a debate among its readers seeking to answer one of Hip-Hop’s most hotly-contested questions: who is the greatest MC of all time? “Finding The GOAT MC” lasted between September 2014 and May 2015, engaging millions of readers and ultimately producing its winner, as... Read more

Run-D.M.C.’s Raising Hell vs. DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince’s Rock The House. Which Is Better?

One year ago, Ambrosia For Heads launched a debate among its readers seeking to answer one of Hip-Hop’s most hotly-contested questions: who is the greatest MC of all time? “Finding The GOAT MC” lasted between September 2014 and May 2015, engaging millions of readers and ultimately producing its winner, as... Read more

LL Cool J’s Radio vs. Kurtis Blow’s Ego Trip. Which Is Better?

One year ago, Ambrosia For Heads launched a debate among its readers seeking to answer one of Hip-Hop’s most hotly-contested questions: who is the greatest MC of all time? “Finding The GOAT MC” lasted between September 2014 and May 2015, engaging millions of readers and ultimately producing its winner, as... Read more

A New Def Jam Biopic May Be in the Works. The Choices For Russell & Rick May Surprise You

By now, the news of Straight Outta Compton's success is common knowledge; the N.W.A. biopic soared into film history by becoming the highest-grossing music biopic ever, beating out films about superstars like Ray Charles and Johnny Cash. That success has opened up space for ongoing discussions about the Hip-Hop Biopic... Read more

Do Remember: The Nonce’s Mix Tapes (Video)

2015's Los Angeles, California Hip-Hop scene includes a plethora of colorful figures. It is now cool (and accepted) to be unconventional. Whether Kendrick Lamar, Earl Sweatshirt, or Blu, plenty of MCs from Southern Cali have come to creative forks in the road, and blazed trails by simply going straight. In... Read more

Beastie Boys’ Licensed To Ill Album Certified Diamond By The RIAA, A 1980s Rap First!

Nearly 30 years old, the Beastie Boys' 1986 debut album, Licensed To Ill has sold 10 million copies. Officially certified diamond status, the Def Jam Records release (the only the Beasties recorded for Russell Simmons & Rick Rubin's then-label)—this is the first for the 30-plus year-old label. Jay Z, DMX,... Read more

Here’s the Inside Story of the Making of LL Cool J’s Classic Rock the Bells (Video)

In Ambrosia For Heads' ongoing GOAT ballot series to determine Hip-Hop's Greatest Of All Time MC, LL Cool J is facing off with Run (of Run-DMC) in Round 2. In this search to let fans decide the real winner, it is actually 30 years removed from a rivalry between the... Read more

Rick Rubin Goes From Boom-Bap To Dance-Hop, Turning His Attentions To GoldLink

T La Rock. Run-DMC. LL Cool J. Beastie Boys. Public Enemy. Geto Boys... For more than 30 years, Rick Rubin has stood on the cutting edge, in Hip-Hop alone. The Def Jam Records co-founder can spot a humongous talent wave out in the ocean, from Rock & Roll to Metal... Read more

Rick Rubin Reveals His Insider Stories Behind Songs He Produced

In recent years, RapGenius has been the go-to website to decipher your favorite Rap lyrics, but it often works best when the artists themselves log on to give their insight. Artists who have created verified accounts to do this include Nas, Kendrick Lamar, GZA, Common, Joey Bada$$, and many more,... Read more

Chance The Rapper Is Making A 2014 Album, Rick Rubin & Frank Ocean Are Present…

It's been more than a year since Chance The Rapper released a full-length project. It was this time last year that Heads started the hubub for #AcidRap to be a popular nomination for the best Hip-Hop album/mixtape of 2013. Well, we just learned that 2014 might not be safe, either...... Read more

Rick Rubin Returns to the Dorm Room Where Def Jam Was Founded for the First Time in 30 Years (Video)

In a year of tributes to Def Jam, celebrating its 30th Anniversary, this might just be the best. Rolling Stone followed Rick Rubin to the NYU dorm room where he started the legendary record label and had not returned to since. Rather than just interviewing Rubin, RS used the journey... Read more

Russell Simmons & Rick Rubin Speak on Why Slick Rick is One of a Kind (Video)

From his flawless storytelling to his impeccable style, Slick Rick is truly one of a kind. In the final part of their Back & Forth conversation for Noisey, Def Jam co-founders Rick Rubin and Russell Simmons speak on the many attributes that make Rick the Ruler so unique. Check out... Read more

Rick Rubin Says Chuck D Thought Public Enemy Was Too Old To Sign To Def Jam In 1987 (Video)

In the third volume of Noisey's series on Def Jam Records' 30th anniversary, founders Russell Simmons and Rick Rubin devote their attentions on Public Enemy. Likely in conjunction with P.E.'s performance of "Public Enemy #1" with The Roots on Jimmy Fallon's "The Tonight Show" yesterday (September 16), the vignette pays... Read more

Rick Rubin & Russell Simmons Remember The Beastie Boys’ Beginnings (Video)

In the second (of four) installment of the 30th anniversary Def Jam Records vignettes, Russell Simmons and Rick Rubin sit down to remember Adam "MCA" Yauch. Interestingly enough, in recalling the pre-Licensed To Ill days of the New York City trio, Rick Rubin served as the Beasties' DJ, before DJ... Read more

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... Read more

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

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... Read more

Kanye West Is Recording, But Who Is Involved & What Does It Sound Like?

All Heads know right now is that Kanye West is recording his seventh solo album, and it's allegedly going down in Florence, Italy. Early on, reports stated that Q-Tip and Rick Rubin were sitting in the executive producer's chairs, following Rubin's role in Yeezus, and G.O.O.D. Music inking The Abstract... Read more

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,... Read more

What Do Nas, Rick Rubin & Fab 5 Freddy Think Of Hip-Hop & Race? Watch Part One Of The Tanning Of America (Video)

Yesterday (February 24) kicked off Vh1's five-part series on The Tanning Of America: One Nation Under Hip-Hop. The title, concept and vision is based on Steve Stoute's recent book, which looked at the cultural and racial diaspora that's happened in the United States, in large part, due to Hip-Hop. The... Read more

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

The same week that LL Cool J hosted the Grammy Awards, there is another important memory milestone for Def Jam Records. Thirty years ago today (January 28), the label started by Russell Simmons and Rick Rubin (in a New York University dorm room), released blockbuster single "It's Yours" by Manhattan/Bronx... Read more

The Top 10 Most Compelling Hip-Hop Photographs Of 2013 (Food For Thought)

The old adage, "a picture's worth a thousand words" often proves to be true. Let's hope so for 2013, which by way of Instagram, Twipic, and some inner-circle released photos, told Heads plenty of stories. From unlikely reunions to time-pieces, to first steps for Hip-Hop kind, what a year... Here... Read more

Q-Tip & Rick Rubin Will Reportedly Produce Bulk Of Kanye West’s Yeezus Follow-Up

Kanye West has said next to nothing about the specifics regarding his seventh album, and will-be follow-up to Yeezus. There's been talk of Cruel Winter from G.O.O.D. Music's clique, as well as a possible Watch The Throne 2 as well, given Jay Z's propensity for series. Q-Tip dropped a bit... Read more

The “Ultimate” Exit That Was Jay Z’s Black Album (Food For Thought)

Hip-Hop celebrates a grand entrance. Since the days of receiving Bad Boy Records promo-packs of The Notorious B.I.G. & Craig Mack in a McDonald’s "Big Mac" container, the dog-and-pony show known as the music industry has embraced the infinite possibilities of the new over the challenges of re-purposing the old.... Read more

Eminem Unloads Groundhog Day The Same Weekend He Performs Rap God (Video)

In less than 24 hours, one of the biggest Rap release dates of 2013 takes place care of Eminem's Marshall Mathers LP 2 (aka #MMLP2). The follow-up to Em's 2000 classic includes a revived sound and style in the lyrics, with production inspired by the sample-heavy Rock/Rap synergy of the... Read more