10 Things I Discovered From The Book ‘Def Jam, Inc.’
Monday March 29th 2010,
Filed under: Books,Def Jam Week,Great Moments In Rap,Not Your Average
Written by:

Somehow or other, I recently found myself at the local library, where I stumbled across a book titled Def Jam, Inc. The author, Stacy Guerseva, did a great job of recalling the history from the early days of the label based in Rick Rubin‘s dorm through to the powerhouse that it would eventually become. Of course I was less interested in the corporate development and more focused on the what rap trivia I might find. Turns out there was a lot of great shit in there:

1. MC Breeze was signed to Def Jam for years (on the strength of a song called ‘Popcorn’ he did with the LA Posse) and recorded over sixty songs for the label ,but never got a release. The LA Posse went on to produce LL’s Bigger And Deffer, however.

2. Doctor Dre from Original Concept and Yo! MTV Raps was the Beastie Boys DJ for a while (after Rick Rubin had to end his role as DJ Double R due to an ear infection that prevented him from flying for several months), but he was fired for ‘being lazy’ and replaced by Run-DMC crew member DJ Hurricane.

3. Roadie Runny Ray once forgot to pack the records for one of Run-DMC’s first shows in the UK. To make matters worse, it was a hot afternoon and the spot had no air conditioning. Fearing a riot was about to break out, Lyor Cohen called everyone who brought Run-DMC vinyl to get signed to bring their records to the stage so that they could get in first – and then handed the pile of wax to Jam-Master Jay to do the show with!

4. Slick Rick tried to pick fights with many members of the Def Jam roster while on tour, including an incident with JMJ over The Ruler’s comments to Word Up! magazine that Run-DMC were ‘garbage’. He is also reported to have fired three shots from his pistol into the roof of the Def Jam offices when he was ignored one afternoon, yelling, ‘Attention, peasants!’

5. After the disappointing performance of Walking With A Panther, LL Cool J visited Prince Paul and pleased for him to make him a hit record. Paul replied as he would if he LL would get him the same white Benz with a blue top that he’d arrived in.

6. Big Daddy Kane once beat-up a Rush tour manager Big D in the office after he’d left him stranded in North Carolina after his tour bus had broken down, while another tour almost resulted in a fight between LL and Rakim in an elevator.

7. Nice ‘N Smooth pulled guns on Lyor Cohen after he released ‘Old To The New’ as the first single from their third album instead of ‘Return of the Hip-Hop Freaks’. They also stepped to Russell in a less threatening manner.

8. Public Enemy and 3rd Bass had a brawl and trashed the office while the back cover of Fear of A Black Planet was being shot. The cause? Griff wasn’t pleased with the parody of the S1W’s in the ‘Gas Face’ video.

9. Russell Simmons wasted a shit-tonne of money and resources on his pet R&B projects like Tashan, Oran ‘Juice’ Jones, The Black Flames and Don Newkirk. Rick Rubin doesn’t drink and claims to have never done drugs….say word?

10. Ad-Rock from the Beastie Boy’s not only discovered LL Cool J’s demo tape from the seemingly endless boxes of demo tapes that were sent to Rick Rubin’s dorm room every week, but he also wrote one of the verses for ‘It’s My Beat’! It seems that he was also heavily involved programming tracks like ‘Hold It Now, Hit it!’ and ‘Paul Revere’ from the B-Boys Def Jam debut.

This trip down memory lane also inspired me to dig out my collection of maroon label Def Jam singles, so prepare for a week loud drum machines and Shout Rap as we set off Def Jam Week here at Unkut…

Tweet about this on TwitterShare on FacebookShare on Google+Pin on PinterestShare on RedditShare on TumblrDigg thisShare on StumbleUponEmail this to someone

24 Comments so far
Leave a comment

Amazing. Ricky is the Man!

Comment by Antonio 03.29.10 @

lmao @ “attention, peasants!” that shit is hardcore

Yo Robbie! Do you know if the Original Concept dudes attended the same school as Nas (kooley high)? The Straight From The Basement Of Kooley High! LP is pretty nice by the way

Comment by .... 03.29.10 @

This is what I’m talking about post like this are the reason I started checking this site out…

Comment by Johnny Hardcore 03.29.10 @

Number 4 was funny! Slick rick the ruler should make some new shit. That 1st album was fire!

Comment by mercedes1010 03.29.10 @


Comment by ICE MILK A.K.A Trilla Cather 03.29.10 @

This is more like it. Good shit…

Comment by Deen 03.29.10 @

slick rick for the win, that shit is hilarious, ironic that hes called the storyteller because that is the funniest story i have ever heard about da ruler, now where is my eye patch and gold rope chains

Comment by gstatty 03.29.10 @

The 3rd Bass/PE story is a bit suspect.
They toured the UK together in February’90.

Comment by Beatlover 03.29.10 @



Comment by TYBO2020 03.29.10 @

Walking WITH a Panther, he’s not that type of guy.

Comment by keatso 03.29.10 @

word, i also copped this book from at mulocal Melbourne library. theres another Def Jam book too that is equally as good. Rick was a fucking hip hop hero.

Comment by jesse 03.29.10 @

Typos stay losing.

Comment by Robbie 03.29.10 @

i heard these wanna rock freestyle from ricky d few days ago and it was dope.sounded fresh.like he never been away.hope for more.god mc.

Comment by swordfish 03.30.10 @

seems like adrock also produced “i need a beat”
him and rick rubin did production and adlibs on “it’s yours” and did “she’s on it”
yeah, hi,nhi was self produced by the beasties
slick rick used to run with mad guns, he once threatened the bomb squad with rifles(ask combat jack)
hey young world! dude was crazy
nice piece rob

Comment by southern elitist 03.30.10 @

I love shit like this…

Comment by qunyc 03.30.10 @

Scratch magazine used to have tales from the studio or something like that. So dope! Yall should do a book or
Somethin like this. Collection of crazy memoirs of hiphop artist. Keep it up!

Comment by brutalLee 03.30.10 @

yo! bumrush the show was my joint in grade 8… walkman chewed that shit up

Comment by er4se 03.31.10 @

Ha Dope!

Is there any point in reading the book now tho?

Comment by tareq 03.31.10 @

Chalk this up as a successful blog entry, Robbie! I bought the book, I hope it’s good 😛

You should all check “Check The Technique”, that book is fucking awesome.

Comment by .... 03.31.10 @

@tareq: Yeah, there’s a lot I haven’t spoiled yet.

@…: ‘Check The Technique’ is dope, especially the chapter about Schoolly-D.

Comment by Robbie 03.31.10 @

Im guessing the Nice & Smooth situation is what Greg Nice was referring to in “DWYCK’- “Dont never ever think of jerking me, I work too hard for my royalty, put led in your ass & drink a cup of tea” TRUE STORY?

Comment by D.Baskett 03.31.10 @

Author of the book here! Thanks for the awesome write-up. This was great.

Comment by stacy gueraseva 03.31.10 @

@ D.Baskett The ‘Dwyck’ line couldn’t have been in reference to that incident. ‘Dwyck’ dropped in mid-’92, the ‘Old To The New’ joint came out in spring ’94.

That said, the thought of Greg Nice and Smooth B stepping to Lyor with guns out is nut-so. Further proof that some of the most fun-loving rappers can also be the most likely to go hard in real life.

I’ma have to track this book down somewhere…


Comment by DANJ! 04.01.10 @

I read this over Christmas break, as I had seen it for years, but thought it would just focus on the crappy modern Def Jam. Boy was I wrong. This book was excellent in that it really covered everyone, not just the big artists, on Def Jam. I will say that the last few chapters of the book raced through a decent chunk of time, but I didn’t really care for any artists post early 90’s, so I can’t say that I cared personally.

Comment by HipHopHistorian 04.02.10 @

Leave a comment
Line and paragraph breaks automatic, e-mail address never displayed, HTML allowed: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>