The First Eight Def Jam Singles
Wednesday March 31st 2010,
Filed under: Def Jam Week,Not Your Average,Speaker Smashers,Steady Bootleggin'
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Considering the impact that the Def Jam label has had on hip-hop music, looking back over the first eight 12″ singles on the maroon label is pretty amusing. After the incredible debuts of super rapper T La Rock with ‘It’s Yours’ (on Def Jam/Partytime) and LL Cool J via ‘I Need A Beat’, the other early six releases that Rick Rubin had his hand in are a bit of a mixed bag in terms of quality.

T La Rock & Jazzy Jay – ‘It’s Yours’

Regarded by many as the first rap record to actually capture the sound of a real hip-hop performance. The true definition of the term ‘classic’.

LL Cool J – ‘I Need A Beat’

A hell of an introduction to a hell of a rapper, with a little help from Ad Rock and Jazzy Jay, of course.

Beastie Boys – ‘Rock Hard’ / ‘Party’s Getting Rough’ / ‘Beastie Groove’

Compared to something like ‘It’s The New Style’, this is Flintstone-era shit from MCA, Ad Rock and Mike D. ‘Rock Hard’ is notable for the AC/DC riff and not much else, while ‘Party’s Gettin’ Rough’ is an eight minute bug-out session. ‘Beastie Groove’ is more of a straight forward demonstration of their still-developing rhyming skills over a messy drum track.

Jazzy Jay – ‘Def Jam’ / ‘Cold Chillin’ In The Spot’

Russell Rush provides some vocal commentary (dusted out of his mind, I assume) over Jay’s cuts and Rick’s beats. A lot of this ended-up being scratched into hooks for other records as you’ll no doubt notice.

MCA & Burzootie – ‘Drum Machine’

A fine example of 1985 Shout Rap over a sick bassline, this is an under-appreciated sure-shot.

LL Cool J – ‘I Want You’ / ‘Dangerous’

Two tracks that would later appear on the Radio LP, but the ‘Burnt Mix’ of the b-side is a superb journey into abrasive beats.

Jimmy Spicer – ‘This Is It’ / ‘Beat The Clock’

Best known for ‘The Adventures Of Super Rhymes’ and ‘Money’ (Dollar Bill Y’All), Mr. Spicer delivers a couple of solid but not exactly essential joints.

Hollis Crew – ‘It’s The Beat’

Run-DMC let their crew get dumb over the drum on this one. Kool-T (later a member of The Afros), DJ Hurricane, Runny Ray, and Davey DMX get their fist taste of the spotlight.

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16 Comments so far
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Love it..thanks man…gonna check em all now.

Comment by Johnny Hardcore 03.31.10 @

Jimmy Spicer’s SuperRhymes > 80% of ALL Hip Hop songs ever made.

Talk about innovating!!! and that song had to be made around ’79 or ’80

AND T La Rocks “It’s Yours” gots to be better than 95% of shit ever made. If I had to explain what early hip hop was about I’d use this song as an example.

Comment by BKThoroughbred 03.31.10 @

dope post….

Comment by mercilesz 03.31.10 @

damn you guys are always on point with your shit!

Comment by lufwal 03.31.10 @

I loathe how a really dope informative post like this gets 4 comments but petty bullshit debates (which I enjoy don’t get me wrong) get like 200 comments..that’s whats wack about rap right now…when I was a kid if you didn’t know your history or constantly search for unheard music you were a New Jack and a fag…not that I have a problem with homosexuals but i’m sure you understand the context.

Comment by Johnny Hardcore 03.31.10 @

agree with johnathon softcore.

great post.
want that book.

Comment by Arkitek D O T H E M A T H 03.31.10 @

Jimmy Spicer is often overlooked and totally underrated.

That hollis joint was hot back in the day.

Comment by gorillapimpin2k10 04.01.10 @

Its yours! They dont make shit like that no more! L.L LIVIN LEGEND! I NEED A BEAT WAS ILL!

Comment by mercedes1010 04.01.10 @

It’s almost surprising that “It’s Yours” hasn’t been viciously raped by this decades rat pack of supernintendo hipster blog rappers… or has it?

Comment by Thun 04.01.10 @

LL’s vocab (much like T La Rock) was some extraordinary shit… I don’t know every hip-hop lyric in existence, but I swear this nigga used certain words that you’d have to search high and low to find where someone else used them. You ain’t never heard shit like “insurmountable” or “unfurl” just tossed around.

Wow @ the MCA & Burzootie… as indifferent as I am to most ’85-era shout rap, MCA’s always been one of the great voices of that time.


Comment by DANJ! 04.01.10 @

Comment by Thun 04.01.10 @


Comment by thunny 04.01.10 @

seriously, Rick was a hip hop hero. people don’t know.

Comment by jesse 04.01.10 @

I’m giving this a 7 out of 8.
(Rock Hard is kinda meh.)
At the time I wasn’t heaps into ‘I Want You’ but middle age has mellowed me.

Comment by PR2 04.02.10 @

This looks dope but the files are all down unfortunately… y’all been downloading these hard lol… I wanna check out that Hollis Crew joint.

Comment by Gusto 04.06.10 @

Man..I had 5 of 8 of these..came here looking for that Hollis crew joint–lived the drum programming on this.

Comment by Jon 03.15.13 @

“It’s Yours”, Ultra’s “Ego Trippin'” and LL’s “Rock The Bells pt. 2” all need to be in some elevated vocab hall of fame…

Comment by oskamadison 03.15.13 @

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