The birth of Def Jam records is one of hip-hop’s most cherished tales: Run out of a ramshackle New York University dormitory by Rick Rubin and Russell Simmons, the label’s first wave of releases by artists like T La Rock, the Beastie Boys and LL Cool J defined an a good portion of ’80s hip-hop. A quarter of a century later, the label still exists; though corporate ownership might have changed hands, this year’s biggest rap record, Jay-Z and Kanye West‘s Watch the Throne, is still stamped with the Def Jam logo.
Appointed the label’s first director of publicity in 1983, Bill Adler saw Def Jam’s growth from the front-lines. Now he’s co-authored an oral history of the label, Def Jam Recordings: The First 25 Years Of The Last Great Record Label (out this week) in tandem with one-time industry A&R guy Dan Charnas. So what sticks out? Adler recalls for us his five fondest moments from the label’s formative years. [MTVHive]