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]
Earlier today, Juicy J encouraged his Twitter followers to embrace the full spectrum of the American dream by going out to vote and then discovering their official stripper name on his website. This seemed like a fine excuse to run the full and proper real names of ten notable rappers through the Juice’s online generator. Read on to find out who struts around in stripper-heels as Six-Pack Honkercock and who embraces the pole as Raquelle Leathertush. [READ MORE…]
Next week, Roc Marciano will release his exceptional new album, Reloaded. It’s a fitting success for Roc Marcy, who used to count himself a part of Busta Rhymes’ Flipmode Squad and then the Pete Rock-endorsed group The UN before achieving solo acclaim for 2010’s Marcberg album. Tapping into Roc Marcy’s Twitter account, here he explains away the idea of a “meat gun,” his crush on Sheila E, and why he’s diggin’ Earl Sweatshirt’s rap. [READ MORE]
Action Bronson released his new Rare Chandeliers album today as a free download! As befits New York’s finest rapping gourmand, the project brims with references to foodstuffs. So having had a chance to digest the latest of Bronson’s banquets, here’s a handy guide to the spread of tasty verbals sprinkled across the project—complete with dinner guest Styles P attempting to get in on the action by turning up to the feast with a Swanson TV dinner. Now go ‘head and pass that fennel-laced lamb. [READ MORE]
Roc Marciano season is in full effect! Thanks to the magnificence of his newly released sophomore set Reloaded, the long-toiling and resolutely underground rapper is finally enjoying his deserved moment in the spotlight. But the recent cult of Roc Marcy started with 2010′s Marcberg; after its release news quickly broke that he was penning a sequel in Reloaded, and since then a dozen or so tracks have emerged that eventually failed to make the final tracklisting, possibly due to sample clearing issues, possibly due to not wanting to release a 24-song album. Still, there’s some real gems here — check out Hive’s pick of the best Reloaded outtakes. [READ MORE]
The music world lost a great earlier this week when 80-year-old jazz trumpeter Donald Byrd passed due to unspecified causes. Byrd’s talented jazz chops saw him craft a career that included acclaimed work with genre greats John Coltrane, Art Blakey and Thelonious Monk, but it was his late-’60s and ’70s recordings for Blue Note that endeared him to a new generation of musicians with hip-hop producers finding his increasingly funky grooves irresistible sample sources. (Byrd seemed to appreciate the rap world’s endeavors, and appeared on the first of Guru’s Jazzmatazz albums in 1993.) Here’s hip-hop’s five most effective samples of Donald Byrd’s music. [Read More…]
Words by @PhilipMlynar
In 1997 two Brown University students started a seminal label that brought lyrical legends like Mos Def, Talib Kweli, Company Flow and Pharoahe Monch to the masses and proved that great underground rap could sell records on a large scale.