Given that without the launch of Def Jam Records, it could be argued that hip hop would never have reached such worldwide acclaim, how perfect is it that the 6th annual VH1 Hip Hop Honors” will pay tribute to the storied label?
The show, which premieres Oct. 13, will feature performances from Eminem, Young Jeezy, Ludicris, Mary J. Blige, DMX, Redman, Public Enemy, Kid Rock, Warren G and others. Tracy Morgan will host. Presenters include Chris Rock, Jimmy Fallon and Brett Ratner.
A little Def Jam history lesson: Producer Rick Rubin started Def Jam Records out of his dorm room at New York University. He was introduced to Russell Simmons, then an artist manager, and Def Jam, as we know it, was born. The first artists signed to the label were LL Cool J and the Beastie Boys.
Among the other artists on the label were Oran “Juice” Jones, metal band Slayer, and Public Enemy. After PolyGram (now owned by Universal), purchased 50% of the label from Sony, Def Jam moved into another era with such acts as Warren G, Method Man, Slick Rick and Redman. In 1997, Def Jam signed a distribution deal with Roc-A-Fella Records, which brought Jay-Z into the fold.
Could this be where the Beastie Boys first reunite following Adam Yauch’s successful fight against cancer? Even though he hasn’t been announced, we’re hoping LL Cool J will show up, although his shooting schedule for “NCIS: Los Angeles” may keep him away.