The 30th anniversary celebration year of Def Jam Recordings moves into high gear next month with the September 16th release of DEF JAM 30, an all-encompassing collection of landmark tracks from the first three decades of hip-hop’s most important record label, packaged in a limited edition turntable style numbered box with bound book and bonus t-shirt. Rick Rubin, one of Def Jam’s architects and founders, adds historic impact to the box set as the curator of Selections From The Roots Of Def Jam, a fascinating and never-before-conceived 13-song compilation of seminal hip-hop tracks from a variety of record labels. They (mostly) pre-date Def Jam’s 1984 origins, and shed light on the musical influences that informed Rubin and his partner Russell Simmons. Here are the Treacherous 3 (“Body Rock,” 1980), the Fearless Four (“Rockin It,” 1982), Afrika Bambaataa & the Soul Sonic Force (“Looking For The Perfect Beat,” 1982), Starski (“Live At The Fever,” 1983), Mantronix (“Fresh Is The Word,” 1985), and many other rarities, some of which are making their first appearances together in any single collection.
From LL Cool J’s breakthrough “Rock the Bells” (1989) and Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame inductee Public Enemy’s revolutionary “Fight the Power” (1989, from Spike Lee’s Do the Right Thing), all the way up through Jay-Z & Kanye West’s “Niggas In Paris” (2011) and YG’s “My Nigga” (2013, featuring Jeezy & Rich Homie Quan), the basic 30-song lineup of DEF JAM 30 provides a comprehensive view of hip-hop’s evolution and development. The independent spirit of adventure that Rick Rubin and Russell Simmons launched in an NYU college dorm room is still the guiding principle of Def Jam Recordings, home of the greatest names in the history of hip-hop, rap and R&B.
Other major artists represented on the 30 DEF JAM 30 selections include Slick Rick, EPMD, Nice & Smooth, Onyx, Redman, Boss, Warren G, Montell Jordan, Method Man, DMX, Case, Foxy Brown, Ashanti, Ja Rule, Fabolous, Cam’ron, Ludacris, the Roots, Scarface, Rick Ross, Jeezy, Kanye West, 2 Chainz, Big Sean, YG, and a host of collaborators and featured artists.
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