The Godfather of Hip-Hop that engineered the blueprint that took this revolutionary underground culture and genre into the arena of big business is known as the older brother of the MC Rev Run in, "Russell Simmons". As the co-founder of the iconic Hip-Hop label known as Def Jam, Simmons would help usher Hip-Hop onto the biggest stage of mainstream American culture and mass media respectively. Def Jam as a record label would be the platform for many of Hip-Hop's most influential and impactful artists in LL Cool J, Slick Rick, Public Enemy and Beastie Boys. Simmons built his full-fledged Hip-Hop entertainment powerhouse by producing an iconic film, "Krush Groove" that details the foundation of Def Jam. In 1991 Russell started the HBO Series, "Russell Simmons Def Comedy Jam" that birthed many of the most iconic comedians (including Chris Tucker, Martin Lawerence, Bernie Mac and Dave Chapelle). Simmons also produced the television hit series Def Poetry Jam that showcased the amazing talents of rising poets and stars such as "Shihan" and Chicago's very own, "Kanye West". By the time Simmons sold his stake of the company in 1999 for 100 million dollars he would become one of the most respected figures in Hip-Hop's arena and would proceed to continue his entrepreneurial endeavors by starting the clothing company Phat Farm. Russell would also eventually sell his stake in the company for $140 million dollars in 2004 and has amassed a net worth of approximately $325 million dollars since he started Def Jam with Rick Rubin in 1983. Ultimately, Simmons has cemented himself as one of the Godfathers of Hip-Hop and also an extremely charitable activist and humanitarian who advocates for social rights, animal rights and Veganism respectively.
We encourage you to check out some very insightful interviews with Simmons regarding his practice of yoga, being a vegan and even his early days of constructing the entertainment empire in Def Jam Records below!