Def Jam

Def Jam Celebrates 40th Anniversary With Digital Timeline And Merchandise To Honor Hip-Hop Legacy

Def Jam was launched in 1984 by Rick Rubin and Russell Simmons.

Pioneering hip-hop record company Def Jam is now officially 40 years old. The label launched its birthday celebration with a detailed timeline featured on its website to take a walk down its memory lane.

The digital timeline kicks off with the renowned hip-hop label’s establishment in 1984 by Rick Rubin and Russell Simmons, traveling all the way from the 1980s to the 2020s. Not long after Def Jam’s founding, T La Rock and Jazzy Jay released their song “It’s Yours,” making it the recording company’s first-ever single.

Taking off from there, the timeline details all the significant moments in the history of Def Jam, including its first album, LL Cool J’s Radio, and the first aired episode of “Def Comedy Jam” in 1992. It also captures the moments of a Def Jam artist winning their first Grammy, with LL Cool J winning Best Rap Solo Performance in 1992 for “Mama Said Knock You Out,” and the release of Montell Jordan’s #1 hit “This Is How We Do It” in 1995.

To accompany the timeline, an interactive map also lists historical places that were also part of Def Jam’s evolution, including Madison Square Garden, the company’s original offices, and the Brooklyn high school that hip-hop legends Jay-Z, DMX, and Busta Rhymes all once attended. The map intends to give hip-hop fanatics a deeper dive into the lives of those who helped build the genre and the cultural movement.

Def Jam has maintained its relevancy and status in the music industry with rappers such as Jay-Z and Pusha T, as well as singers Mariah Carey and Toni Braxton, being part of its expansive artist family. As a game-changing label, Def Jam’s legacy continues to evolve while remaining true to its New York-based roots, with New York City declaring January 2024 “Def Jam Month” to further honor its place in entertainment.

To join the party, visit the Def Jam online shop, offering merch for fans to showcase their pride and love of the music and community the label has elevated over the decades.

RELATED CONTENT: Russell Simmons Forced To Enter Sexual Abuse Lawsuit Against L.A. Reid