Russell Simmons is the co-founder Def Jam, one the most legendary rap labels in hip-hop. That’s a pretty good reason you need to wish him a happy 60th birthday today (Oct. 4).
Simmons high stature come from how he embodied the black entrepreneurial spirit born out the Reagan era, way before Jay Z became a business, man. He broke through as the manager for Kurtis Blow, helping the star get signed to Priority Recrods–the first rapper to land a major deal.
Simmons also managed his younger brother Run and Run’s group Run-D.M.C., who would become multiplatinum superstars. Simmons also founded the streetwear brand Phat Farm, produced HBO’s popular Def Comedy Jam in the ’90s and published a few books.
But he’s always going to be known for Def Jam, the label that gave us LL Cool J, the Beastie Boys, Public Enemy, Slick Rick, Warren G, Jay Z, Kanye West and YG.
The legendary Rick Rubin founded it in his New York University dorm room, and thanks to key hits from TL Rock, the Beastie Boys, LL and others, Def Jam became an influential label. In 1999, Simmons sold his share Def Jam to the Universal Music Group for $2 billion. Now that’s the hustler’s dream.
Simmons, who practices yoga and mediation every day, is very active on the internet. He runs the hip-hop website Global Grind and the comedy YouTube channel All Def Digital. In 2014, he published a self-help book titled Success Through Stillness: Meditation Made Simple.
So what is Russell Simmons’ one advice on being successful?
“The key ingredient to any kind happiness or success is to never give less than your best,” he says.
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