2nd Source Eval

The second major source I am using for my research paper is the book “Def Jam, Inc.” by Stacy Gueraseva. It details the lives of Rick Rubinimages and Russell Simmons leading up to the founding of Def Jam Records and then the success and legacy of the company after that. I focussed on the first third of the book which is mainly about the individual influences and college experiences of Rubin and Simmons, right before their meeting. Both came from comfortable suburban backgrounds but Simmons was more of a businessman and promoter, whereas Rubin was a punk enthusiast and musician. When Rubin and Simmons were each in college, New York University and City College respectively, they both put themselves into their music fully. Rubin threw Hip-hop/Punk crossover parties where he would often DJ or have his Punk band play. Simmons started “Rush Management” where he managed Kurtis Blow, and eventually his brothers rap group, “Run DMC”. There are numerous similarities between Simmons’ and Rubin’s background, but the main difference is that Rubin was punk and Simmons was Hip-Hop. It was the combination of these two genres that would make Def Jam.


Def Jam, Inc.” by Stacy Gueraseva is a good source for the more specific look at Def Jam Recording s rather than either Punk or Hip-Hop, broadly. Def Jam was certainly the most formidable label for these genres for a time, but it is the combination of Rubin and Simmons that shows how similar the climates that Punk and Hip-Hop grew out of were. This book is a less personally biased source as it is not written by someone from Def Jam, but rather an outsider looking in. Overall this is a good source documenting the collision of the two genres. Moving forward I need to find a source purely about the foundings of New York City Punk.
Gueraseva, Stacy. Def Jam, Inc.: Russell Simmons, Rick Rubin, and the extraordinary story of the world’s most influential hip hop label. New York: One World Ballantine, 2005. Print.

1 comment for “2nd Source Eval

  1. JPT
    January 23, 2017 at 11:02 pm

    A good overall take on a source that should provide a good paragrpah or two along with some incidental spice. While Def Jam is integral to the history of hip-hop, it is a little more tangential to the more DIY ethos, not to mention 4AD and Rough Trade and the many venerable labels of punk. It offers a slice of the genres, but I would be interested to see what role primary interviews of archival research informs this book. Also maybe one typo too… 48/50

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