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flo taylor

flo taylor's Public Library

  • “I Need a Beat” became an underground hit, which led to Def Jam scoring a distribution deal with CBS Records (which would become Sony Records in 1990)
  • But when the ‘80s became the ‘90s, the label found itself in serious financial troubles despite their mind-boggling success, and their money problems got so bad that by 1992, they were on the brink of folding.
  • But two years later, PolyGram would come to Def Jam’s rescue, buying Sony Record’s half of the company and bringing the iconic label under their wing, while at the same time keeping it a separate entity.

  • But by 1992, even with multiplatinum sellers from Def Jam artists, the label ran into financial troubles and subsequently, half its stake was sold to PolyGram Records.
  • The album’s massive commercial success combined with Redman’s Dare Iz a Darkside and Method Man’s Tical – which both went gold – helped Def Jam turn its financial problems around and go on to become the giant it is today.

  • However, Def Jam Recordings was experiencing financial trouble. In order to save the label, Sony sold their 50% share in Def Jam Records to the label "PolyGram Records" in 1994.

  • These guys fail to realize that when you talk about Def Jam, you’re talking about my legacy. Everything that ever happened at Def Jam is my legacy. Without me being a 16-year-old with my rhyme book, Def Jam [wouldn’t] exist. Everything that’s ever been a success up there is a product of me, and I’ve given birth to it.
  • LL’s claims are no exaggeration: His “I Need a Beat” single was one of Def Jam’s first releases (and his 1985 Radio LP was its first full-length), he was the label’s first major success and he’s been one of its franchise artists for more than two decades. He signed with the label when its office was Rick Rubin’s dorm room at New York University, so obviously he’s emotionally invested.

  • his first, Radio, went platinum. The year 1987 came, and he released Bigger and Deffer. All looked promising for LL Cool J’s much-anticipated third release, 1989’s Walking with a Panther.

  • It started with my own punk-rock band. I recorded a single and an EP. I was friends with Ed Bahlman, who ran 99 Records, and he put out like ESG, Bush Tetras, Glenn Branca, Liquid Liquid—just kind of cool, more underground records. He walked me through the process of putting out my own records independently. As my love of hip-hop grew, I felt like it would be fun to make a hip-hop record. At that time, there were no hip-hop albums, only 12-inch singles, and the 12-inch singles that were coming out weren’t really reflecting what the hip-hop scene was like.
  • Even the name Def Jam—the reason the D and the J are so big in the logo was that I felt that the DJ was a very important aspect of this music. The inception of Def Jam was really more to me about bringing the DJ to the forefront and the fact that it’s the DJ and the MC together that makes hip-hop.
  • “It’s Yours,” by T La Rock and Jazzy Jay, was my first hip-hop record. First I met Kool Moe Dee from the Treacherous Three, who were my favorite group. And I said, “Let’s make a record together. Let’s make a Treacherous Three record.” And he said, “We can’t really do that. We’re signed to Sugar Hill, but talk to Special K, another guy in the group, because he has a brother who can rap, and maybe he’d be good for you to do this with.” I didn’t know that there were contracts, I didn’t know anything. I had no experience whatsoever. I was just a fan.

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  • “I’m Down,” of course, was a reworking of the Beatles’ B-side of the same name (as Ad-Rock joked, “[It] was written by John Lennon. It was the last thing he wrote before he got dusted”), and thanks to a licensing issue, it was deleted from Ill at the last minute. Still, if the Beasties knew about any impending legal drama, they didn’t let our interviewer know about it; rather, they were focused on taking over the world, one party-hearty anthem at a time.

  • n part because of the album's rock undertones and the heavy guitar riffs on "Fight For Your Right" and "No Sleep Till Brooklyn," and that the Beastie Boys where White, the album appealed to a new, largely white, fanbase upon its release, even though the LP was also revered among hardcore Hip Hop fans. It has sold more than 10 million copies, though Rubin says his sales goals were much more modest.
  • “We were making it for us and our friends, and if it would’ve sold 25,000 copies we would’ve been ecstatic,"
  • Really. The fact that so many people liked it was really a shock to us, because it’s such an inside album. There’s so many inside jokes and it’s such a personal album. And it’s ridiculous. The stuff they talk about is really ridiculous, and it entertained us, but we never imagined that it would entertain anyone else."

  • I remember the first time we came to your office to meet with you about being our manager, and you sat us down very seriously and said, "I'm going to say one thing: I'm not a baby-sitter!"
  • What's amazing to me is that in the beginning, people would say to me, "Them white boys you got are a novelty." Y'all wasn't gonna be shit. But now you've hung out with the Dalai Lama, been with tons of women, traveled around the world, been rock stars. That's some shit to think about.

  • “We weren’t about to repeat ourselves,” Mike D said. “That wasn’t where our heads were at … We were at a place where we needed to take a break and make something totally new, and Def Jam wasn’t really feeling that, so things got a little funny.”
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