Russell Simmons Biography, Life, Interesting Facts
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Russell Wendell Simmons was born in Queens, New York, on October 4, 1957. He is second of three brothers and grew up in the Hollis area. He started his empire-building in his formative years.
However, he got on the wrong side of the law, by vending marijuana to make money even though he was a dynamic member of a local gang. Notwithstanding having been detained two times for his offenses, in 1975 Simmons graduated from high school. He moved to the City College of New York and was only there for a while before dropping out.
Simmons mastered the streets of New York City. Simmons was a street hustler throughout his adolescent years, and although he was still in university, he started endorsing numerous hip-hop artists.
His affection for music was what made him pull out of school. He created Rush Management to promote local rap acts. Some of the notable names in his fold were Kurtis Blow and Run-D.M.C.
Rap music rapidly grew and maintained a well-known affection amongst everybody. In 1984, Simmons together with Rick Rubin created the label ‘Def Jam,’ paving the way for the hip-hop uprising.
In 1983, together with Rick Rubin started the record label; ‘Def Jam’ which shortly started releasing hip-hop singles of numerous performers.
In 1984, ‘Def Jam’ released American vocalist LL Cool J's hip-hop solo hit ‘I Need a Beat’ as well as American hip-hop group ‘Beastie Boys’ single ‘Rock Hard.’
He created the feature film, ‘Krush Groove’ in 1985, which was executed by Michael Schultz. The plan of the movie was focused on the initial days of the record label ‘Def Jam.’
By 1986, ‘Def Jam’ was seeing new flairs and they began to venture into the mainstream. They topped the music charts with releases like ‘Licensed to Ill,’ and ‘Raising Hell.’
As he worked with more new talents, by 1988, ‘Def Jam’ became one of the most fruitful hip-hop labels of that era. The same year, Rick Rubin aborted the business.
Apart from L.L Cool J, Run DMC, and Public Enemy, other acts like Oran "Juice" Jones as well as the beat metallic band Slayer were also in the label of Simmons.
Simmons went a step further to get hip-hop to be accepted as conventional music. In 1985, Simmons created the successful flick “Krush Groove” as a way of endorsing Def Jam and its performers to the entertainment world.
During this time, he would also make the Run-D.M.C and movie “Tougher than Leather” series on cable TV. The run on HBO for these series was for the years 1992 to 2008.
He is addressed as the ‘hip-hop innovator’ and one of the ‘Top 25 Most Powerful Individuals of the Past 25 Years’. Russell Simmons has engaged an essential role in taking hip-hop music to the front position.
He is the co-inventor of the record label, ‘Def Jam.’ His works positively led to the rise of ‘Beastie Boys’, Jay Z, Foxy Brown and Ludacris, amongst many further stars in the music business.
He has been an important figure in the category of hip-hop music and fervently brought sidelined voices to the center stage. A movie creator, record creator, businessperson and successful entrepreneur, Simmons is a man of many talents.
He also holds a fruitful sartorial line, ‘Phat Farm.’ He is correspondingly the proprietor of the clothing lines, ‘Argyleculture’ and ‘American Classics.’ He frequently features in the ‘Huffington Post’ and is a Goodwill Ambassador for the UN Slavery Memorial.
An ecologist at heart, he is into veganism and Ahimsa. He earned the PETA Humanitarian Award in 2001.
Other Notable Mentions
A firm vegan and yoga fanatic, Simmons is also an energetic patron. He facilitated the coming to fruition of Hip Hop Summit Action Network. Also, he was instrumental to the coming to life of the Rush Philanthropic Organization as well as the Foundation for Ethnic Understanding.
He vigorously supports PETA and has been involved with numerous aids intended to combat war, poverty as well as HIV/AIDS.
Simmons has similarly been an opinionated follower of gay rights and is also a writer.
As he got drawn to other undertakings, he created ‘Phat Farm’ in 1992. It was a line of sartorial for males that provided answers for modern demands of living. The label also created a youngsters’ clothing line, ‘Baby Phat.’ In 1996, Simmons created the amusement film, ‘The Nutty Professor,’ which featured Eddie Murphy. The film was one of the year’s epic hits and received the detractors’ rave reviews as well.
In 1999, the Universal Music Group acquired a share of ‘Def Jam’ for the value of $100 million. After the deal, Universal Music Group fused with Island Records to come to be The Island Def Jam Music Group. Well ahead in the year 1999, he began to work on several projects for his Rush Communications company. The business ventured into marketing, movie creation and leisurewear.
In 2002, he made the HBO television series, ‘Def Poetry,’ which included acts by famous writers. The show similarly gave a podium to younger talents who wanted to express themselves through poems.
In 2011, he printed his book titled, ‘Super Rich: A Guide to Having It All.’ This was presented as a thoroughfare to prosperity and limelight. The book is a denouement of mystical understanding and the entrails of street-smartness.
Simmons is now separated. He was married to model - Kimora Lee till 2008 when they separated. They have two daughters from the union, Ming, and Aoki.
Carolyn Bessette Kennedy
Madam C. J. Walker