rick rubin’s dorm room

from rick rubin, def jam records, ll cool j, beastie boys posted in music


rick rubin's dorm room
11 university pl
new york, new york 10003

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In 1981, a long-haired philosophy major named Frederick Jay Rubin enrolled at NYU. Rick had started making recordings under the moniker Def Jam Records while in high school at Lido Beach, NY. He continued to produce recordings while in his dorm room (#802) on the eighth floor of Weinstein Hall.

In 1983, Rubin had befriended Zulu Nation's Jazzy Jay, who taught Rubin about hip hop production. Later that year, the Beastie Boys had an unexpected hit with their pseudo-hip hop song "Cooky Puss" off their Pollywog Stew EP. They hired Rubin to DJ for them as they made the transition from a hardcore punk band to a hip hop act.

Def Jam Records put out their first hip hop track, "It's Yours" by T La Rock, in 1983. The single was produced by Rubin and Jazzy Jay and distributed by Streetwise Records. Rubin was introduced to promoter/manager Russell Simmons by Jazzy Jay, and Jazzy was edged out of Def Jam shortly after.

In 1984, Def Jam put out the debut single by Queens rapper LL Cool J called "I Need a Beat." The song was written by James Todd Smith (LL Cool J), Adam Horovitz (King Ad-Rock), and Rick Rubin.

Along with the Beastie Boys Rock Hard EP, "I Need a Beat" features the earliest logo artwork and catalog numbers for Def Jam Recordings. Rock Hard is the first rap attempt by the Beastie Boys, but is not available in the US because it features an unlicensed sample from AC/DC. The song is essentially a prototype of the hard-rock/hip hop fusion that would make Licensed to Ill enormously successful.

"I Need a Beat," LL Cool J- Def Jam Records