Russell Simmons

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Queens, New York
Birth Sign
Queens, New York

Russell Simmons hailed as the “hip-hop pioneer” and one of the “Top 25 Most Influential People of the Past 25 Years,” has been instrumental in advancing hip-hop music. He is a co-founder of the record company Def Jam, which helped begin the careers of several other music industry luminaries, including the “Beastie Boys,” Jay Z, Foxy Brown, and Ludacris. He has been a key player in the hip-hop music scene and devotedly popularized underrepresented voices. While still a college student and growing up on the streets of New York City, Simmons started promoting numerous hip-hop artists. During his adolescent years, he was a street hustler. Simmons wears several hats as a film producer, record producer, entrepreneur, and successful businessman. In addition to his music empire, he also owns the popular clothing brand “Phat Farm.” Additionally, he is the proprietor of the clothing brands American Classics and Argyleculture. He is a Goodwill Ambassador for the UN Slavery Memorial and frequently contributes to the “Huffington Post.” He practices veganism and Ahimsa and is an avid environmentalist. In 2001, he received the PETA Humanitarian Award.

Early Childhood & Life

Daniel Simmons, Sr., and Evelyn Simmons welcomed Russell Simmons into the world on October 4, 1957, in Queens, New York. His mother worked as a park superintendent, and his father was a public school administrator.

He briefly attended the City College of New York in 1975 before dropping out and starting to promote local artists like Run-D.M.C. and Kurtis Blow.

Career of Russell Simmons

He teamed up with Rick Rubin to form the record label Def Jam in 1983, and the company immediately started releasing hip-hop tracks from various artists.

I Need a Beat by American rapper LL Cool J and Rock Hard by American hip-hop group the Beestie Boys were both released in 1984 by the record label Def Jam.

Michael Schultz’s 1985 action movie “Krush Groove,” which he also produced, was a hit. The early years of the record label “Def Jam” served as the central focus of the movie’s plot.

By 1986, “Def Jam” had found new artists and was making inroads into the mainstream. With albums like “Licensed to Ill” and “Raising Hell,” they topped the charts.

He collaborated with more fresh artists in 1988, making the Def Jam label one of the biggest hip-hop labels at the moment. Rick Rubin departed the business that year.

He started “Phat Farm” in 1992 after branching out into other businesses. It was a collection of men’s clothes designed to meet modern standards. A children’s apparel line called “Baby Phat” was also introduced by the firm.

He produced the Eddie Murphy-starring comedy “The Nutty Professor” in 1996. The movie was a huge smash and got good reviews from the critics.

For $100 million, the Universal Music Group acquired a stake in “Def Jam” in 1999. The Island Def Jam Music Group was formed after the merger of Universal Music Group and Island Records.

He started working on numerous projects for his Rush Communications company later in 1999. The business entered the film, apparel, and advertising industries.

He produced the HBO television program “Def Poetry” in 2002, which included readings by renowned poets. Young poets were given a platform by the program as well.

His book, “Super Rich: A Guide to Having It All,” which served as a manual for achieving great abundance and fortune, was published in 2011. The book combines street smarts with spiritual insight.

Bigger Works of Russell Simmons

He is the creator of the clothing brand Phat Farm, which got its start in a modest New York storefront. The apparel line grew and became a multibillion-dollar enterprise.

He was a co-founder of the hugely popular record label Def Jam, which helped many upcoming hip-hop musicians in the field establish their careers.

Recognition & Achievements

He was given the PETA Humanitarian Award in 2001.
In 2009, he was appointed the UN Slavery Memorial’s Goodwill Ambassador by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.

Personal Legacy & Life

He first met Kimora Lee, his future wife, at the New York Fashion Week in 1992. The two then started dating and dated for a while.

On the French island of Saint Barthélemy, he married Kimora Lee in 1998. Despite having two daughters, their marriage disintegrated in 2009.

He practices veganism and upholds the Ahimsa philosophy. Additionally, he supports the organization “Farm Sanctuary,” which defends animal rights, and is an animal rights activist.

He wrote his autobiography, “Life and Def: Sex, Drugs, Money, and God,” in 2002. The book explored his personal life, his experience with “Def Jam,” and his own personal philosophy.

Russell Simmons Net Worth

An American record executive and businessman with a $340 million net worth are Russell Simmons. Simmons’ participation in the music industry is what makes him most well-known. Both Rush Communications, Inc. and the illustrious record label Def Jam Records were co-founded by him. He also served as its CEO.