|In Billboard magazine in November of 1984, a little story three-paragraphs long announced the creation of a new record label called Def Jam. "The purpose of this company," said a young artist manager named Russell Simmons, "is to educate people to the real value of real street music by putting out records nobody in the business would distribute but us."|
Twenty-five years later, the real value of real street music" can be measured not just in billions of dollars, but in the changed complexion of all of the following expressions of creative endeavor: music, movies, television, language, dance, fine art, graphic art, fashion, advertising, automobiles, jewelry, video games, and politics...and not just in America, but globally. If any one entity can be said to have sparked these changes - and to have continued to stand for street music and the culture that birthed it, namely, hip-hop -- it is Def Jam Recordings.
The Def Jam 25th Anniversary set is a collection hits from the labels chart topping stars and cultural icons. Includes Jay-Z, Kanye West, Ludacris, Beastie Boys, LL Cool J, Public Enemy, DMX, Young Jeezy, Method Man, Redman and more!
Disc-1 Track Listing
Disc-2 Track Listing
Disc-3 Track Listing
Disc-4 Track Listing
Disc-5 Track Listing
Album Notes and Credits
Notes & Personnel Info
|Liner Note Author: Bill Adler.|
|Photographers: Ricky Powell; Lionel Deluy; Clay Patrick McBride; Albert Watson ; Wayne Maser; Dean Karr; Jules Allen; James Hamilton; Danny Clinch.|
|When Def Jam, the premier hip-hop label founded by Rick Rubin and Russell Simmons, celebrated its tenth anniversary in 1995, it did so with a box set. It was a bold declaration from a label dedicated to a form of music once frequently dismissed as a fad. (Putting it in further perspective, the same year saw sets of similar weight documenting the Velvet Underground, John Coltrane, and Marvin Gaye.) Now 15 years later, Def Jam looks back on a catalog that is 25 years deep. The label's significance since the mid-'90s has only intensified, not just through its lasting classics, but also through its ceaseless ability to thrive commercially and (if less often) creatively. Ironically, Def Jam Recordings 25th Anniversary contains the same number of tracks as Def Jam Music Group Inc.: 10th Year Anniversary. It contains five discs instead of four, with only 12 songs on each disc, and each disc covers five years -- so, 1989-1993, an era of the label described in the liner notes as "ice cold" and "rudderless" by director of publicity Bill Adler, gets the same amount of attention as 1984-1988. The first box had 20 songs that are on this one as well -- big guns like "Paul Revere," "Bring the Noise," "Children's Story," "Going Back to Cali," and "This Is How We Do It," as well as moderate Yo! MTV Raps-era hits still deserving of attention (Nikki D's "Daddy's Little Girl," Boss' "Deeper," Nice & Smooth's "Hip Hop Junkies"). While it is debatable that the 1996-2009 material stacks up to earlier Def Jam, the cultural impact is undeniable, and there is no denying that the tracks from Jay-Z, the Roots, Scarface, Ghostface Killah, and Nas make perfect sense when considering the label's original aesthetic. For those who shake their heads at the soft latter-day pop-R&B (Ne-Yo's "So Sick," Rihanna's "Umbrella," the-Dream's "Shawty Is da Sh*!"), it is necessary to point out that Def Jam has had a foot in R&B since the '80s, when it was releasing singles by the likes of Oran "Juice" Jones (heard on disc one), Alyson Williams, and Tashan (whose 1986 2-step gem "Read My Mind" is missed here). Music obsessives can dream about what could have been, and how Def Jam blew a terrific opportunity to balance out the hits with the deeper but high-quality material. Regardless, this box is either a wake-up call or a reminder of just how immense the label has been for three decades. (A few mistakes: disc one, track one is LL Cool J's "Rock the Bells," not "I Need a Beat"; Public Enemy's "Fight the Power" and the remix of 3rd Bass' "The Gas Face," both released in 1989, are on the 1984-1988 disc.) ~ Andy Kellman|
|Mary J. Blige|
|Release Date : 03/22/2010|
|Original Release Date : 2009|
|Catalog ID : 2717518|
|Label : Def Jam (USA)|
|Number of Discs : 5|
|Mono/Stereo : Stereo|
|SPAR Code : n/a|
|UPC : 00602527175188|
- 4 Stars - Excellent - "...a sound on the New York streets...the driving force behind the most musically influential--and financially succesful--new record label of the '80s....its initial breakthrough, its stormy maturation and, finally, its establishment as a major industry player..."
- 7 - Flawed Yet Worthy - "...the stable that introduced hip-hop's new-school generation...presenting brash artists with trademark personae, 'round the way allegiances, and prodigious enough rhyme skills to last an entire album....Get this to hear hip-hop's conquest of pop play out on your stereo..."
- 5 Stars - Indispensable - "It's almost trite to say, but Def Jam is the most important black music label since Atlantic and Motown....The other astonishing thing about this wholly remarkable label is that it has continued to be vital and innovative throughout its 11-year history..."
- Bloody Essential - "...you can crash in here at random and...hear something that pipes more feeling, open intelligence, wild imagination and a simple sonic appeal into a couple of minutes than the whole of this week's...charts....The only real recommendation is capital letters saying LISTEN..."
- "...Def Jam's courtship of major label music...helped create a pop-culture juggernaut, one that shredded conventions on television rather than on the indie circuit...not only captures the highlights of rap's premier label, but shows how hip-hop grew up before our eyes..."
- Tied for #7 on the Reissues list of Village Voice's 1995 Pazz & Jop Critics' Poll.
- Ranked #2 on NME's `Compilations Of The Year' list for 1995.
- 10 (out of 10)
- "...Def Jam...is probably the only record label in history that can truly claim to have altered the musical landscape both dramatically and permanently....this awesome collection...[is] an absolute must-steal for anyone with an interest in uncompromising, insurrectionary music....This, in short, is the shit..."