Master of hip-hop culture
Russell Simmons has been a leader in bringing the powerful influence of hip-hop culture to every facet of business, media and fashion since its inception in the late 1970s. A best-selling author, Simmons was deeply influenced by Eastern mysticism, particularly the writings of Paramahansa Yogananda.
Russell Simmons was the force behind the hip-hop revolution, promoting stars like the Beastie Boys, Public Enemy and LL Cool J.
Born in New York City on October 4, 1957, Russell Simmons began promoting New York City musicians in his early 20s. He partnered with Rick Rubin to create Def Jam Records, and signed artists like the Beastie Boys, LL Cool J, Public Enemy and Run-D.M.C. He later sold his stake in Def Jam to Universal Music Group for $100 million. In addition to his music career, Simmons helped found the Hip Hop Summit Action Network, the Rush Philanthropic Organization and the Foundation for Ethnic Understanding.