Licensed to Ill
Today is Frederick Jay “Rick” Rubin’s forty-eighth birthday. Rick was born on March 10, 1963, in Long Beach, New York, and grew up to found Def Jam Records from his NYU dorm room and rose to even higher prominence as the co-president of Columbia Records.He began his career as a musician, playing guitar in a punk band called Hose, but his life began to take him in a different direction. After befriending DJ Jazzy Jay, Rick’s musical passions changed focus, and he began playing around with hip-hop production. Perhaps Rick’s most important friendship began in 1984, when he was introduced to a man by the name of Russell Simmons. Together, they cofounded Def Jam and released LL Cool J’s “I Need a Beat.” Public Enemy, the Beastie Boys, and Run-DMC were all signed by Rubin, but he would also work with the Cult, Aerosmith, the Red Hot Chili Peppers, and Johnny Cash. During his years at Columbia, Rubin won the 2007 Grammy for Producer of the Year, Non-Classical, a feat which he would repeat in 2009. You can hear the track that started it all by listening to “I Need a Beat” below. Happy Birthday, Rick!