Dont get it twisted Russell Simmons isnt a businessman. Hes a business, man. The unassuming, modest dude who shuffled onstage at the end of every episode of HBOs Def Comedy Jam to mutter, Thanks for coming out, God bless yall, goodnight, is more than just one of the foremost architects of rap music. Simmons made the music of the streets an industry unto itself. No wonder every major player in the industry wants to be like Uncle Russell. The evolution of his career tells the story of hip-hop itself.
In 1984 Simmons and his friend Rick Rubin founded Def Jam Recordings. Some of their earliest acts have become hip-hop legends: Run-D.M.C., LL Cool J, the Beastie Boys, Slick Rick, and Public Enemy formed the initial cornerstone to the label. But Simmons didnt stop at just producing timeless musical tracks. His company, Rush Communications, also houses his fashion labels (Phat Farm, and wifey Kimoras Baby Phat) as well as media endeavors, including Def Comedy Jam, Def Poetry Jam, and hit MTV reality show Runs House. Through it all, the man remains as unassuming as ever, crediting his continued success to a yoga-fueled spiritual core that helps keep him centered and ever-evolving. Simmons has created a blueprint for those who would try to walk in his shoes: Do You! 12 Laws to Access the Power in You reveals the essence of his entrepreneurial philosophy, and the secrets to his success. The CEO of hip-hop will make an autographing appearance tonight at Books & Books. He'll sign unlimited copies of Do You, and only those books purchased at Books and Books are eligible for signing.
Mon., June 11, 7 p.m.