Def Jam is celebrating the big 3-0 this fall with a huge show at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center. Going down October 16th, the show will feature current and future Def Jam stars (Rick Ross, 2 Chainz, Jhené Aiko, etc) joined by past playmakers (DMX, Ja Rule, Foxy Brown) and other special guests.
On top of the concert, the infamous label will also be releasing the Def Jam 30 box set on September 16th.
The 30th anniversary celebration year of Def Jam Recordings moves into high gear next month with the September 16th release of DEF JAM 30, an all-encompassing collection of landmark tracks from the first three decades of hip-hop’s most important record label, packaged in a limited edition turntable style numbered box with bound book and bonus t-shirt
Rick Rubin, one of Def Jam’s architects and founders, adds historic impact to the box set as the curator of Selections From The Roots Of Def Jam, a fascinating and never-before-conceived 13-song compilation of seminal hip-hop tracks from a variety of record labels. They (mostly) pre-date Def Jam’s 1984 origins, and shed light on the musical influences that informed Rubin and his partner Russell Simmons. Here are the Treacherous 3 (“Body Rock,” 1980), the Fearless Four (“Rockin It,” 1982), Afrika Bambaataa & the Soul Sonic Force (“Looking For The Perfect Beat,” 1982), Starski (“Live At The Fever,” 1983), Mantronix (“Fresh Is The Word,” 1985), and many other rarities, some of which are making their first appearances together in any single collection.
From LL Cool J’s breakthrough “Rock the Bells” (1989) and Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame inductee Public Enemy’s revolutionary “Fight the Power” (1989, from Spike Lee’s Do the Right Thing), all the way up through Jay-Z & Kanye West’s “Niggas In Paris” (2011) and YG’s “My Nigga” (2013, featuring Jeezy & Rich Homie Quan), the basic 30-song lineup of DEF JAM 30 provides a comprehensive view of hip-hop’s evolution and development. The independent spirit of adventure that Rick Rubin and Russell Simmons launched in an NYU college dorm room is still the guiding principle of Def Jam Recordings, home of the greatest names in the history of hip-hop, rap and R&B.
Other major artists represented on the 30 DEF JAM 30 selections include Slick Rick, EPMD, Nice & Smooth, Onyx, Redman, Boss, Warren G, Montell Jordan, Method Man, DMX, Case, Foxy Brown, Ashanti, Ja Rule, Fabolous, Cam’ron, Ludacris, the Roots, Scarface, Rick Ross, Jeezy, Kanye West, 2 Chainz, Big Sean, YG, and a host of collaborators and featured artists.
DEF JAM 30 is the worthy follow-up to Def Jam 25 Anniversary Collection, issued five years ago in 2009. Like its predecessor, DEF JAM 30 is a limited edition, ultra-deluxe, multi-disc package that will include a high-quality bound book containing full discographic information, liner notes, rare photography, and memorabilia.
Central to the DEF JAM 30 book is the expansive 9,000-word liner notes essay written by Dan Charnas, an Associate Arts Professor at the Clive Davis Institute of Recorded Music at Tisch School of The Arts | New York University. Charnas is the author of The Big Payback: The History of the Business of Hip-Hop (NAL/Penguin, 2011), and co-author of the commemorative coffee-table volume, Def Jam: The First 25 Years of the Last Great Record Label (Rizzoli, 2011).
DEF JAM 30 will be commercially available in two box set configurations: A 3-CD version (the basic two volumes of 30 Def Jam selections plus Roots) that includes the book and a collectable t-shirt in a limited edition turntable style numbered box; and a 6-LP version (the basic 30 Def Jam selections on 4 LPs, with Roots covering 2 LPs), also including the book and a collectable t-shirt in a limited edition turntable style numbered box.