Russell Simmons goes into why he and co-founder of Def Jam, Rick Rubin, split only 5 years after starting their legendary business out of an NYU dorm room in 1983. Hit the jump for Russ’ clarity.

Frankie Zing

The duo split in 1988, pretty much citing creative differences:

“Well, if he’s making Slayer and I’m over here making Oran “Juice” Jones where’s the common thread? Neither one of us. We should have been in the studio making Run DMC, that’s what I think. We should’ve made the next Run DMC album. He wasn’t really ready to make Public Enemy because they didn’t want anybody near them. They were like, ‘Get the f*ck away from us. All of you n*ggas,’ and they made the second Public Enemy album was the greatest record Def Jam ever made.”

Rubin left Def Jam to operate his own label, American Records, formerly Def American Records, which mostly focuses on Rock talent. Fast forward 11 years to 1999 and Simmons sold the rest of his shares in Def Jam for $100 Million:

“I’m doing Def Comedy Jam, I was doing Phat Farm, I was doing other stuff, I had smarter people people than me working there. Lyor [Cohen] was brilliant. Kevin Liles was great. Mike Kaiser was brilliant. Julie Greenwald was brilliant. I build shit and then when everybody’s smarter than me I get out of the way.”

On to the next I suppose. Either way he killed the game from an artistic sense and business sense. Check the interview below: