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Rick Rubin Explains Absence From Hip-Hop

rickrubin

Legendary producer

and Def Jam co-founder Rick Rubin surprised those who old enough to remember the

days he was involved in hip-hop, by working with Jay-Z on his Black Album.

Jay-Z, the first

hip-hop act that Rubin has worked with in over 15 years, managed to snag the

rapper for his farewell album. Rubin produced the song "."

In a rare interview

featured rollingstone.com Rubin, who

founded Def American and signed the influential Geto Boys, before changing his

label name to American, revealed why he decided to leave the hip-hop.

"When I started

there really was a community of people who were doing it for the art,"

Rubin said. "With the success of our records I started hearing a lot of

records that sounded like our records, and it didn’t really feel like being

part of a creative community anymore. But since then there have been a lot of

things that have been revolutionary and great in hip-hop. N.W.A would be a great

example of a band that really radically took it to the next level in the time

since I left hip-hop."

Rubin said that

his admiration for N.W.A. was so great, that he visited them in the recording

studio as they were recording one of hip-hop’s most influential albums, Straight

Outta Compton.

Rubin said that

he would have signed the group to his label, but they were already signed to

Ruthless/Priority.

Rubin gave two

reasons as to why Def Jam was such a successful label. He said that their early

records were the first to capture the true spirit of hip-hop and that early

hip-hop music wasn’t structured the way it is today, until Def Jam came along

and introduced a few changes to make the music more marketable.

"At the point

we got involved in hip-hop, a song would be between six and nine minutes long,

and it would be more like a Jamaican toasting record — it wouldn’t really have

a chorus, it would just be rapping for nine minutes and telling a story. That

format would be more difficult for a suburban audience to digest. We picked

up strong songwriting from listening to the Beatles and applied it to this new

form of music."

Rubin is currently

working on a peace themed album, which features Weezer, System of a Down, Sheryl

Crow and others.

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