This morning (April
13th) Russell Simmons formally announced his latest venture, Russell Simmons Music
Group, and revealed that he’s signed his brother Reverend Run of the seminal
group Run DMC.
In addition to
Run’s rock album, Simmons has also pulled R&B group Buddafly into
his latest venture.
The new imprint
will be distributed by Island Def Jam Music Group, a company that Simmons founded
in 1984 with then partner Rick Rubin. Simmons later sold the label in 1999 for
over $100 million dollars.
Simmons told AllHipHop.com
in November that he was in negotiations with several labels including Island
Def Jam, which is now helmed by Antonio "LA" Reid.
"I am happy
to serve LA Reid," Simmons told AllHipHop.com. "I have never had anything
but respect for him. I am honored to by a part of his team."
In February of
2004, Reid was named chairman of the label by Universal chairman Doug Morris,
after former CEO Lyor Cohen left the label for Warner Music Group’s top North
Reid has had an
illustrious career as well and in 1989 founded LaFace Records, a joint venture
LaFace pumped out
hits by TLC, Toni Braxton, Outkast, Goodie Mob and others.
Reid took Clive
Davis’ top position at Arista and signed Avril Lavigne, Pink and others. According
to published reports, BMG brass fired Reid because of his spending habits.
Reid, who has quietly
been reassembling Def Jam since several key people left with Cohen including
top exec’s Kevin Liles and Julie Greenwald, said he was equally enthused
about the new relationship.
Reid revealed bringing
Simmons back on board at Island Def Jam was something he had considered for
“It has always
been my intention to structure a situation that would keep Russell in the Island
Def Jam family, and I am proud that we will be able to continue to accomplish
our goals together," Reid said.
has yet to catch up with the greatness of Russell Simmons and the extent of
his contributions to our music and culture,” Jay-Z said of Simmons. “It
is impossible to imagine the state of hip-hop today without accounting for Russell’s
visionary leadership over the past 20 years.”