Rick Rubin Explains Absence From Hip-Hop

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


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.