Russell Simmons Biography
(Founder of the hip-hop music label Def Jam)
Birthday: October 4, 1957 (Libra)
Born In: Queens, New York, United States
Hailed as the ‘hip-hop pioneer’ and one of the ‘Top 25 Most Influential People of the Past 25 Years’, Russell Simmons has played a pivotal role in bringing hip-hop music to the forefront. He is the co-founder of the record label, ‘Def Jam’, which successfully acted as a launch pad for ‘Beastie Boys’, Jay Z, Foxy Brown and Ludacris, among many other stars in the music industry. He has been an influential figure in the genre of hip-hop music and passionately brought marginalised voices to mass audiences. Growing up in the streets of New York City, Simmons was a street hustler during his teenage years and while he was still in college he began to promote many hip-hop artists. A film producer, record producer, entrepreneur and successful businessman, Simmons dons many hats and apart from his music empire he also owns a successful clothing line, ‘Phat Farm’. He is also the owner of the clothing lines, ‘Argyleculture’ and ‘American Classics’. He regularly contributes to the ‘Huffington Post’ and is a Goodwill Ambassador for the UN Slavery Memorial. An environmentalist at heart, he practises veganism and Ahimsa and was presented with the PETA Humanitarian Award in 2001.