When it comes to hip hop, there’s perhaps no other label that can serve as the almanac of the culture like Def Jam Records. From its doors opening 30 years ago, to the thriving, sustaining business it is today, the label has served as the cornerstone of hip hop culture providing us with an abundance of acts including from it’s inaugural era in the ’80s, (LL Cool J, Beastie Boys, Public Enemy, Slick Rick) to the 90-00s golden era of hip hop (DMX, Jay Z, Foxy Brown, Ludacris, Scarface) to even it’s current era (Kanye West, Jeezy, Rick Ross, Nas, Big Sean). Def Jam continues to set the benchmark for the genre and their contributions have certainly made a noticeable dent in the framework of the culture over the last 30 years.
Alongside their thriving rock-hard raps, Def Jam Recordings is also recognized for their contributions to R&B music. From their first R&B release in 1986 with Oran “Juice” Jones, Def Jam has made their mark in R&B. Over the past three decades they’ve incorporated spin-off labels like Def Soul Recordings, created subsidiary imprints like OBR Records, merged with Island Records to create ‘Island Def Jam’ all the while introducing the world to acts like Ashanti, Ne-Yo, Musiq Soulchild, The-Dream, Frank Ocean, Rihanna and making them into superstars. Coinciding with the 30th anniversary of Def Jam Records, we are celebrating their R&B contributions by counting down the Top 30 Def Jam R&B Hits.
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