Tastemakers: Russell Simmons

Let’s be honest, Russell Simmons is the G.O.A.T when the phrase Rap Mogul is in use - let’s not debate this. Russell began his career in Hip-Hop as a promoter and later managed rapper Kurtis Blow circa. 1979. Fast-forward a couple years, Russell co-founded Def Jam Recordings in 1983 with Rick Ruben, the label found mainstream success with Hip-Hop groups Run-D.M.C., the Beastie Boys and rapper LL Cool J - so in some way Russell and Ruben commercialised Hip-Hop.  

If you know Run-D.M.C, then you know they always wore Adidas Superstars, and being the visionary he is, Russell noticed that Run-D.M.C. were selling a lot of trainers for Adidas, so he suggested they make the track “My Adidas”. One night Russell got an Adidas rep to attend a show, and long story short, Run-D.M.C. were the first non-athletic entity to have an endorsement deal with an athletic apparel company - he was and is a visionary.


Throughout Russell’s career he has had many successful business endeavours and has inspired many with his keen mind for business and philanthropy. There’s so much more to say but then this would most likely become an essay. 

Russell Simmons was recently featured in Mass Appeal’s mini-doc series “Too Old To Die Young”, we get a glimpse into the day-to-day life of Russell which will leave you with some new found inspiration. Watch below.