Hip-Hop From the Ground Up! How DefRugs Became Hip-Hop’s Favorite Soft Furnishing
The story of DefRugs, which has found itself the unwitting soft-furnishing of choice for hip-hop America, began in a recording studio in Livingston, New Jersey. The year was 1997, and it was there that the duo of “Xing N’ Fox,” Raime Press and Marshall Fox respectively, began their journey.
Love of hip-hop led them to become engineers working and producing for the likes of Redman, TAME One of the Artifacts, and many more of New Jersey’s hip-hop crews. Since then, according to Fox, the two have been meeting once or twice a week, “every week, since 1997, on a mission to make it happen.” On the side, Fox worked at the family’s carpet business. He is third generation.
One fateful night, in the studio of hip-hop legend Erick Sermon, Sermon hired Fox to handle some carpeting in his home, and asked him to produce a “Def Squad” rug for his studio. At this point in time Fox hadn’t begun creating his custom pieces, but this would be the first and most important piece.
With the intention of talking to Erick about doing some more work in the future, the duo came up with a more original and personal piece for Erick as a gift: Fox found some orange and yellow pieces amongst the rugs in the warehouse, and put together a rug featuring EPMD’s indelible logo. Like the saying goes, “the rest was history.” According to Xing N’ Fox, the Green Eyed Bandit flipped out, resulting in Erick becoming the third member backing the company, which called itself “DefRugs,” and whose motto was “hip-hop from the ground up.”
Soon after the DefRugs duo would start producing rugs for some of their favorite emcees, even hitting them up via social media channels to show them that they may be from the old school, but the love is still there like yesteryear. Like anything in hip-hop, other emcees caught wind, and needed to get their hands on it. DefRugs began creating pieces for legends like DMC, getting calls from Biz Markie—they even played me a voicemail they received from Raekwon the night before the interview.
Fox, formerly a battle DJ, now found himself producing rugs featuring the logos of all the artists he used to spin. Xing, labeled by Fox as “a musical genius and encyclopedia,” lends his hand as a fourth generation photographer, documenting their journey, including the heralded “I Love Hip Hop” rug that the duo always keep on hand. Since DefRugs was created three years ago, they’ve had over 120 artists sign it, including Kool Herc, Pharrell, Afrika Bambaata, Just Ice, Cypress Hill, Quest Love, Superlover Cee and Casanova Rud, Das FX, Wiz Khalifa, Jamal-Ski, Kid N’ Play, Earl Sweatshirt and many more.
DefRugs is the story of how two hip-hop heads from Asbury Park were able to take their love for the genre and the culture and put it underfoot of the people who gave them the soundtrack to their lives.