Perhaps the most iconic record label in all of hip-hop has been Def Jam. Started by Rick Rubin and Russell Simmons, in 30 years, the brand has become synonymous with hip-hop stardom. Although the most prevalent faces to represent Def Jam have changed along with the culture’s direction, it’s a sure bet that each big release has been well-thought-out to make the greatest possible impact.
Responsible for everyone from Kanye West and Rick Ross to Ja Rule and The Roots, Def Jam continues to keep us partying while occasionally thinking. Its cherished back catalog ranges from the politically charged energy of Public Enemy’s It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back to The Blueprint by Jay Z, which is considered to be one of the best in the rapper’s long discography. Here are Def Jam’s 10 most notable albums.Click to start the list