The Beastie Boys are arguably bigger than Eminem already.
At one point in time, Beastie Boys were signed to Def Jam Records. The seminal NYC group met then-NYU student Rick Rubin when they asked him to DJ their shows. Soon after, Rubin began producing records and founded Def Jam Records with another NYU student: Russell Simmons. Trio recorded and released Licensed to Ill on the newly founded label, and ended up selling over 10 million copies of the record. However, the Beastie Boys left the label after the release, a surprising move after so much success.
Russell Simmons recently sat down with VladTV to discuss the situation that led to the Beastie Boys leaving Def Jam. He points to a conflict of interest between Rick Rubin and current 300 Entertainment label head Lyor Cohen. “They couldn’t get along with Lyor and Rick,” Simmons says. “Lyor wanted to manage ‘em and make them a big movie at a big movie studio.” He goes on to imagine the magic that Rick Rubin could have created if he kept progressing with the trio of emcees, stating, “Rick being the genius he was, I’m sure their next album would have been greater. I’m sure that had Rick stayed with the Beastie Boys they would have been Eminem or greater.”
Can you imagine a Beastie Boys movie? Their career turned out pretty well despite leaving Def Jam, so Simmons seems like he’s a bit salty. It’s mostly just wild to hear about so many now-huge names getting their start at the same time. Check out the whole interview below and let us know what you think.