|Birth name||Frederick Jay Rubin|
|Also known as||DJ Double R|
The Loudness King
|Born||March 10, 1963|
Long Beach, New York, U.S.
Frederick Jay "Rick" Rubin ( // ; born March 10, 1963) is an American record producer and former copresident of Columbia Records. Along with Russell Simmons, he is the cofounder of Def Jam Recordings and also established American Recordings. With the Beastie Boys, LL Cool J, Public Enemy, Geto Boys, and Run-DMC, Rubin helped popularize hip hop music.
In 2007, MTV called him "the most important producer of the last 20 years,"and the same year, Rubin appeared on Time's "100 Most Influential People in the World".
Frederick Jay Rubin was born in Long Beach, New York and grew up in Lido Beach, New York. His father, Michael (Mickey), was a shoe wholesaler and his mother Linda a housewife. He is of Jewish descent.While a student at Long Beach High School he befriended the school's audiovisual department director Steve Freeman who gave him a few lessons in guitar playing and songwriting.
He then played in a band with childhood friends Marc Greenhut, Carlos Ferreiro, and Joey Ferrante, performing at garage and school shows for town friends until a teacher helped him create a punk band called The Pricks. Their biggest claim to fame was being thrown off the stage at CBGB after two songs for brawling with the heckling audience, which friends of the band were instructed to instigate a confrontation so as to get the show shut down and create a buzz.Although he had no authority in New York City, Rubin's father traveled from Nassau County, New York, to Manhattan wearing his Long Beach auxiliary police uniform as he attempted to "shut down" the show.
During his senior year of high school, Rubin founded Def Jam Records using the school's four-track recorder. He moved on to form Hose, influenced by San Francisco's Flipper. In 1982, a Hose track became Def Jam's first release, a 45 rpm 7" vinyl single in a brown paper bag, and no label.The band played in and around the NYC punk scene, toured the Midwest and California, and played with seminal hardcore bands like Meat Puppets, Hüsker Dü, Circle Jerks, Butthole Surfers, and Minor Threat, becoming friends with frontman and Dischord Records owner Ian MacKaye. The band broke up in 1984 as Rubin's passion moved towards the NYC hip hop scene.
Having befriended Zulu Nation's DJ Jazzy Jay, Rubin began to learn about hip hop production. By 1983, the two had produced "It's Yours" for rapper T La Rock, and released it on their independent label, Def Jam Records. Producer Arthur Baker helped to distribute the record worldwide on Baker's Streetwise Records in 1984. Jazzy Jay introduced Rubin to concert promoter/artist manager Russell Simmons in the Negril club, and Rubin explained he needed help getting Def Jam off the ground. Simmons and Rubin edged out Jazzy Jay and the official Def Jam record label was founded while Rubin was attending New York University in 1984. Their first record released was LL Cool J's "I Need a Beat". Rubin went on to find more hip-hop acts outside the Bronx, Brooklyn, and Harlem including rappers from Queens, Staten Island, and Long Island, which eventually led to Def Jam's signing of Public Enemy. Rubin was instrumental in pointing the members of the Beastie Boys away from their punk roots and into rap, resulting in the exit of Kate Schellenbach from the group.1985's "Rock Hard"/"Party's Gettin' Rough"/"Beastie Groove" EP by the Beastie Boys came out on the success of Rubin's production work with breakthrough act Run-DMC, of which previous recordings were produced by Russell Simmons and Orange Krush's musician Larry Smith. His productions were characterized by occasionally fusing rap with heavy rock. Rubin tapped Adam Dubin and Ric Menello to co-direct the music videos for the Beastie Boys' "(You Gotta) Fight for Your Right (To Party!)" and "No Sleep till Brooklyn", effectively launching the band's mainstream hip hop careers.
It was the idea of Rubin's friend Sue Cummings, an editor at Spin magazine, to have Run–D.M.C. and Aerosmith collaborate on a cover of Aerosmith's "Walk This Way". This 1986 production is often credited with both introducing rap hard rock to mainstream ears and revitalizing Aerosmith's career.In 1986, he worked with Aerosmith again on demos for their forthcoming album, but their collaboration ended early and resulted in only rough studio jams. In the same year, Rubin began his long musical partnership with Slayer, producing Reign in Blood , considered a classic of the heavy metal genre. This was his first work with a metal band.
In 1987, The Cult released their pivotal third album, Electric . Produced by Rubin, the album remains one of The Cult's trademark and classic works. Rubin would later work with The Cult again for the single "The Witch", in 1992. Rubin is credited as music supervisor in the movie Less Than Zero and is the producer of its soundtrack. Rubin portrayed a character based on himself in the 1985 hip-hop motion picture Krush Groove , which was inspired by the early days of Russell Simmons' career as an artist management and music producer. He then directed and co-wrote (with Ric Menello) a second Run–D.M.C. film, Tougher Than Leather in 1988.
In 1988, Rubin and Simmons went their separate ways after Rubin had a falling out with the then Def Jam president Lyor Cohen. Rubin left for Los Angeles to start Def American Records, while Simmons remained at Def Jam in New York. In Los Angeles, Rubin signed a number of rock and heavy metal acts, including Danzig, Masters of Reality, The Four Horsemen, and Wolfsbane, as well as alternative rock group The Jesus and Mary Chain and stand-up comedian Andrew Dice Clay. Though Rubin's work at this time focused mainly on rock and metal, he still retained a close association with rap, signing the Geto Boys and continuing to work with Public Enemy, LL Cool J, and Run–D.M.C., among others.
Rubin had originally given his new label the name "Def American Recordings". In 1993 Rubin found that the word "def" had been accepted into the standardized dictionary and held an actual funeral for the word, complete with a casket, a grave, celebrity mourners and a eulogy from The Reverend Al Sharpton.Def American became American Recordings. In regard to this he stated: "When advertisers and the fashion world co-opted the image of hippies, a group of the original hippies in San Francisco literally buried the image of the hippie. When 'def' went from street lingo to mainstream, it defeated its purpose."
The first major project on the renamed label was Johnny Cash's American Recordings (1994), a record including six cover songs and new material written by others for Cash at Rubin's request. The album was a critical and commercial success, and helped revive Cash's career following a fallow period. The formula was repeated for five more Cash albums: Unchained (on which Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers served as the backing band), Solitary Man , The Man Comes Around (the last album released before Cash's death), A Hundred Highways , and Ain't No Grave . The Man Comes Around earned a 2003 Grammy for Best Male Country Vocal Performance ("Give My Love to Rose") and a nomination for Best Country Collaboration with Vocals ("Bridge over Troubled Water" with Fiona Apple). Rubin introduced Cash to Nine Inch Nails' "Hurt", and the resulting cover version of it on The Man Comes Around would become a defining song of Cash's later years. Rubin also produced two of Joe Strummer's final songs, "Long Shadow", a song Strummer wrote for Cash to record although he never did, and a cover of Bob Marley's "Redemption Song". Both songs were released on Strummer's final album, Streetcore , which was released after his death. Rubin also produced a version of "Redemption Song" with Strummer and Cash together, which was featured in Cash's posthumous box set, Unearthed .
Rubin has also produced a number of records with other artists, which were released on labels other than American. Arguably his biggest success as producer came from working with the Red Hot Chili Peppers with whom Rubin produced six studio albums from 1991 to 2011, starting with the band's fifth release, Blood Sugar Sex Magik , which launched the band to mainstream success thanks to the hit singles "Give It Away" and "Under the Bridge". The six albums with the Chili Peppers also spawned twelve number one singles on the Billboard Alternative Songs chart, a record the band as of 2015 still holds, and various awards including sixteen Grammy Nominations (with six wins) with a Producer of the Year Grammy award for 2006's Stadium Arcadium , which was also nominated for Album of the Year. The band has sold over 80 million albums worldwide, most of which have been through sales of the Rubin produced albums. Various members of the Chili Peppers have also been used on other projects by Rubin. After 24 years of working with Rubin, the band announced in late 2014 that they would be working with another producer on their eleventh studio album.
He also produced Mick Jagger's 1993 Wandering Spirit album, Lords of Acid's 1994 Voodoo-U album, Tom Petty's 1994 Wildflowers , AC/DC's 1995 Ballbreaker , Donovan's 1996 Sutras , and Metallica's 2008 Death Magnetic . In 2005, Rubin executive-produced Shakira's two-album project Fijacion Oral Vol. 1 and Oral Fixation Vol. 2 . He was to appear on the Talib Kweli's album Eardrum ,Clipse's album Til the Casket Drops and Lil Jon's album Crunk Rock . Rubin also produced the Jay-Z track "99 Problems", and was featured in the song's music video. He also worked with Eminem on the song and music video "Berzerk".
Rick Rubin produced Black Sabbath's 2013 album 13and Billy Corgan's comeback solo album Ogilala .
In May 2007, Rubin was named co-head of Columbia Records. Rubin co-produced Linkin Park's 2007 album Minutes to Midnight with Mike Shinoda. Rubin and Shinoda have since co-produced the band's 2010 album, A Thousand Suns , and their June 2012 release, Living Things .
In 2007, Rubin won the Grammy Award for Producer of the Year, Non-Classical for his work with the Dixie Chicks, Michael Kranz, Red Hot Chili Peppers, U2, Green Day, and Johnny Cash released in 2006.Rubin won the award again in 2009, for production work for Metallica, Neil Diamond, Ours, Jakob Dylan, and Weezer in 2008.
In 2007 and 2012, Rubin won the Grammy Award for Album of the Year. The former was for his work on the Dixie Chicks's album, Taking the Long Way , and the latter came for his contribution to Adele's album, 21 .
Rubin left Columbia in 2012, and revived the American Recordings imprint through a deal with Republic Records. The first albums released under this new deal were ZZ Top's La Futura and The Avett Brothers' The Carpenter .
Rubin attempted to record a cover album with Crosby, Stills & Nash in 2012, but the brief sessions were ultimately unsuccessful. Graham Nash went on to describe the sessions as "irritable" and "not a great experience".
More recently, he signed an overall deal with Endeavor Content.
Rubin is a fan of professional wrestling and had lifetime subscription tickets to the World Wrestling Federation's monthly events at Madison Square Garden throughout the 1970s and 80s. Rubin has cited Roddy Piper and Ric Flair as influences in his work and promotion. Rubin has said that professional wrestling heels were hugely influential in the development of The Beastie Boys. "The idea of being bad-guy rappers, saying really outlandish things in interviews, that all came from a love of pro wrestling," said Rubin. Rubin financially backed Jim Cornette's Smoky Mountain Wrestling for most of its run from 1991 to 1995.
Rubin has a chapter giving advice in Tim Ferriss' book Tools of Titans . In addition, he gives advice on creativity on his Instagram account.
Rubin's biggest trademark as a producer has been a "stripped-down" sound, which involves eliminating production elements such as string sections, backup vocals, and reverb, and instead having naked vocals and bare instrumentation. However, by the 2000s, Rubin's stylehad been known to include such elements, as noted in The Washington Post : "As the track reaches a crescendo and [Neil] Diamond's portentous baritone soars over a swelling string arrangement, Rubin leans back, as though floored by the emotional power of the song."
On the subject of his production methods, Dan Charnas, a music journalist who worked as vice president of A&R and marketing at Rubin's American Recordings label in the 1990s, said, "He's fantastic with sound and arrangements, and he's tremendous with artists. They love him. He shows them how to make it better, and he gets more honest and exciting performances out of people than anyone."Natalie Maines of The Chicks has praised his production methods, saying, "He has the ability and the patience to let music be discovered, not manufactured. Come to think of it, maybe he is a guru." Producer Dr. Dre has stated that Rubin is, "hands down, the dopest producer ever that anyone would ever want to be, ever."
In 2010 at the Music Producers Guild (MPG) awards, Matt Bellamy of Muse criticized Rubin while accepting the award for UK single of the year, stating that the band would "like to thank Rick Rubin for teaching us how not to produce."
Although he and his bandmates had some positive things to say about Rubin, Slipknot's lead singer Corey Taylor said that he met Rubin only four times during the entire recording process of Vol. 3: (The Subliminal Verses)and that Rubin barely came to the studio: "... we were being charged horrendous amounts of money. And for me, if you're going to produce something, you're fucking there. I don't care who you are!" He also added: "The Rick Rubin of today is a ... shadow of the Rick Rubin that he was. He is overrated, he is overpaid, and I will never work with him again". Taylor subsequently expressed regret for the manner of his criticisms of Rubin, and a desire to make amends; Taylor stated "I think it was more on my end than it was on his", attributing the friction to Taylor being "freshly sober" and "unsure of (himself), needing the guidance" during the recording process, and to never having previously worked with anyone whose methods were like Rubin's. In 2019, comparing Rubin to Greg Fidelman, who produced Slipknot's album We Are Not Your Kind (2019), Taylor criticised Rubin's absences from the studio due to other work commitments, observing that although he was a "nice guy, absolutely nice guy", "when it came time to work with Rick, he just wasn’t fucking there... it wasn’t until we finished the vocals at his house that I saw him more than once a week."
Since at least 1999, Rubin has been criticized by listeners for contributing to a phenomenon in music known as the loudness war, in which the dynamic range of recorded music is compressed and sometimes clipped in order to increase the general loudness. Albums produced by Rubin that have been criticized for such treatment include:
|1986||(You Gotta) Fight for Your Right (To Party!) (Beastie Boys music video)||Cameo|
|1988||Tougher Than Leather||Vic Ferrante||Actor, director, writer|
|1990||Men Don't Leave||Craig|
|2004||Fade to Black||Himself|
|99 Problems (Jay-Z music video)||Cameo|
|2005||Twisted Transistor (Korn music video)||Cameo|
|2006||Dixie Chicks: Shut Up and Sing||Himself|
|iTunes Originals – Red Hot Chili Peppers||Himself|
|2007||Runnin' Down a Dream||Himself|
|The Making of Minutes to Midnight||Himself|
|2010||The Meeting of a Thousand Suns||Himself|
|2012||Inside Living Things||Himself|
|Berzerk (Eminem music video)||Cameo|
|2014||Foo Fighters Sonic Highways (TV mini series)||Himself|
|2016||I Am Johnny Cash (documentary)||Himself|
|2017||Oh, Vita! Making an Album||Himself|
|May It Last: A Portrait of the Avett Brothers||Himself|
|2018||My Next Guest Needs No Introduction with David Letterman||Himself||Episode 4|
|2021||McCartney 3,2,1||Himself||6 episodes|
|Year||Nominee / work||Award||Result|
|1996||Wildflowers||Best Rock Album||Nominated|
|Himself||Producer of the Year, Non-Classical||Nominated|
|1998||Unchained||Best Country Album||Won|
|2000||Californication||Best Rock Album||Nominated|
|Himself||Producer of the Year, Non-Classical||Nominated|
|American IV: The Man Comes Around||Best Contemporary Folk Album||Nominated|
|2005||Unearthed||Best Historical Album||Nominated|
|"99 Problems"||Best Rap Song||Nominated|
|2007||"Not Ready to Make Nice"||Record of the Year||Won|
|Taking the Long Way||Best Country Album||Won|
|Album of the Year||Won|
|Best Rock Album||Won|
|Himself||Producer of the Year, Non-Classical||Won|
|2011||"Ain't No Grave / The Johnny Cash Project"||Best Short Form Music Video||Nominated|
|2012||21||Album of the Year||Won|
|2021||The New Abnormal||Best Rock Album||Won|
Beastie Boys were an American hip hop group from New York City, formed in 1981. The group was composed of Michael "Mike D" Diamond, Adam "MCA" Yauch, and Adam "Ad-Rock" Horovitz.
American Recordings is an American record label headed by producer Rick Rubin. The label has featured artists such as Slayer, the Black Crowes, ZZ Top, Danzig, Trouble, Tom Petty, Johnny Cash, The Mother Hips, and System of a Down.
Licensed to Ill is the debut studio album by American rap rock group Beastie Boys. It was released on November 15, 1986, by Def Jam and Columbia Records, and became the first rap LP to top the Billboard album chart. It is one of Columbia Records' fastest-selling debut records to date and was certified Diamond by the Recording Industry Association of America in 2015 for shipping over ten million copies in the United States.
Radio is the debut album by American rapper LL Cool J. It was released on November 18, 1985, by Def Jam Recordings and Columbia Records. It was also Def Jam's first full-length album release.
"(You Gotta) Fight for Your Right " is a song by American hip hop group the Beastie Boys, released as the fourth single released from their debut album Licensed to Ill (1986). One of their best-known songs, it reached No. 7 on the Billboard Hot 100 in the week of March 7, 1987, and was later named one of The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame's 500 Songs that Shaped Rock and Roll. The song was also included on their compilation albums The Sounds of Science in 1999, Solid Gold Hits in 2005 and Beastie Boys Music in 2020.
Def Jam Recordings is an American multinational record label based in Manhattan, New York City. Def Jam has focused predominantly on hip hop, pop and urban music, owned by Universal Music Group. In the UK, the label was known as Def Jam UK and was operated through EMI Records, while in Japan, it is known as Def Jam Japan, operating through Universal Music Japan. The label distributes releases of various record labels, including Kanye West's GOOD Music, and Listen Up Forever Records, headed by producer, Ronny J. Current artists include Justin Bieber, Big Sean, Kanye West, Nas, 2 Chainz, Dave East, Jeezy, Jeremih, Jhené Aiko, Pusha T, Fabolous, and YK Osiris, among others.
Lyor Cohen is an American music industry executive. Cohen has been actively involved in hip hop at various record labels for more than 30 years. He started by managing rappers for Rush Productions, then led Def Jam. After Def Jam, Cohen took on a leadership role at Warner Music Group. In September 2012, Cohen resigned from Warner and started his own independent label, 300 Entertainment. On September 28, 2016, Cohen was named YouTube's Global Head of Music.
Krush Groove is a 1985 American musical comedy-drama film distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures that was written by Ralph Farquhar and directed by Michael Schultz. This film is based on the early days of Def Jam Recordings and up-and-coming record producer Russell Simmons, portrayed by Blair Underwood in his feature film debut. Simmons was the film's co-producer and story consultant; he also had a cameo in the film as a club owner named Crocket.
Hose is an "artcore" and garage punk band from the 1980s founded by producer and Def Jam creator Rick Rubin. Hose's 12-inch EP was the first recording released with the Def Jam logo.
"No Sleep till Brooklyn" is a song by the New York hip hop group the Beastie Boys, and the sixth single from their debut studio album, Licensed to Ill. One of their signature songs, it describes an exhaustive tour and all the events that make it tiresome, but also emphasizes their determination not to rest until they reach their home base of Brooklyn. "No Sleep till Brooklyn" was a popular concert favorite for the Beastie Boys and traditionally used as their closing song. Among other references to then-popular metal, the title is a play on the Motörhead album No Sleep 'til Hammersmith.
George Drakoulias is a Greek-American music producer and a former A&R executive at the American Recordings label. He is often considered a protégé of Rick Rubin.
Terrence "Terry" Ronnie Keaton known by the stage name T La Rock, is an American old-school emcee best known for his collaboration with Def Jam Recordings co-founder Rick Rubin and the 1984 single "It's Yours."
"Paul Revere" is a song by American hip hop group Beastie Boys, released as the third single from their debut album Licensed to Ill (1986). It was written by Adam Horovitz, Joseph Simmons, Darryl McDaniels, and Rick Rubin. It was produced by Rick Rubin and the Beastie Boys. The song tells a fictional story of how the Beastie Boys met.
The Red Devils were a Los Angeles-based blues rock band who were active from 1988 to 1994. With their no-frills approach and singer Lester Butler's convincing Chicago-style blues harp, they were a popular fixture on the Los Angeles club scene and toured the U.S. and Europe. The band released a live album, a four-song EP, and recorded songs with Mick Jagger and Johnny Cash. By 1994, the band had broken up, although some members occasionally perform with guest musicians as the Red Devils or their earlier name, the Blue Shadows. In 2017, such a lineup toured and recorded Return of the Red Devils in the Netherlands.
Chung King Studios was a recording studio that operated in New York City under that name from 1986 to 2015. It was founded by producer John King and engineer Steve Ett with financial backing from the Etches brothers, occupying three different locations during that era. Countless notable hip hop acts recorded music at Chung King Studios over the years, including Run-DMC, LL Cool J, the Beastie Boys, Public Enemy, Busta Rhymes, Notorious B.I.G., Tupac Shakur, Lauryn Hill, OutKast, ODB, Method Man, Nas, Jay Z, Lil Wayne, and Kanye West. The studio became one of the most important recording spaces in the history of hip hop, pioneering commercial production of rap music. Beyond hip hop, notable groups like Aerosmith, Amy Winehouse, Beyoncé, Depeche Mode, Destiny's Child, Fergie, Lady Gaga, Maxwell, Moby, and Phish also recorded there.
Adam C. Dubin is an American filmmaker who co-directed the Beastie Boys music videos "(You Gotta) Fight for Your Right " and "No Sleep till Brooklyn" with Ric Menello. "Fight for Your Right" is number three on MTV's all time funniest music videos. In 2007, Fuse interviewed Dubin when it aired a 30-minute episode about "Fight for Your Right" as part of their series Videos That Rocked the World.
Greg Fidelman is an American record mixer, engineer and record producer. He is a frequent collaborator of producer Rick Rubin, and has worked with many bands in various genres, including Metallica, Slayer, High on Fire, Black Sabbath, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Bush, Audioslave, Marilyn Manson, Slipknot, and System of a Down, but has also worked on albums by U2, Johnny Cash, Neil Diamond and others.
Richard "Ric" Menello was an American filmmaker and screenwriter. Menello co-directed the landmark music video for the Beastie Boys' 1987 single, "(You Gotta) Fight for Your Right ". His contributions to music during the era led MTV to call him, "one of the most influential visionaries behind the emergence of commercial hip-hop in the 1980s."
Run-DMC was an American hip hop group from Hollis, Queens, New York, founded in 1983 by Joseph Simmons, Darryl McDaniels, and Jason Mizell. Run-DMC is regarded as one of the most influential acts in the history of hip hop culture and one of the most famous hip hop acts of the 1980s. Along with Beastie Boys, LL Cool J and Public Enemy, the group pioneered new school hip hop music. The group was among the first to highlight the importance of the MC and DJ relationship.