Russell Simmons is best known for being the Co-founder of Def Jam Records, and was a force behind the hip-hop revolution and launching the careers of such acts as the Beastie Boys, Public Enemy, LL Cool J and Run-DMC.
The entrepreneur and philanthropist was born in 1957 in New York City. Simmons left college to pursue his passion in promoting upcoming hip hop artists and in 1984, he and partner Rick Rubin founded Def Jam Records. Def Jam signed the forerunners of the hip hop movement including the Beastie Boys, Public Enemy, LL Cool J and Run-DMC.
Simmons saw this as the beginning of building a hip hop empire. Rush Communications firm was comprised of Baby Phat clothing company, television shows, a magazine, advertising company and a management company. His production company produced films including The Nutty Professor and Krush Groove.
Simmons helped to found the Hip Hop Summit Action Network, the Rush Philanthropic Organization and the Foundation for Ethnic Understanding. He actively supports PETA and was named Goodwill Ambassador to fight war, poverty and HIV/AIDS. Simmons also authored a book, Do You! 12 Laws To Access The Power In You To Achieve Happiness And Success.
Simmons married model Kimora Lee Simmons in 1998 for ten years. Daughters Ming and Aoki resulted from that union.