When Def Jam's first artists came on the scene, they made waves not only with their music, but also with their personal style. You had Public Enemy looking like guerrilla soldiers and Flavor Flav's obsession with giant clocks, LL Cool J sported the track suits and chains, while the Beastie Boys were all punk. In a recent interview with GQ, Def Jam co-founder Rick Rubin shared how the label inspired fashion during its early days.
"Russell [Simmons]'s uniform in those days was like what a substitute teacher wears — like, a tweed jacket with arm patches. He wore penny-loafer shoes. I think, at the time, he wanted to give off the air of, uh, professionalism," Rubin said. "Once I met Russell, he would take me to Disco Fever, Broadway International, different parties. When we started the Beasties, we would play in all these places in Queens and the Bronx. The Beasties had a youthful swagger about them, and they were always really stylish — each one of them had his own style, and they always had the coolest T-shirts and the coolest tennis shoes."
He also noted how Simmons’s younger brother's group, Run DMC, played the style game and cemented what a B-boy should look like.
"Run DMC, I think, was the first group to establish what we called the B-boy style, more like what the kids in the audience were wearing than what the people on stage were wearing. The people on stage wanted to look more like Eddie Murphy, who wanted to look more like Michael Jackson," Rubin said.
To read the entire story, click here, and take a quick stroll through memory lane by checking out this slideshow of Def Jam's most influential artists.
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(Photo: Lisa Haun/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)