Life and Def: Sex, Drugs, Money + God

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Life and Def: Sex, Drugs, Money + God – Russell Simmons (2007; 288 pages)

RushRussell Simmons, the original and eternal hip-hop mogul, is one of the most innovative and influential figures in modern American business and culture. When no one outside of inner-city New York had even heard of hip-hop, Simmons saw the seeds of a global force that would change the way people talk, dress, listen to music, and choose the heroes they hang on their walls. Today, he oversees a sprawling, multimillion-dollar empire of culture-defining businesses in everything from music to fashion, advertising to film, and media to visual art. At the same time he’s broadened his interests and influence and pushed hip-hop to new plateaus of power and relevance. Life and Def is a one-of-a-kind tale that interweaves the remarkable journey of Russell Simmons with the story of the culture he’s transformed and been transformed by.

In his own brash, compelling voice, Simmons chronicles his numerous business successes and occasional failures. He tells the story of the founding of the legendary Def Jam Records, whose roster stretches from original rap icons like L.L. Cool J, Public Enemy, and the Beastie Boys to today’s top stars, including Jay-Z and DMX. He traces the launching of Def Comedy Jam, the long-running hit television series that introduced a new generation of black comedic stars to America, from Martin Lawrence and Bill Bellamy to Bernie Mac and Chris Rock. He spins hilarious tales of his adventures in Hollywood, where he’s produced hit movies like Eddie Murphy’s The Nutty Professor and worked with quirky geniuses like Abel Ferrara. He also tells the story of Phat Farm, the wildly successful pioneering urban clothing label whose origins lay in Russell’s longtime fascination with fashion (and fashion models).

Simmons’s story is also one of personal transformation, from the driven man who in the heady days of early success indulged himself with drugs, sex, and world-class decadence to the husband and father he is today, a man who has found meaning in activism, philanthropy, and spiritual practice while never losing his passion for the social, political, artistic, and commercial potential of hip-hop.

Through it all he relates telling anecdotes about the characters he’s dealt with: models and gangsters, street poets and gurus, and major players like Donald Trump, Sean Combs, Jon Peters, and Tupac Shakur. Full of advice, opinions, and behind-the-scenes scoop, Life and Def is the story of the quintessential hip-hop life. (Source: Amazon.com)

From the Back Cover

“Simmons managed what most of us only dream about: igniting a revolution rather than witnessing one.” — Gotham

“Urban legend Russell Simmons nearly single-handedly made rap music and culture mainstream. An African-American Horatio Alger tale.” — New York Post

“An inspiring glimpse at the rap impresario’s road to redemption.” — Essence

“In Life and Def, hip-hop’s mega-mogul gives the raw, uncut story behind his rise to the top.” — Honey

“Simmons’s love for hip-hop in general, and rap in particular, can’t be mistaken. This book is insightful. . . . Anybody who cares about rap should read this.” — Black Issues Book Review

About the Authors

RUSSELL SIMMONS is the founder or cofounder of numerous successful companies and philanthropic organizations, including Def Jam Records, Phat Farm clothing, the dRush advertising agency, and Rush Philanthropic.

NELSON GEORGE is a groundbreaking journalist, cultural critic, novelist, and filmmaker. Among his nine books are Show and Tell, the award-winning Death of Rhythm & Blues, and Hip Hop America.

US readers get it here
European readers get it here

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Also by Russell Simmons:

rush2Do You!: 12 Laws to Access the Power in You to Achieve Happiness and Success; 320 pages, 2008 – Since rising out of the New York City streets over twenty-five years ago, Russell Simmons has helped create such groundbreaking ventures as Def Jam Records, Phat Farm, and Def Comedy Jam. Russell might have helped introduce hip-hop to the world, but he credits his success to his belief in a strong set of principles—or laws. In twelve straightforward steps, Russell reveals a path that can be followed by anyone struggling to realize their dreams.

Russell’s laws stem from the belief that it’s impossible to receive any sort of lasting success from the world without giving something of lasting value to the world first. Blending business insight, universal spiritual truths, and an inspired sense of purpose, Do You! crosses the lines of age, race, and background, with wisdom that will lift you up and motivate you to pursue your vision.

US readers get it here

European readers get it here

rush3Super Rich: A Guide to Having It All; 208 pages, 2011 – Being “super rich” has little to do with living in a mansion and everything to do with living in a state of consciousness where you are equally connected to the world and your highest self. While it can be easy to become sidetracked chasing material wealth, the only worthwhile pursuit in life should be to find lasting, stable happiness.

Super Rich shares strategies on how to get past perceived obstacles to happiness and fill your life with friendship, compassion, laughter, love, a sense of fulfillment, and, yes, money. When you use your gifts and serve the world, the world will in return reward you. Through real-life examples, Russell provides the concepts and tools needed to transform your relationship with yourself and the world for the better.Super Rich offers a road map to lasting, stable abundance that is rooted in your consciousness. And once you tap into that consciousness and harness its power, then you’re going to have access to the greatest stimulus package of all time: your higher self.

US readers get it here

European readers get it here

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