Looking back at everything he’s done, there’s no doubt in anyone’s mind that Rick Rubin has had one of the most illustrious music careers of all time.
From producing T La Rock & Jazzy Jay’s pioneering “It’s Yours” to launching Def Jam Recordings with Russell Simmons to working with Public Enemy and Beastie Boys to getting enlisted by Kanye to help “reduce” Yeezus, it’s clear that he’s left a huge imprint on the hip hop culture.
Rubin could have added another notch to his belt back in the ’80s – signing N.W.A. to Def Jam, one of the greatest rap record labels of all time. “I remember going to see them play. I think it was in Inglewood. It was the first time I saw a lot of guns in hip-hop,” he recalled in an interview with The Daily Beast.
“Before N.W.A went out on stage, a guy came around with towels, and he opened up the towels and there were loaded guns. And everybody got loaded up to go out on stage. It was unbelievable. And I remember Eazy-E walking around backstage watching a portable TV and holding a machine gun.”
After seeing N.W.A. perform live, Rubin connected with the West Coast group in an attempt to sign them to his label.
I went to the studio when they were recording Straight Outta Compton. I was just a fan, but I developed a relationship with them. And the reason it didn’t work out was, there have been a couple of cases in my life where I make some plan with the artist, but then they already have an existing relationship with a company and the company ends up doing something different. N.W.A was one of those.Rick Rubin On Crashing Yeezus & Continuing To Make History | Okayplayer