Fast Facts

  • Hip-Hop entrepreneur and cultural icon, Simmons is the foremost pioneer in bringing cultural innovation to the mainstream.
  • Founded Def Jam Recordings in 1984. Releases groundbreaking albums by Run DMC, Beastie Boys, LL Cool J, and Public Enemy.
  • Simmons and his film and television partner, Stan Lathan, launched Def Comedy Jam, the most successful urban comedy franchise in urban television history (8mm DVD’s sold and growing). They received a Tony for their production “Russell Simmons’ Def Poetry Jam on Broadway”(2003). Simmons Lathan Media Group (founded in 2003) has since launched an innovative VOD channel and currently produces the smash hit MTV reality series “Run’s House”(MTV’s number one rated series for 2 years).
  • Simmons founded RUSH in 1991 to oversee all of his commercial and affiliated philanthropic initiatives, as well as creating substantial marketing initiatives with significant corporate brands.
  • In 1992, Simmons launched Phat Fashions (fiscal year 2007: $350mm sales- a record year), a fashion empire that broadened to include the iconic Phat Farm, and Baby Phat apparel lines. Simmons has since expanded into successful franchises in jewelry, footwear, and fragrances (sold in 2004 for $115mm to the Kellwood Company).
  • In 1998 Def Jam final sale to Universal Music Group (300mm valuation).
  • In 2003 Simmons founded UniRush, a path breaking debit card initiative to provide affordable financial services to the unbanked (Over 1.5 million card holders).
  • In 2003 Def Jam expands into video games (5.5mm games sold and growing).
  • In 2007 Simmons made the initial investment in Global Grind, the first broadbased Hip-Hop content web destination.
  • In 2007 Simmons announced the formation of “Simmons American Design Group” an ambitious new fashion initiative created to target all levels of fashion with partners Li & Fung, Macy’s, and Wal-Mart.
  • Simmons has founded and chairs substantial philanthropic organizations including Hip-Hop Summit Action Network, The Foundation for Ethnic understanding, Rush Philanthropic Arts Foundation, and the Diamond Empowerment Fund.