When it was founded in 1984, Def Jam was a tiny operation nestled in the college dorm room of Rick Rubin. He and promoter Russell Simmons quickly built a music empire around a talented crew of groundbreaking artists and an allegiance to the "e,real street music"e, that was about to bust out of New York City's hip-hop circles. Over the course of several decades, Def Jam has helped launched many of the best acts in rap and pop music, including LL Cool J, the Beastie Boys, Public Enemy, Method Man, DMX, Ja Rule, Jay-Z, and Rihanna. Over 200 gold and over 70 platinum records bear the Def Jam label. Def Jam's 25th anniversary in 2009 was just another milestone in the story of a label that helped define the sound as well as the wider culture of hip-hop.