Rick Rubin’s favourite rap album of all time
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Rick Rubin’s favourite rap album of all time

Rick Rubin‘s status in hip-hop is as a master of music with a talent that knew no limits. Akin to Larry Smith, he was highly involved with Run-DMC, the face of hip-hop in the ’80s. However, Rubin was affiliated to such an extent that he founded what would become Def Jam Records alongside Russell Simmons.

Rubin’s musical interest stemmed primarily from rock. However, hip-hop and rock (both innately rebellious) informed his music and made him a pretty special beatmaker. The legendary DJ Jazzy Jay of the Zulu Nation taught Rubin the ropes of rap music production.

However, with his NYU education, he took things to an entirely new level and, alongside Jay and Simmons, created hip-hop history when the three of them ‘It’s Yours’ by T La Rock and Jazzy Jay.

This was the first ever Def Jam Recordings single, but it would not be Rick Rubin’s only hit. He created LL Cool J’s ‘Rock The Bells’, ‘Peter Piper’ by Run-DMC and was the primary producer of the Beastie Boys. Rubin was a pioneer of 1980s hip-hop.

That said, in a 2008 interview with the guitar company Gibson, Runin spoke about some of his favourite projects of all time and listed bodies of work ranging from rock to hip-hop, showing his eclectic taste. 

Showing his love of classic rock ‘n’ roll as opposed to the heavy rock that would shape his rap production, Rubin revealed that he loves The Beatles’ 1968 self-titled ninth project, often referred to as The White Album.

Explaining why he has a strange affinity for that particular body of work, Rubin expounded, “This one may not be as polished as some of the other Beatles albums, but I like how personal it feels, and the fact that you can hear the individual styles of each of the guys. It sounds as much like four separate people as it does a band. I like seeing their individual personalities coming through in the music and in the playing.”

The Grammy-award-winning beatmaker then pivoted to hip-hop and, unsurprisingly, unveiled that, to this day, Run-D.M.C’s 1984 self-titled debut album is his most cherished rap album, explaining, “This album is very bare-bones. It probably influenced my hip-hop production more than anything else.”

Unlike many of the trio’s albums, the 1984 project released via Profile Records didn’t involve Rubin but was primarily produced by Russell Simmons and Larry Smith. The album made a profound impact on the culture and was the first rap LP to ever receive a gold certification from the RIAA.

With singles such as ‘Rock Box’ and ‘It’s Like That’, it laid the perfect foundation for Rubin to come in and expand the trio’s sound so they could reach new heights. You can listen to Run-DMC below.