Rick Rubin: Hit Man

Producer Rick Rubin may skip the Grammys tonight, but his impact on the industry will be on full display

Kelly A. Swift / Retna

Rick Rubin and rapper Jay-Z in 2004

Rick Rubin enjoys long walks on the beach, sushi dinners and hugs that warm the corners of the soul. Behind the ZZ Top exterior lurks the soul of a Playmate. Rubin is also the most widely accomplished record producer of the past 20 years, getting career-best work out of everyone from the Dixie Chicks to the Red Hot Chili Peppers to Justin Timberlake--all of whom are vying for Album of the Year at the Grammys on Feb. 11. He's able to do this largely because his teddy-bear sensitivity defies every stereotype of his profession. Unlike Phil Spector, who allegedly motivated the...

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