The Impresario of Rap

Russell Simmons took hip-hop out of the inner city and into the pop mainstream. Now he's rich and livin' large -- but he retains the in-your-face style of the streets.

THEY CALL RUSSELL SIMMONS THE man with the juice. That's rapspeak for power. During the past decade, this streetwise entertainment mogul has amassed tons of it. You want to talk records? He owns six labels, including the pioneering Def Jam. Live concerts? His management company boasts a roster of such seminal rap performers as Run-DMC, Public Enemy, LL Cool J and 3rd Bass. Television? His broadcast and film-production company turns out the popular Home Box Office show Russell Simmons' Def Comedy Jam, a weekly showcase for black stand-up comics. Nobody has done more than Simmons, 34, to move rap -- or...

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