Russell Simmons is an American entrepreneur, the co-founder of the pioneering hip-hop label Def Jam, founder of Russell Simmons Music Group, and creator of the clothing fashion line Phat Farm.
Simmons attended City College of New York but left his studies to begin promoting local rap music acts, including Kurtis Blow and Run-DMC (whom he would later sign to his record label), and producing records. In 1984, he met Rick Rubin and they founded Def Jam Records, signing the Beastie Boys, LL Cool J and other acts.
Recently, Simmons brought his show Def Poetry to Broadway as a live show, earning awards for the youthful and multicultural cast. Simmons, in partnership with a financial institution, released a line of re-loadable Visa debit cards aimed at consumers who would other wise have problems obtaining a checking/debit account.