Russell Simmons Initially Threw Public Enemy’s Demo Out the Window

at 3:53 pm | By

Russell wasn't a fan

Doctor Dre — no, the other one — revealed that legendary hip-hop mogul Russel Simmons initially had the wrong idea about Public Enemy. The MTV VJ and Yo! MTV Raps host said that Simmons was so strongly against the sound of Public Enemy’s first demo that he chucked it out the window.

First, a little backstory on how Dre came to have the demo… As the touring DJ for the Beastie Boys, Dre got his hands on a lot of radio promos. He’d play the ones that he thought were decent for Beastie’s producer and guru Rick Rubin as well as Simmons.

In Dre’s own words:

“I was the first DJ for the Beastie Boys after Rick Rubin…I got my group signed to Def Jam and after I did that, while on the road, I used to play tapes we made on the bus with everybody. They eventually heard ‘Public Enemy #1’ because the song was a radio promo.”

To hear Dre tell it, Rubin was on-board with the harsh, political sound of the hip-hop legend’s from jump, but Simmons thought that there was no market for the upstart group.

“When I first played it, Russell [Simmons] was sleeping on Rick’s bed at NYU and Rick [Rubin] heard it and said, ‘Yo, this is a’ight. This is cool,’” he said. “But me being with the Beasties for so long, they kept telling Rick about it, so I played it for ’em. Russell got up, walked to the tape deck and threw the cassette out the window. I said, ‘What are you doing?’ He said, ‘This is garbage, man. Nobody’s ever going to listen to that.’”

russell simmons 5th Annual BOMBAY SAPPHIRE Artisan Series Finale Hosted By Russell And Danny Simmons @ Art Basel Miami Beach

Credit: Mike Coppola/Getty Images

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