Rock Hall Welcomes Def Jam Records

CLEVELAND (October 20, 2011) – The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum is pleased to host a special lecture “Def Jam Recordings: The First 25 Years of Last Great Record Label” on Wednesday, November 9 at 7 p.m. in the Foster Theater. Bill Adler and Cey Adams will tell their story with pictures and video based on their new book about the first 25 years of Def Jam Records. This event is free with a reservation. Seating is limited. RSVP information is as follows:


Rock Hall Members can RSVP starting at 10 a.m. EST on Monday, October 24 through the Rock Hall website at


Non-Rock Hall members can RSVP starting at 10 a.m. EST on Tuesday, October 25 through the Rock Hall website at, by phone at (216) 515-8426, or at the Rock Hall Box Office.

Def Jam is the last record label to enjoy the kind of widespread cultural influence once enjoyed by the great labels of the Fifties, Sixties, and Seventies – back before actual records became obsolete. Launched in 1984, Def Jam’s roster during the last 25 years – starting with LL Cool J, the Beastie Boys, and Public Enemy, and going on to include Method Man, Jay-Z, DMX, Ja Rule, Ludacris, Ashanti, Kanye West, Rick Ross, Young Jeezy, Rihanna, and many others – has created “the sound of young America,” much like Motown’s artists provided so much of the soundtrack of the Sixties.

An oral history composed of frank and amusing interviews includes all of the label’s key artists and executives. The text is strikingly complemented by images from some of the best-known photographers of the era, including Glen E. Friedman, Jonathan Mannion, and Annie Leibovitz. It was designed by Cey Adams, Def Jam’s founding creative director; and coauthored by Bill Adler, Def Jam’s founding publicist, and by Dan Charnas, author of The Big Payback: The History of the Business of Hip-Hop (New American Library 2010).

About Bill Adler

Bill Adler has devoted the last 30 years to a career in hip-hop during which he’s worked as a journalist, critic, publicist, biographer, archivist, label executive, curator, editor, documentary filmmaker, and teacher. He met Cey Adams when the two of them began working at Def Jam in 1984. Over the next six years, Bill was the director of publicity for Russell Simmons’ Rush Artist Management, working closely with Kurtis Blow, Whodini, Run-DMC, Dr. Jeckyll & Mr. Hyde, the Beastie Boys, LL Cool J, Slick Rick, Public Enemy, Eric B & Rakim, Jazzy Jeff & the Fresh Prince, Big Daddy Kane, EPMD, Stetsasonic, De La Soul, the Jungle Brothers, 3rd Bass, and others.

Between 2003 and 2007, Bill ran the Eyejammie Fine Arts Gallery, a pioneering art space devoted mostly to hip-hop photography. In 2004, Bill teamed up with Perry Films to write and produce “And You Don’t Stop: 30 Years of Hip-Hop,” a five-part documentary history of hip-hop, for VH1. In 2008, Presently, BIll is the director of the Adler Archive, a unique research library of hip-hop-oriented books, photographs, newspaper and magazine stories, audio and video recordings, and advertisements and flyers.

About Cey Adams

Cey Adams started writing graffiti in the late Seventies. Between 1984 and 1999,he was creative director at Def Jam Recordings, during which time he worked with everyone from Run-DMC, LL Cool J, the Beastie Boys, and Public Enemy to Redman, Foxy Brown and Jay-Z. He and his partner Steve Carr ran the Drawing Board, a design firm which counted among its clients Mary J. Blige, the Notorious B.I.G., the Geto Boyz, Ice Cube, and Sean “Diddy” Combs.

In recent years, Cey has worked with Dave Chappelle, Magic Johnson, Adidas, Nike, HBO, and Coca Cola. Cey was a key consultant to Seattle’s Experience Music Project during the conception and construction of their permanent hip-hop exhibit in 2000. In 2007 he curated “Untitled: An Exhibition of Original Skateboard Art” for the Eyejammie Fine Arts Gallery in New York. In 2008, he debuted as the co-author (with Bill Adler) of “DEFinition: _the Art and Design of Hip-Hop” (Collins Design), a groundbreaking survey of the visual impact of hip-hop on American culture during the last 30 years. In 2010 he designed work for “Looking at Music 3.0”, an exhibition exploring the influence of music on contemporary art practices at MoMA in New York.