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Russel Simmons is creating the definitive hip hop history documentary

Russel Simmons is creating the definitive hip hop history documentary

Def Jam co-founder Russel Simmons is leveraging his decades of experience and countless connections within the industry to create a brand new series that seeks to be the defining documentary about hip hop.

Appropriately titled "The Definitive History of Hip Hop," Simmons' new documentary series seeks to educate viewers about every aspect of hip hop, detailing its birth as underground music in the 1970's to its current status as a multi-billion dollar industry that dominates modern pop culture. The series is being produced through Simmons' All Def Digital media platform, alongside GroupM Entertainment and production company Stephen David Entertainment, who have previously produced a number of award winning documentaries for The History Channel, including the Emmy Award winning The Men Who Built America.

"The Definitive History of Hip Hop is the untold story of the birth of this art form," Simmons said in a press release. "The series gets behind the scenes of what drove the beats, the rhymes, the ideas -- and the people -- that so powerfully hit a chord with all of youth culture in America and around the world."

"The birth of hip-hop and its ascent into the American mainstream is a fascinating story, one that has tremendous historical and social importance and relevance in our society," said producer Stephen David.

All Def Digital promises that the series will cover all of hip hop history's biggest acts, ranging from early pioneers like DJ Hollywood, golden age acts like Run DMC, to the success stories of musicians who used hip hop to build the foundation of multi-million dollar business empires, like Dr. Dre and Jay Z.

"Hip Hop is the most listened to category of music in the US and its universal appeal is, in part, due to the fact that it has always been about speaking truth to power - nothing could be more timely than this," said Sanjay Sharma, All Def Digital's CEO. All Def cited the success of films like Straight Outta Compton and the TV series Empire as proof that the world wants to know more about the history and personal stories behind hip hop music. 

"We are going long, and deep, and plan to follow the characters and story lines, the drama, the dreams, the deaths, the disruptions, that have made our narrative one of the most compelling American stories of the last three decades," Simmons said. "And its future is still being written today, so the story is both timeless and endless."

The Definite History of Hip Hop is scheduled to begin production sometime later this year.

By Michael Lacerna for


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