The 15 Best Years in Def Jam History

6. 1990

Notable Releases: EPMD Business as Usual (Def Jam/RAL/Columbia); LL Cool J Mama Said Knock You Out (Def Jam/Columbia); Public Enemy Fear of a Black Planet (Def Jam/Columbia)

With the acquisition of free agents EPMD to the roster following the collapse of Sleeping Bag Records, Def Jam added some new blood to the franchise. Business As Usual not only provided LL Cool J with some much-needed street buzz via the incredible "Rampage," but it also introduced the world to Redman on the equally outstanding "Hardcore," and possibly provided the inspiration for Kanye West's international smash "Gold Digger" with their lead single of the same name.

LL quickly followed up with Mama Said Knock You Out, the comeback album that he insisted wasn't one. The champagne popping lifestyle record Walking With A Panther, released the previous year at the height of Public Enemy's influence, was the recipient of a major backlash. Reinvigorated by the Midas touch of Marley Marl and some club-hopping prior to recording sessions, Uncle L reclaimed his position in the upper echelon. Chuck D and the crew weren't resting on their laurels either, as the PE delivered their third LP, Fear of a Black Planet. It became their biggest-selling record, due in part to the success of "Fight The Power" and its prominent role in Spike Lee's seminal Do The Right Thing.

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