The 15 Best Years in Def Jam History

8. 1999

Notable Releases: DMX ...And Then There Was X (Ruff Ryders/Def Jam); Ja Rule Venni Vetti Vecci (Murder Inc./Def Jam); Jay-Z Vol. 3... Life and Times of S. Carter (Roc-A-Fella/Def Jam); Method Man & Redman Blackout!; Slick Rick The Art of Storytelling

The DMX juggernaut continued: ...And Then There Was X would sell over five million copies at the peak of the rapper's popularity. His eventual successor, Ja Rule, also made his solo debut in 1999 with Venni Vetti Vecci on Irv Gotti's Murda Inc imprint. Jay-Z had another great year with Vol. 3... Life and Times of S. Carter notching up over 3 million in sales, while the Method Man/Redman Blackout! LP went platinum off the back of "Da Rockwilder" tearing up the clubs.

Veteran Slick Rick finally got to deliver a worthy follow-up to his debut with LP number four, the impressive The Art of Storytelling, which saw him team up with MCs like Nas, Raekwon, Outkast and Snoop Dogg. Foxy Brown and Memphis Bleek also did respectable numbers, rounding out another big year. 1999 was also the year that Russell Simmons finally let go of the reigns, selling his remaining stocks in Def Jam to Universal, who appointed Rush's right-hand man Lyor Cohen head of Island Def Jam Music Group.

Tags: def-jam
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