Notable Releases: T La Rock & Jazzy Jay "It's Yours"; LL Cool J "I Need A Beat"

1983 marked the debut release for the Def Jam label (a single for Rick Rubin's "artcore" group, Hose), but it wasn't until the following year that the now-iconic Def Jam logo made its first appearance on the label for T La Rock and Jazzy Jay's "It's Yours." Released through Arthur Baker's Partytime/Streetwise label, the song was a huge underground hit, but relations between T La Rock and Rick Rubin soon cooled.

Rick (with his business partner Russell Simmons) soon signed a 16 year-old MC named LL Cool J to record the first official Def Jam single, in part because he presented a younger, more marketable version of what T La Rock was doing. Ad Rock of the Beastie Boys was actually responsible for directing Rick's attention to Todd's tape, after working his way through the box of demos in Rubin's college dorm room while he was just hanging out. LL Cool J's "I Need a Beat" cost a mere $400 to make and went on to sell 120,000 copies. The Beastie Boys would go on to record their first rap single for the label later that same year, although it wasn't pressed up on vinyl until 1985.