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Rick Rubin Reflects On His Contributions To 10 Iconic Hip-Hop Albums


The Geto Boys—The Geto Boys (1990) 

“I think I basically re-mixed the whole album and re-recorded some of their older songs for the album, and changed their name to The Geto Boys, because it was spelled differently before that. We kind of played to the strengths of what the group had, and made their best possible major label debut after they’d put out some indie records.

[Ed. note: The Geto Boys was initially supposed to be released via a partnership between Rubin’s Def American Recordings and Geffen Records, but due to the album’s overly explicit and violent lyrics, Geffen terminated the distribution deal before the album’s release. David Geffen told The New York Times: “I just couldn’t put out a record about sex with dead bodies and cutting off women’s breasts. I begged Rick not to put out the Geto Boys. In the end, I lost. He left and went to Warner Brothers.”]

“I support artists in saying what they want to say, regardless of whether I agree with it or not. It’s purely a freedom of speech issue, and I thought they were great artists making great music, with a point of view that’s theirs, and no one else was making music like that at the time. There’s tremendous validity in that, and I supported them in that. What I liked about their music was that it wasn’t toned down. I was fighting for what was strong about the music, and part of what was strong about it was how radical it was, lyrically.”

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