Hey Reddit -- Russell Simmons here.

A few months back, an episode of Blackie Sack from my YouTube channel, All Def Digital, hit the front page of r/videos. So to show my appreciation for your support I thought I'd answer some questions and let you know about a few new series that we're airing:

Blowing Up - a reality series where I challenge comedian heavyweights Teddy Ray and Doboy to slim down and give them tips on living a healthy lifestyle


Professor White - from the creators of Blackie Sack, it's the story of the world's first ever professor to teach 'White History' to a classroom of inner city misfits

So check out the shows & bring it on Reddit! Ask me anything!

edit: the real proof

edit: 6pm PST -- done answering questions! thanks so much everyone here on iAma, /r/hiphopheads, and all across reddit who came out to join the conversation. As a thank you, here's a link for tomorrow's new episode of Professor White a day before it airs. Let me know what you think.

Comments: 340 • Responses: 36  • Date: 

mgolf289 karma

FUCK! I thought you were Richard Simmons and I just shared my story of my grandmother overcoming obesity. I feel so stupid now.

Russell_Simmons311 karma

haha no worries. I'm still so glad she reached that milestone & I'm proud of her success.

Twigsnapper9 karma

Rock out man..that is an Awesome accomplishment for all of them. I bet they are feeling great now as well. Congrats to them both.

heydanpowers7 karma

Is it me or is mgolf thinking of a different Simmons? Great story though!:)

Twigsnapper2 karma

Both would be amazingly fun to chill with regardless

heydanpowers6 karma

or chill with at the same time sounds like a Reality show

Russell_Simmons54 karma

maybe we could teach yoga?

TylersSwag129 karma

Mr. Simmons, please check out /r/hiphopheads. It's a great group and we'd love to hear from you.

Russell_Simmons186 karma

love r/HHH. the thing I love most about hip hop is that the biggest, most commercial artists survive because they don't compromise, but in other genres the biggest artists have veered from their official mantra.

liferemixed108 karma

Maaan, Russell Simmons making a shoutout to /r/hiphopheads. Life's good, fam.

Russell_Simmons295 karma

it would be pretty wild if he replied to your comment, too, huh?

ObieUno107 karma

And we have a winner.

Shameless plug: They have a ton of talented MC's on the /r/hiphopheads mixtape

Russell_Simmons127 karma

I'll check it out. thanks for sharing. always looking for the next hot artist & digital is the way everything is going

Pynch_my_rainbow25 karma

So, I guess you haven't listened to the new Jay-Z and Eminem albums...

EDIT: I would also like to take this opportunity to apologize for all of the bootlegs I have bought. It was the only way I could get my hands on The Blueprint when I was 11.

Russell_Simmons87 karma

Malcom X said it best: "by any means necessary." The Blueprint was a great album.

sxeworldwide92 karma

Your private members bill to get money out of politics - how has that been progressing?

Russell_Simmons140 karma

Not as well as I would like but I'm on top of it every day. change needs to happen

oneanddone_bitches85 karma


Russell_Simmons212 karma

you gotta call his name 3 times to summon him

slips2853 karma

No question. I just wanted to thank you for your contributions not only to the hip hop community but to music as a whole. Thank you.

Russell_Simmons64 karma

my pleasure. thank you for being a supporter.

OhShitItsSeth51 karma

When trying to start Def Jam, what was a low point that made you think if giving up, if there was such a point?

Russell_Simmons91 karma

shipping records into a black hole where nobody would pay us. my experiences taught me about failure and quitting and I learned that there are no failures, only quitters. I see lots of digital stars who come to ADD having spent years building their base, who would never veer from their vision and that's inspiring.

tamammothchuk44 karma

What is the best hook, beat, or song that you wish you'd been a part of?

Russell_Simmons86 karma

Fight the Power & Same Love

SlappyBag938 karma

What made you do yoga with MellowHigh of Odd Future?

Russell_Simmons88 karma

they're some cool young dudes I wanted to hang out with

GabrielBonilla37 karma

Russel, whos your favourite rapper right now?

Russell_Simmons111 karma

this morning it was YG, this month it's Jay Z

McMartian32 karma

Hey Russell! What are your opinions on today's popular rap/hip-hop music and the direction the genre is moving in?

Russell_Simmons53 karma

it's poetry with music and vocals. the fact that poetry is still hot makes me glad. good lyrics are good lyrics.

you could compare one of the new artists on ADD, Na'tee, with Foxy Brown and see similarities with just a difference in time.

Twinkie_Zombie17 karma


Russell_Simmons105 karma

It's a breakthrough. hip hop is the sound of the urban underserverd community, and country fills that role for a lot of underseverd america, too. getting them together moves both genres & even our society forward

Twigsnapper30 karma

Hey Mr. Simmons,

That blowing up show sounds awesome. I used to be 440 and have lost 220 pounds over the last 7 years. Are you looking to do more weight loss/conscious aspects for shows. Did you ever consider the post weight loss factors of life after they achieve their goals?

Russell_Simmons49 karma

the idea is to get addicted to feeling good. if you know better you do better. The practice of doing yoga is contagious.

wf0186726 karma

Do you think J Dilla was as good at producing as people say, also who is your favorite producer?

Russell_Simmons62 karma

Rick Rubin/ kanye / Swizz Beatz

dancingpandapants25 karma

Please tell us anything you can about filming the movie Krush Groove!!!


Russell_Simmons46 karma

Blair Underwood was so handsome. I couldn't pick up any girls when I was with him. They all went after him instead.

saptsen22 karma


Russell_Simmons43 karma

3D Na'tee is one of the best artists yet to truly break.

Russell_Simmons21 karma

I think All Def Poetry has got to be the greatest vehicle for truth online and I really want to spread the word online and get more truthful, inspired truth tellers to give us their poetry.

tikal70721 karma

Will major labels be relevant in 5 to 10 years.

Russell_Simmons37 karma

if they're creative, yea. ADD music is part of the solution

robertolbr20 karma

What is the most important business deal you have done?

Russell_Simmons34 karma

i wake up excited every morning -- moving into a new medium is fun, so All Def Digital strikes me as the most important today. but thats only today.

timelf20 karma

What is the best piece of advice someone has ever told you? What did you think about Kendrick Lamar getting robbed last night for best rap album?

Russell_Simmons99 karma

Kendrick is absolutely a better rapper, and Macklemore had one of the most inspiring, socially conscious songs of the year and that is what did well for him. He's a great rapper, but there is no evidence anywhere that he's a better artist than Lamar

joshbeezey16 karma

If you could have a create collaboration outside of the hip hop genre, who would you pick and why?

Russell_Simmons24 karma

I'm inspired by the designer for J Crew. My clothing line Argyleculture needs a great designer like that. In film & TV, working with Brian Grazer was a great experience, but if I could have worked with anyone I'd want it to be Normal Lear.

My goal is to find the modern, young Norman Lear and give him a TV show.

ginsuthaironchef15 karma

Do you still accept cd's/demos from the hands of emcees?

What type of artist do you think hiphop needs right now? What are you looking for?

Russell_Simmons28 karma

Lyrics & social consciousness. Someone with lyrics & flow like Kendrick, with the social message of Macklemore. Poets should touch peoples' hearts, and possessing that ability is what's most important.

timelf15 karma

Favorite item at Native Foods? And worst present you've ever recieved?

Russell_Simmons30 karma

the Classic Deli Ruben. so good it makes me feel like I'm cheating & eating meat.

pepito42014 karma

what has been the greatest success in your business life?

you seem very at peace with yourself so what is a piece of wisdom you can impart on us?

Russell_Simmons30 karma

meditate twice a day. if you don't know how, check out Blowing up or wait until my new Yoga book comes out in a few months.

5917914 karma

Didn't you already do this today? Did you delete a first attempt?

Russell_Simmons75 karma

that was a fake AMA. mods took care of it. there's only one Russell.

5917913 karma


So, what words do you have for the community you grew up in?

Russell_Simmons38 karma

Stay on your hustle 

meiosisI11 karma

Do you think Def Jam ever take part in EDM artists? Does Def Jam plan on going worldwide?

Russell_Simmons64 karma

Unfortunately the only proof that I'm aging is my inability to get down with EDM. I hope I get a burst of youth and revaluation and understand it. I want to be inspired by young people, but when I hear 6 of those songs back to back in the clubs (yes I still go to clubs) it drives me crazy

SATXreddit11 karma

What is the greatest lesson you have ever learned?

What's the best piece of advice you ever got?

Russell_Simmons19 karma

my first experience in yoga was prompted by now President of Fox Pictures Emma Watts. trying yoga was the best advice I ever got.

LeMunson9 karma

Did you ever feel like your veganism didn't fit the hip hop subculture?

Russell_Simmons33 karma

I think there's a clash between veganism and mainstream pop culture. The music community is more conscious in general, but hop hop culture is the voice of the poor and people in poverty have a harder time being vegan due to a lack of access and options.

mjst03248 karma

What's your opinion on Macklemore winning the Grammy for Best Rap Album over Kendrick? Thanks for doing this AMA!

Russell_Simmons20 karma

answered here. Kendrick is the better rapper no doubt but Macklemore had the power of an important social message.

cosmograph8 karma

I loved Def Poetry Jam, especially how you were able to get great Hip Hop artists like Kanye West, MC Lyte and David Banner on the show. It was great to see these artists share their poetry in a different medium and environment than they usually do. Is there any hope for more Def Poetry Jam, or anything similar, from you in the future?

Russell_Simmons12 karma

it already exists: ADD poetry. the new wave of young spoken word artists.

professorgandalf3 karma

What new projects are you looking to get involved with or begin in the next few years?

Russell_Simmons4 karma

Professor White is a new comedy series that really cracks me up -- working on the new episodes for that

[deleted]2 karma


Russell_Simmons11 karma

I have a number of favorite artists. From Kehinde Wiley, Victor Matthews, to my brother Danny Simmons.