Although the rumors haven’t been substantiated by any of the involved figures, Deadline reported yesterday that Universal is considering a new hip-hop-focused biopic focused on the story of Def Jam Records.
Universal was also behind "Straight Outta Compton," the N.W.A. biopic that broke records and garnered critical acclaim all summer. Apparently, that film’s success has convinced the studio that hip-hop legacy biopics are a profitable move.
Deadline reports that while everything is still in preliminary stages, the biopic will focus on Def Jam’s early years and be based on "Life and Def: Sex, Drugs, Money, + God," a memoir co-written by Def Jam co-founder Russell Simmons and Nelson George. Michael B. Jordan and Jonah Hill have been named to possibly play Simmons and co-founder Rick Rubin, respectively.
Def Jam was founded in Rubin’s NYU dorm room in 1984, and has since grown to become one of the most profitable and iconic record labels in history. Together, Simmons and Rubin were instrumental in the careers of seminal hip-hop and rap artists like LL Cool J, Public Enemy, the Beastie Boys and Jay-Z. Simmons spun that success into a broader career as an entertainment mogul, launching Def Comedy Jam and Def Poetry Jam. Rubin is a prolific producer in both hip-hop and rock, working with artists as varied as Kanye West, Slipknot, the Red Hot Chili Peppers and Eminem.