Arguably one of the music business' most successful and influential record producers for over three decades, Rick Rubin helped to popularize hip-hop music in the 1980s through the seminal Def Jam Records, which he co-founded with entrepreneur Russell Simmons. His stripped-down production style, which emphasized the artist over the beats while melding rap and rock elements made such acts as Run-DMC, the Beastie Boys and LL Cool J into mainstream superstars and minted Rubin as a visionary force in the future of popular music. After leaving Def Jam in 1988, he launched a new label, Def American, which featured Rubin's celebrated, award-winning collaboration with rock acts like Slayer and the Red Hot Chili Peppers, as well as established artists, most notably Johnny Cash, whose career was revitalized by a series of acclaimed albums with Rubin. By the new millennium, Rubin had produced some of the biggest records of the decade by major artists like the Dixie Chicks, Justin Timberlake, Neil Diamond and Metallica, which preceded his appointment as co-head of Columbia Records. Though the job was plagued by conflict with the label's executives, the discord did not prevent Rubin from continuing his winning streak, with two Grammys for Producer of the Year and Album of the Year with Adele's starmaking 21 (2012). Rubin's long, storied career and ability to draw the best from a wide variety of artists made him a major creative force within the increasingly moribund music industry.