Simmons Forms New Label

Russell Simmons has renewed his relationship with the Island Def Jam Music Group by announcing the formation of the Russell Simmons Music Group.

The new label is a 50/50 joint venture with the Universal Music Group-owned IDJ. Simmons said RSMG will release albums later this year by R&B trio Buddafly and Reverend Run – aka Joseph Simmons, a founding member of Run DMC and Russell’s brother.

The hip-hop mogul will also serve as a consultant to IDJ under the deal.

The move surprised some observers who had expected Simmons – whose contract as Def Jam chairman expired more than a year ago – to follow Lyor Cohen and other former IDJ execs to Warner Music Group.

Simmons founded Def Jam in 1984 with Rick Rubin but sold it to UMG in 1999. He has focused mainly on non-music ventures since then, including HBO‘s successful “Def Poetry Jam” and the Phat Farm and Baby Phat clothing lines.