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He’s been known as a guru, a Zen grasp, a reducer, an expert wrestling mark, a coach, a punk rocker, an aspiring magician, and a studio savant. Dr. Dre stated that he’s “arms down, the dopest producer ever that anybody would ever wish to be, ever.” Tom Morello stated that he’s really extra like an artist than a producer, somebody who has a “large concept of what it needs to be, and the way it ought to sound.” Johnny Money recalled that the barefoot and bearded one reminded him of Sam Phillips, the Solar Data founder who found Elvis, Jerry Lee Lewis, and Carl Perkins, and adjusted music without end within the 1950s.

I’m speaking, after all, about Rick Rubin.

Few people have affected as many corners of the musical universe for so long as Rubin. You in all probability know many of the legends by now. Born on Lengthy Island in 1963, he was an early adopter of Transcendental Meditation at 14, which his physician prescribed to assist alleviate neck ache. He maintains the follow to today. At an early age he fell in love with the sounds pouring out of his mother and father’ radio. First it was the Beatles and the Monkees, then Aerosmith and AC/DC, after which the Ramones and Minor Risk. He fashioned a band known as the Pricks; they made it to the stage at CBGB, the place they conspired with some mates within the crowd to kick up a pre-planned combat to strive fire up some native buzz. They have been tossed off after two songs, however the infamy by no means got here. By the early ’80s, he’d moved to New York and—after enrolling at NYU, the place he majored in philosophy— he turned a fixture in underground golf equipment like Negril.

Hip-hop turned his subsequent ardour. He turned mates with an rising DJ named Jazzy Jay who used to spin at Negril. In 1984, he labored with Jay and an MC named T La Rock on a single titled “It’s Yours.” From this mixture of clattering 808s, scratched data, and concise rhyming, an empire—Def Jam Data—was born. It was all completed from the confines of Rubin’s school dorm. It didn’t take lengthy earlier than acts lined as much as work with this mysterious, soft-spoken school child. LL Cool J was first. Then got here Beastie Boys and Run-DMC. After that he labored with the metalheads in Slayer, Public Enemy, and Danzig, and shock-comedian Andrew Cube Clay.

In 1988, Rubin left Def Jam, moved to California, and began a brand new imprint: Def American. A number of years later, he’d drop the “Def” after internet hosting a funeral proceeded over by Al Sharpton. Thus, American Recordings. A brand new wave of initiatives with artists like Purple Scorching Chili Peppers, Tom Petty, System of a Down, and Johnny Money adopted. Rubin’s renown swelled. Awards and platinum plaques appeared to comply with his each transfer. After which in 2007 he embraced a brand new problem when he took a job working Columbia Data. For the subsequent 5 years, he guided one of many greatest document firms on this planet via the brand new, post-physical actuality. His ardour for creation by no means left, and after leaving Columbia in 2012, he went again to creating data at American.

As assorted because the artists he’s labored with via the years have been, there’s one precept that has motivated his each alternative: style. If Rubin favored what he heard, it didn’t matter one bit whether or not it bore any relation to something he’d completed beforehand. He was keen to pursue it.

Rick Rubin is a bundle of contradictions. He was the white punk rock child who helped introduce suburban America to the predominantly Black hip-hop style. He then revived the careers of quite a few growing old rock legends lengthy after the highlight had shifted to others. He was the document firm swimsuit who staunchly refused to ever really put on a swimsuit. “After my preliminary success in rap, I began making rock data, and other people stated, ‘Why would you do that?’” he informed The New York Occasions. “It’s at all times the identical reply: ‘I’ve at all times favored doing the stuff that I like.’”

However how good is Rubin’s style? And the way efficient has he been at getting the many of the tons of of various personalities he’s encountered via the years? It’s clear that whereas many have been impressed by his hands-off, big-picture method, others have left the Rick Rubin expertise pining for a extra concerned, technically proficient presence. Nonetheless, there’s a wealth of traditional data and head-scratching bricks contained inside his discography, and you might patch collectively a fairly compelling survey of the music business over the previous 4 many years by inspecting them. That’s largely what the record beneath seeks to do.

Not each album right here was absolutely produced by Rubin. For some, he labored on solely a single track. In a single case—an distinctive case, to make sure—his contribution got here completely via the blending course of. The factor that binds this assortment collectively is that for good and dangerous, none of those 100 albums would exist of their current type if not for his affect.

One final word: These are usually not Rick Rubin’s albums. To no matter extent he was concerned of their creation, they belong, as they at all times have, to the artists who really did the work to create them. That’s the way in which the person would love it. “I by no means needed the data I do to sound like my data,” he’s stated. “I desire a thread working via the data that’s in regards to the artists, not about me. I believe my recordings are sincere, virtually documentary-like, explorations of who the artists are.”

For higher and worse, listed here are 100 actual ones.


The Unlucky

100. Limp Bizkit, Outcomes Could Fluctuate (2003)

That is what occurs if you give Fred Durst artistic management over a document. Whereas the duvet of the Who’s “Behind Blue Eyes” is dangerous, the track “Eat You Alive,” which was allegedly impressed by a romantic engagement with Britney Spears—an affair that she has vehemently denied—is a few unforgivably horrible, Metallica-lite trash.

99. Kula Shaker, Peasants, Pigs & Astronauts (1999)

98. Weezer, the “Purple Album” (2008)

It was a battle deciding whether or not to place this Weezer album or Make Imagine within the decrease spot on this record. However for the reason that “Purple Album” accommodates the track “Pork and Beans” and Make Imagine doesn’t, right here we’re.

97. Wu-Tang Clan, A Higher Tomorrow (2014)

The Wu-Tang expanded universe is rife with classics and bricks alike, from the thrilling highs of Liquid Swords and Solely Constructed Four Cuban Linx to the disappointing lows of Mr. Xcitement and Tical O: The Prequel. And whereas there are some notable highlights on A Higher Tomorrow—Methodology Man and GZA come alive on “Hold Watch”—this disjointed, uninspired effort falls into the latter class.


96. Child Rock, Born Free (2010)

His title is Kiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiid … Child Nation?

95. Artifical God, Artifical God (2003)

94. Eagle-Eye Cherry, Dwelling within the Current Future (2001)

93. Slayer, Diabolus in Musica (1998)

Slayer goes nü steel. Forgets folks love öld steel.

92. Flipper, American Grafishy (1993)

91. Weezer, Make Imagine (2005)

Although this album doesn’t comprise “Pork and Beans,” it DOES comprise an virtually impressively cloying array of tracks like “We Are All on Medicine” and “Maintain Me,” full of large hooks and empty energy. Pinkerton this isn’t.

90. Eminem, Revival (2017)

Rubin nabbed credit for 4 of this album’s 19 songs, however a kind of tracks, “Stroll on Water,” options Beyoncé. You at all times wanna be the one that produced Beyoncé. You actually don’t wish to be the one that produced “Untouchable.”

The David Lynch Foundation Honors Rick Rubin

Photograph by Kevin Winter/Getty Photos

The Merely OK

89. Purple Scorching Chili Peppers, I’m With You (2011)

Rubin produced six studio albums for the Purple Scorching Chili Peppers. His collaboration with Anthony Kiedis, Flea, Chad Smith, and whoever occurred to be taking part in guitar on the time is the longest and most commercially fruitful relationship of his profession. I’m With You represented the top of that relationship, at the very least for now. Although this album nabbed a Grammy nomination, Rubin and the band went separate methods after its launch, with the Peppers electing to work with Hazard Mouse on the The Getaway 5 years later. Although I’m With You doesn’t attain the highs Rubin and the Peppers have been accustomed to, “Brendan’s Dying Track” is an underrated gem.


88. Jake Bugg, Shangri La (2013)

87. Luna Halo, Luna Halo (2007)

86. Smashing Pumpkins, Shiny and Oh So Brilliant, Vol. 1 / LP: No Previous. No Future. No Solar. (2018)

That is certainly not Smashing Pumpkins’ worst album. It’s, nevertheless, the one which feels the least important. Rubin obtained vastly higher outcomes out of Billy Corgan once they collaborated on his solo album Ogilala simply the 12 months earlier than. Both approach, the 1975 needs they dreamed up an album title this gloriously elaborate.

85. The Purple Devils, King King (1992)

84. 4 Horsemen, No one Stated It Was Simple (1991)

83. Masters of Actuality, Masters of Actuality (1989)

82. Howlin’ Rain, The Russian Wilds (2012)

81. Angus & Julia Stone, Angus & Julia Stone (2014)

A brother-and-sister indie-folk rock duo from Sydney, Australia. Although they have been damaged up and pursuing solo careers when Rubin got here calling, after some extended convincing they flew out to his Shangri-La Studio in Malibu and laid down some tracks. I ponder what the band Grizzly Bear thought in regards to the track “Grizzly Bear.”


80. Saul Williams, Amethyst Rock Star (2001)

79. Linkin Park, A Thousand Suns (2010)

The album the place Linkin Park tried to marry Public Enemy’s political consciousness, U2’s sweeping grandiosity, and 9 Inch Nails’ synth-fueled aggression. The closing, acoustic monitor “The Messenger” is hands-down essentially the most affecting track right here.

78. Melanie C, Northern Star (1999)

Northern Star is among the most surprising collaborations of Rubin’s profession. You won’t determine {that a} former Spice Woman and the founding father of Def Jam Data would discover widespread floor, however they someway did. And whereas this Melanie C document isn’t the brightest spotlight in Rubin’s discography, it has its moments. The only “By no means Be the Identical Once more,” that includes a visitor verse from Lisa “Left Eye” Lopes, is actually amongst them.

77. Kate Tempest, The Ebook of Traps and Classes (2019)

76. Jakob Dylan, Seeing Issues (2008)

Dylan is one in all a handful of artists who got here away from the Rick Rubin expertise feeling underwhelmed. He later informed Marc Maron on his WTF podcast that “I don’t want a guru,” and “I like everyone within the room to speak in musical phrases.” To be truthful when your dad is Bob Dylan, you’ve obtained all of the gurus you want.

75. Woman Gaga, Artpop (2013)

The lone track Rubin produced on this underwhelming album, “Dope,” is a slow-building piano ballad that crests right into a wall of artificial, EDM bass notes. Each Gaga and Rubin have a litany of superior, slow-building piano ballads hooked up to their names elsewhere.

74. Yusuf, Inform ’Em I’m Gone (2014)

The Good

73. Sir Combine-A-Lot, Return of the Bumpasaurus (1996)

1000’s of producers have flipped the immortal “Apache” drumbeat, however few have ever completed so with as a lot zeal as Sir Combine-A-Lot on “Soar on It.” It’s additionally not day by day you hear somebody shout out Tacoma, Kansas Metropolis, or Denver on a rap monitor.

72. Numerous Artists, Much less Than Zero Soundtrack (1987)

The challenge that introduced Rubin to Los Angeles. In reality, LL Cool J’s contribution to the soundtrack, “Going Again to Cali,” sprung from Rubin’s personal reluctance to name the Golden State dwelling. LL requested his producer for an idea he may rhyme about, and Rubin provided this one up. It was the final monitor that the pair have labored on collectively thus far. The “Hazy Shade of Winter” cowl by the Bangles is fairly wonderful too.

71. Johnny Money, American V: A Hundred Highways (2006)

The one the place Johnny Money covers Bruce Springsteen.

70. Gossip, Music for Males (2009)

69. The Strokes, The New Irregular (2020)

Rubin’s most up-to-date entry on this record and possibly the very best Strokes album since First Impressions of Earth in 2005. “Brooklyn Bridge to Refrain” is the droll dance-rock anthem we’d like in 2020.


68. Neil Diamond, 12 Songs (2005)

Let me inform you one thing about Rick Rubin: Rick Rubin loves Neil Diamond. Rick Rubin loves Neil Diamond a lot that he virtually turned down the job of working Columbia Data in 2007 due to the way in which it mishandled the discharge of this album. Columbia included some spy ware on the bodily CD copies of 12 Songs to stop it from being pirated on-line. Folks came upon, there was a dust-up within the media, lawsuits have been filed, and Columbia pulled the CDs from the cabinets. “We got here out on a Tuesday, by the next week the CD was not obtainable,” Rubin informed The New York Occasions. “Columbia launched it once more in a month, however we by no means recovered.” It’s a disgrace, as a result of there’s some good songwriting amongst these 12 Songs. Rubin was eager to use the Johnny Money therapy to Diamond, convincing him to pare issues down and bringing in an all-star assortment of performers to accompany him, together with Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers alumni Mike Campbell and Benmont Tench, in addition to Billy Preston. Brian Wilson even added visitor vocals to a bonus 14th track titled “Delirious Love.” Regardless of the semi-bungled rollout, Diamond and Rubin loved their collaboration and labored collectively once more on the follow-up to this document, Residence Earlier than Darkish, which, on the time, made the singer the oldest performer ever to chart a no. 1 album.

67. Johnny Money, American Recordings III: Solitary Man (2000)

The one the place Johnny Money covers U2.

66. James Blake, The Color in Something (2016)

65. Slipknot, Vol. 3 (The Subliminal Verses) (2004)

Not as nice as the primary two Slipknot data, however to be truthful, it’s traditionally tough to nail the third installment of a trilogy. Simply ask Godfather III, Blade Trinity, or The Matrix: Revolutions. Thankfully, Vol. 3 (The Subliminal Verses) avoids the destiny of these maligned efforts with epic nu steel chuggers like “Duality” and “Welcome.”

2005 Adult Video News Awards

Photograph by Johnny Nunez/WireImage

64. Lil Jon & The East Aspect Boyz, Crunk Juice (2004)

Lil Jon dealt with many of the manufacturing duties on Crunk Juice, however Rubin’s contribution, “Cease Fuckin’ Wit Me,” hits as arduous as something on the complete document. The pattern of Slayer’s “South of Heaven” is impressed.

63. Johnny Money, American VI: Ain’t No Grave (2010)

The one the place Johnny Money covers Sheryl Crow.

62. Purple Scorching Chili Peppers, One Scorching Minute (1995)

One Scorching Minute is the one Chili Peppers album to function guitarist Dave Navarro, who took over after John Frusciante give up the primary time. It was largely written whereas lead singer Anthony Kiedis was battling a renewed habit to opiates, and by most accounts the method was painfully sluggish. With Navarro within the fold, the band drifted from their funk aesthetic and embraced arduous rock riffage on songs like “Warped,” “Espresso Store,” and “Shallow Be Thy Sport.” Three years later, Navarro was proven the door, and Frusciante was again as soon as once more, dreaming of Californication.

61. Dan Baird, Love Songs for the Listening to Impaired (1992)

60. Santana, Africa Speaks (2019)

59. Wolfsbane, Reside Quick, Die Quick: Depraved Tales of Booze, Birds and Unhealthy Language (1989)

58. Eminem, The Marshall Mathers LP 2 (2013)

The perfect a part of The Marshall Mathers LP 2 is 100 %, no query the “Berzerk” video, that includes a sure super-producer mean-mugging in entrance of a huge boombox.

57. Billy Corgan, Ogilala (2017)

56. GoldLink, And After That We Didn’t Discuss (2015)

55. Ed Sheeran, x (2014)

I haven’t written a phrase but, and you have already got “Considering Out Loud” caught in your head, don’t you? My dangerous.

54. Lana Del Rey, Paradise (2012)

Technically, Paradise is an EP launched 10 months after Del Rey’s breakthrough full-length, Born to Die. However at 33 minutes lengthy, it’s nonetheless 5 minutes longer than Slayer’s Reign in Blood. Rubin’s contribution got here on “Trip,” a hazy elegy full of pounding tom-toms and a stirring string part. Prime Lana.


53. Linkin Park, Minutes to Midnight (2007)

This album didn’t shake the world with the identical magnitude that Hybrid Idea or Meteora did, however a few of its peaks are simply as excessive. “Bleed It Out” was the ultimate track that Chester Bennington sang earlier than his demise, at Linkin Park’s ultimate present in July 2017. It’s a track that demanded every thing from him, and he not often did not ship in awe-inspiring trend.

52. Audioslave, Out of Exile (2005)

51. Rage In opposition to the Machine, Renegades (2000)

Sometimes, a covers album is the surest signal {that a} band has run out of concepts. However Renegades, launched shortly earlier than Rage known as it quits for the primary time, is among the extra considerate, bombastic ones you’ll ever hear. “Renegades of Funk” is an impressed interpretation, as is “The Ghost of Tom Joad,” however I can’t consider a extra becoming group to deal with the MC5’s “Kick Out the Jams.”

Def Jam Records Press Conference

Photograph by Ron Galella, Ltd./Ron Galella Assortment by way of Getty Photos

50. Slayer, South of Heaven (1988)

49. Macy Grey, The Id (2001)

48. Danzig, Danzig II: Lucifuge (1990)

47. System of a Down, Steal This Album! (2002)

What higher technique to discourage rampant web piracy than by imploring your followers to pocket your newest album? Admittedly, not an ideal technique to bolster the document firm backside line, however the clout!

46. Numerous Artists, Chef Help: The South Park Album (1998)

A soundtrack that’s purported to sound like a full live performance recording, the place Isaac Hayes performs as his animated alter ego, Chef. Ozzy Osbourne leaping on a monitor with DMX scored by an EDM duo named the Crystal Methodology is a few deeply 1998 shit.

45. ZZ High, La Futura (2012)

44. Mick Jagger, Wandering Spirit (1993)

Jagger’s lone solo album launched within the ’90s. The duet of Invoice Withers’s “Use Me” carried out with Lenny Kravitz is among the wildest stuff you’ll ever hear.

43. AC/DC, Ballbreaker (1995)

Are you able to imagine it took AC/DC 20 years and 12 albums earlier than they put out a document known as Ballbreaker? A large present of restraint from the Aussie/English rockers. Rubin first labored with AC/DC two years previous to this document on “Large Gun” for the Arnold Schwarzenegger movie The Final Motion Hero, and the band apparently favored the outcomes. Sadly, the Ballbreaker periods have been reportedly fraught. They started on the Report Plant in New York Metropolis, earlier than transferring west to Ocean Approach in L.A. after banging their heads in opposition to a wall attempting to get drummer Phil Rudd’s equipment to sound correct. Rubin and Malcolm Younger are additionally stated to have clashed over the album’s course, and the rhythm guitarist was certainly not completely happy in regards to the repeated takes that the producer requested. Ultimately, the outcomes communicate for themselves. Generally all you want is three chords, a Marshall stack, and a few very unsubtle innuendo to realize greatness.

42. Justin Timberlake, FutureSex/LoveSounds (2006)

Rubin’s large contribution to Timberlake’s second solo album is the molasses-slow “(One other Track) All Over Once more.” To assist encourage Timberlake, Rubin posed a query: “He stated, ‘For those who have been to write down a track for Donny Hathaway, what wouldn’t it sound like?” the pop singer recalled. “‘Then sing it and make it your individual.’” Timberlake thought of it, wrote lyrics, popped over to Neil Diamond’s studio, and laid it down. He positioned “(One other Track) All Over Once more” on the very finish of the document—the final phrase on FutureSex/LoveSounds.


41. LL Cool J, Strolling With a Panther (1989)

40. Joe Strummer & The Mescaleros, Streetcore (2003)

Joe Strummer died earlier than he may end Streetcore. He didn’t even get the prospect to put down vocals for the track “Midnight Jam.” Nonetheless, it stays a becoming, ultimate assertion from the onetime chief of the mighty Conflict. Songs like “Get Down Moses” and “Coma Woman” rank amongst his best.

39. Tom Petty, Echo (1999)

The interval via the late ’90s, simply after Petty launched Wildflowers, was maybe the darkest of his life, as his marriage ended and he started to clandestinely experiment with heroin. You possibly can hear Petty’s inside battle all throughout Echo. “Relying on You” alone will rip your guts out. Finally, Rubin interceded to attempt to get Petty assist. “He lastly handled it by going behind my again and telling my youngsters,” Petty informed biographer Warren Zanes. “I used to be pissed off for a very long time.” Echo was the ultimate album that Petty and Rubin collaborated on collectively.

1998 MTV VMA - After Party Hosted by Madonna

Photograph by Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic, Inc

38. Purple Scorching Chili Peppers, By the Approach (2002)

The Purple Scorching Chili Peppers’ eighth studio is their mellowest. Frusciante unfurls a number of gnarly solos, however the document is stacked with sweet-sounding ballads.

37. Sir Combine-A-Lot, Mack Daddy (1992)

Are you aware who the primary Seattle artist was to hit no. 1 on the Billboard Scorching 100? A number of hints:

It wasn’t Jimi Hendrix or Coronary heart.

It wasn’t Nirvana or Pearl Jam or Alice in Chains or Soundgarden.

It additionally wasn’t Dying Cab For Cutie or Macklemore.

It was Sir Combine-a-Lot, and it was for “Child Obtained Again.” It was on Mack Daddy, and it was superb.

36. Metallica, Dying Magnetic (2008)

Metallica had lots driving on the success of Dying Magnetic. Regardless of going double-platinum, their final album, St. Anger, was a extremely publicized essential flop. Mixed with the Napster debacle and the inner-strife captured in Some Variety Of Monster, Metallica felt stress to proper the ship. So, for the primary time since …And Justice For All in 1988, they labored with somebody apart from Bob Rock. Rubin informed them to assume again and attempt to recapture their mindset once they recorded Grasp of Puppets. He additionally pushed them to carry out collectively within the studio whereas laying down primary tracks. However maybe most significantly, he stayed out of their approach. “The beauty of working with Rick is he’s by no means round,” Kirk Hammett informed MTV. “Rick was there for a part of that course of—after we recorded drums and vocals—however the truth that we have been remoted in our studio, engaged on the songs ourselves, made a giant distinction, as a result of it stored our sound pure. We obtained extra Metallica that approach than we had beforehand with Bob Rock.”

35. Tom Petty, Songs and Music From “She’s the One” (1996)

A uncommon soundtrack that’s miles higher than its movie. It’s form of odd that Tom Petty wrote a soundtrack for a film named after a Springsteen minimize. Try “Hung Up and Overdue” to listen to a mini-Beatles reunion between Ringo Starr on drums and George Harrison on slide guitar.


34. Hassle, Hassle (1990)

Hassle is among the defining bands of the doom-metal motion. The Illinois-based band signed to American Data after three influential albums within the 1980s. The ensuing self-titled album feels like a meld of Sabbath Bloody Sabbath, Shout on the Satan, and Louder Than Love.

33. Slayer, Seasons within the Abyss (1990)

When Slayer went, “Dun—dun-dun-DUN! [impossibly fast guitar riffage]” throughout the opening to “Battle Ensemble” … I felt that shit.

Sean Diddy Combs Celebrates New Years Eve in St Barths

Photograph by Shareif Ziyadat/Getty Photos

32. The Avett Brothers, I And Love And You (2009)

Rubin has produced 5 albums for the Avett Brothers, together with 2019’s Nearer Than Collectively. But their first collaboration stays their greatest. James Taylor needs he’d written “Ten Thousand Phrases.”

31. Run-DMC, More durable Than Leather-based (1988)

I shouldn’t should inform you that “Run’s Home” and “Mary Mary” are classics. However I can inform you about More durable Than Leather-based, which was launched along with this album and stars Run-DMC, the Beastie Boys, and Slick Rick. It was written and directed by Rick Rubin, who additionally performs a prison named Vic Ferrante who murders Run-DMC’s pal Runny Ray. It’s lower than an hour-and-a-half lengthy and it’s obtainable on YouTube.

30. Danzig, Danzig III: How the Gods Kill (1992)

Many take into account this to be the very best Danzig album. I watched Glenn and the band carry out the complete factor a number of years again. “Soiled Black Summer season” dominated.

29. Johnny Money, Unchained (1996)

The one during which Johnny Money covers Soundgarden.

28. Geto Boys, The Geto Boys (1989)

Many couldn’t see previous the violent imagery on this remix album to listen to the excellence lurking beneath. That stated, rapping in precise element about necrophilia and violent, bloody dismemberment is admittedly … lots. One one who couldn’t recover from the content material was distributor David Geffen, who begged Rubin to not launch the document. Rubin refused. “I assumed the artwork was good,” he informed The New York Occasions. “As a fan, the Geto Boys have been thrilling in the identical approach {that a} horror film is perhaps thrilling.” The Geto Boys was in the end launched by Warner Bros. Data as an alternative. “Fuck Em,” proper?


27. Purple Scorching Chili Peppers, Stadium Arcadium (2006)

Some might say that 28 tracks are far too many to incorporate on a single album. They could argue that releasing a double CD’s value of fabric that runs greater than two hours is ridiculously self-indulgent. They may hearken to songs like “Moist Sand” or “Dying Of A Martian” and ask: Is that this actually essential? To these folks, I might say: It isn’t, it completely is, and hell sure!

26. Black Sabbath, 13 (2013)

Rubin tried to work with Black Sabbath in 2001, however the periods by no means moved previous the jamming stage. A dozen years later, the steel icons rejoined once more and tried to exit on a excessive word. It wasn’t a simple course of. Due to guitarist Tony Iommi’s most cancers analysis, the band recorded close to his U.Okay. dwelling fairly than the L.A. confines Rubin most well-liked. And as a result of authorized, monetary, and private elements, unique drummer Invoice Ward was not invited to take part. Rage In opposition to the Machine drummer Brad Wilk took his place. Regardless of the obstacles, the band proved that their chemistry had misplaced little efficiency. The temper remained sinister, the riffs punishing, and Ozzy’s voice as foreboding. The acoustic “Zeitgeist” is as mesmerizing as something from their heyday.

25. Shakira, Fijación Oral, Vol. 1 & 2 (2005)

Working with Shakira might seem to be a large left flip for Rubin, however as he defined to Zane Lowe, she’s actually a singer-songwriter working in a pop-star system. “On the time we obtained collectively she was basically … a rock musician,” he defined.

The Fairly Glorious

24. Brandi Carlile, Give Up the Ghost (2009)

“Caroline,” the duet with Elton John, rightfully will get quite a lot of the eye, however do me a favor: Cease studying proper now, crank up “Delight And Pleasure,” and inform me that’s not probably the most unimaginable voices you’ve ever heard.


23. The Cult, Electrical (1987)

Rubin in all probability ought to’ve been arduous at work modifying his footage for the Run-DMC movie More durable Than Leather-based and turning it right into a coherent movie, however he as an alternative produced an album with these British arduous rockers. This was in all probability a clever alternative. The Cult deliberate to work with Steve Brown, who helped craft their blockbuster second album, Love. After engaged on a dozen totally different tracks at Manor Studio in Oxfordshire nevertheless, they known as Rubin for assist. The Reducer went to work, stripping down Billy Duffy’s rhythm guitar components and sticking Ian Astbury’s vocals on the very entrance. Each track looks like a punch to the jaw; none so greater than “Love Removing Machine.”

22. Jay-Z, The Black Album (2003)

Rubin produced just one track on Jay-Z’s “retirement album,” however good god, what a track! The inspiration behind “99 Issues” got here from Chris Rock, who steered to Rubin that Jay may make one thing utilizing a line from a equally named Ice-T monitor as inspiration: “I obtained 99 issues however a bitch ain’t one.” Hov agreed, and after Rubin and Co. put collectively a bombastic array of 808s drums paying homage to the early Def Jam aesthetic, he let free a strong narrative in regards to the limits of the regulation that professors would sooner or later use in school.

21. The Black Crowes, Shake Your Cash Maker (1990)

Rubin didn’t do a lot studio work to earn his producer credit score on right here. Virtually the entire musical decision-making and manufacturing was dealt with by George Drakoulias. However because the man signing the checks at Def American, he made one essential level. He informed the band, who at that time have been known as Mr. Crowe’s Backyard, they wanted a brand new title. He pitched a number of Southern-fried monikers that the band hated, a lot in order that Chris Robinson reportedly threatened to kick the producer’s ass. Finally, they settled on the Black Crowes. The debut went triple-platinum and the band offered one other 30 million albums all through their tumultuous profession.

20. Dixie Chicks, Taking the Lengthy Approach (2006)

This was the primary album the Dixie Chicks dropped after Natalie Maines informed a crowd at a present in London, on the eve of the Iraq Battle, that she was “ashamed that the president of the USA was from Texas.” The Chicks responded to the furor from nation music followers by telling the world that they have been “Not Able to Make Good.” Taking the Lengthy Approach ultimately earned the trio an Album of the Yr and Nation Album of the Yr Grammy in 2007, bringing their complete Grammy haul as much as 13. Toby Keith has but to win one.

19. Public Enemy, Yo! Bum Rush the Present (1987)

Rubin was one of many earliest followers of Chuck D. He liked the data Chuck put out within the early ’80s underneath the title Spectrum Metropolis, and had a Publish-It word taped to his telephone with the MC’s quantity, so that each time he was close by, he’d bear in mind to present him a name and attempt to signal him to Def Jam. Chuck constantly begged off. Rubin endured, particularly as soon as DMC performed him an early, minute-long minimize of “Public Enemy No. 1.” After months, Chuck D relented. He’d signal with Def Jam, however not as a solo artist—provided that he may deliver the entire crew, hip-hop’s model of the Conflict. The selection was a no brainer for Rubin, an enormous Conflict fan. Public Enemy turned probably the most pro-Black teams on the planet, and Yo! Bum Rush the Present turned one of many fastest-selling hip-hop albums of the 1980s.


18. Danzig, Danzig (1998)

There are an astounding variety of songs written about moms: “Pricey Mama” by Tupac, “A Track for Mama” by Boyz II Males, “Julia,” by the Beatles, “Hey Mama,” by Kanye West to call only a few. However do any of them rock tougher than “Mom” by Danzig?

“Twist of Cain” additionally knocks.

17. Johnny Money, American Recordings (1994)

The one during which Johnny Money covers Glenn Danzig.

16. System of a Down, System of a Down (1998)

This is among the nice introductions within the historical past of other steel. Only a full-blown gothic punch to the photo voltaic plexus.

15. Kanye West, The Lifetime of Pablo (2016)

Songs on The Lifetime of Pablo ranked:

20. “Freestyle 4”
19. “Frank’s Monitor”
18. “Siiiiiiiiilver Surffffeeeeer Intermission”
17. “Low Lights”
16. “Suggestions”
15. “I Love Kanye”
14. “Saint Pablo”
13. “Details (Charlie Warmth Model)
12. “Highlights”
11. “Well-known”
10. “FML”
9. “30 Hours”
8. “Waves”
7. “Pt. 2”
6. “Actual Pals”
5. “Wolves”
4. “No Extra Events In LA”
3. “Father Stretch My Arms Pt. 1”
2. “Fade”
1. “Ultralight Beam”


14. Purple Scorching Chili Peppers, Californication (1999)

Frusicante’s again, child! After leaving the band following Blood Sugar Intercourse Magik in 1991, the guitarist was invited again after he entered rehab and kicked his addictions to heroin, cocaine, and alcohol. Frusciante took up yoga, abstained from intercourse, and adopted a more healthy way of life whereas composing a few of his greatest work. The group had another person in thoughts to provide Californication earlier than the periods started: David Bowie. Sadly for the Peppers—or fortuitously, all issues thought of—the Skinny White Duke was busy, and so they determined to go together with their bearded sage once more.

13. Lucinda Williams, Automotive Wheels on a Gravel Highway (1998)

Though Rubin didn’t produce Automotive Wheels on a Gravel Highway, he signed Williams to his label American Recordings and was instrumental in presenting this excellent assortment to the world. Williams labored with many producers on this document, starting along with her longtime collaborator Gurf Morlix. Then Steve Earle took over, earlier than ceding the obligations to the E Avenue Band’s resident professor, Roy Bittan. When the time got here to combine the album nevertheless, Rubin turned concerned. Rubin and engineer Jim Scott honed its sound to its most simple components, giving room for Williams to shine as she poured her coronary heart out.

12. Audioslave, Audioslave (2002)

After Rage In opposition to the Machine disbanded in 2000, its three instrumentalists gathered at Rubin’s home to plot their subsequent steps. Rubin had produced the band’s final album, Renegades, and was keen to assist information their subsequent challenge. Tom Morello, Brad Wilk, and Timothy Commerford knew they needed to maintain making music collectively, however they didn’t know what their future appeared like. That’s when their producer threw on Soundgarden’s lacerating Badmotorfinger minimize “Slaves & Bulldozers.” As Chris Cornell’s stratospheric voice stuffed the room, the way in which ahead out of the blue turned clear. The following self-titled album is an action-packed assortment of hovering ballads and lacerating hard-rock anthems. Cornell’s show-stopping screams on “Cochise,” “Shadow on the Solar,” and “Like a Stone” collided with Morello’s stultifying guitar acrobatics. Critics largely hated Audioslave when it first debuted—Pitchfork afforded it a lowly rating of 1.7 out of 10— however audiences liked the document. It didn’t take lengthy to show triple platinum.

11. LL Cool J, Radio (1985)

In 1984, a 16-year-old from Lengthy Island named James Todd Smith heard a brand new 12-inch single titled “It’s Yours” by an artist named T La Rock. He liked what he heard, and he seen the producer’s telephone quantity was listed on the again. {The teenager}, who would sooner or later turn out to be LL Cool J, known as incessantly attempting to get the person on the opposite finish to present him an opportunity, till lastly, due to some prodding from Rubin’s pal Advert-Rock, Rubin threw on the child’s demo tape. He favored what he heard and took it to his enterprise companion Russell Simmons, who discovered the rhymes unremarkable. However Rubin felt he was onto one thing. “He was significantly better than the rest I heard,” Rubin recalled in 2007. “And he nonetheless is. ‘I Want a Beat,’ LL’s first single, was the true start of Def Jam.” That single was only the start. The album the pair subsequently produced—brimming with braggadocious swagger, youthful exuberance, and charisma—modified every thing. It offered 500,000 copies in its first 5 months and produced era-defining singles like “I Can’t Reside With out My Radio,” “I Can Give You Extra,” and “Rock the Bells.” Def Jam turned an empire. LL Cool J turned a celebrity. And Rubin turned probably the most in-demand tastemakers on earth.

Def Jam Party at B Bar

Photograph by KMazur/WireImage

The Classics

10. System of a Down, Toxicity (2001)

There simply aren’t any data that sound fairly like Toxicity. It’s a bracing, 44-minute-long assault in your ears and thoughts; a 14-track assortment that melds collectively components of steel, classical, jazz, prog, people, the Armenia heritage, and the American situation. “The fantastic thing about System of a Down is that it’s so bizarre and so groovy however arduous as fuck,” Rubin defined. Toxicity was launched on September 4, 2001, and was the no. 1 album when the Twin Towers fell. Songs like “Aerials,” “Chop Suey!” and the title monitor will without end be linked to that tragic chapter.


9. Beastie Boys, Licensed to Sick (1986)

A number of vital statistics about Licensed To Sick:

  • It’s the primary and solely album Rick Rubin produced with the Beastie Boys.
  • It was the primary hip-hop album to hit no. 1.
  • Seven of the album’s 13 tracks have been launched as singles, however just one “(You Gotta) Struggle For Your Proper (To Celebration!)” hit the highest 10. It stays the group’s highest-charting single.
  • The album accommodates three totally different Led Zeppelin samples, two writing credit for Run and DMC, and one Kerry King guitar solo.
  • Ten million copies offered and counting.

8. Purple Scorching Chili Peppers, Blood Sugar Intercourse Magik (1991)

Rubin and Chili Peppers’ first collaboration stays their greatest. On Blood Sugar Intercourse Magik, Rubin sought to assist the band unlock their inside Seashore Boys. He put them up in a mansion, constructed a recording studio, and lent them his private chef. For a month, they lived, labored, painted, and recorded within the seemingly haunted area, producing a few of the most affecting materials of their lives. Although Rubin’s try and push Anthony Kiedis to write down a track about ladies and vehicles like “The Greeting Track” didn’t at all times measure as much as Brian Wilson’s lofty bar of excellence, the singer discovered an excessive amount of success writing about his private experiences on “Breaking The Woman” and “Below the Bridge.” Truly, “Below the Bridge” in all probability wouldn’t exist if not for Rubin randomly flipping via one in all Kiedis’s notebooks sooner or later and stumbling on the straightforward, handwritten poem. Kiedis nervous that it will sound too sluggish, too melodic, and too dramatic for the band. However Rubin pushed. John Frusciante helped him work out a pleasant chord development, and the remaining is historical past.


7. Adele, 21 (2011)

The perfect-selling album of the 21st century, and it’s not even shut. Thirty-one million copies offered worldwide. What else is there to say?

6. Slayer, Reign in Blood (1986)

Any record of the best heavy steel albums of all time that doesn’t embody Slayer’s third document within the high 5 needs to be ignored. The Huntington Park foursome wanted solely 28 minutes to make their case, and so they did so in superbly aggressive, breakneck pace whereas altering the trajectory of the style. “It’s as in the event that they have been talking a unique musical language than the remainder of the world,” Rubin stated.


5. Public Enemy, It Takes a Nation of Tens of millions to Maintain Us Again (1988)

Generally, the mark of an ideal producer is recognizing nice expertise and easily getting out of the way in which. Rubin was a Public Enemy fan at first and he noticed his function as government producer as extra of an adviser one, permitting Chuck D, Terminator X, Professor Griff, the S1W’s, and the Bomb Squad the liberty to create. “I actually trusted them to make the music that they needed to make, and the way in which The Bomb Squad labored with them … they created their complete personal world of music,” he stated in 2013. Whereas the group’s debut Yo! Bum Rush The Present left its mark, It Takes a Nation of Tens of millions was a monumental, sonic assault of America and its tons of of years of systemic ills. It’s Marvin Gaye’s What’s Going On for a brand new era, however louder, and infinitely extra uncooked. On “Insurgent And not using a Pause,” Chuck D rapped, “They praised the music, this time they play the lyrics.” With anthems like “Don’t Imagine The Hype” and “Night time Of The Dwelling Baseheads” it was inconceivable to not hear.

4. Tom Petty, Wildflowers (1994)

Wildflowers is the results of probably the most unimaginable explosions of creativity from one in all America’s most constantly unimaginable songwriters. It sits like Mount Everest, towering ever-so-slightly above the Himalayas of Petty’s discography. Along with his marriage failing, Petty channeled his ache, and songs exploded out of him virtually as quick as he may commit them to tape. The album consists of unimaginable tunes like “Wake Up Time,” on which he thinks again to that cool highschool child he was and wonders, “What occurred?” “It’s Good To Be King” is a sprawling, virtually sardonic glimpse at what life is like on the high. On “Home In The Woods,” “Wildflowers,” and “To Discover A Good friend,” he yearns for a easy existence spent within the firm of somebody to like. Petty wrote a lot music for Wildflowers that a few of the greatest materials—“Mary Jane’s Final Dance,” as an illustration—weren’t on the ultimate tracklist. “He informed me Wildflowers scares him, as a result of he’s probably not certain why it’s nearly as good as it’s,” Rubin stated on the Damaged Report podcast. “It has this, like, haunted feeling for him.”


3. Kanye West, Yeezus (2013)

When Kanye West approached Rubin in 2013 to assist him full his sixth studio document, he introduced alongside a tough minimize that ran greater than three hours lengthy. And it nonetheless wasn’t completed. 5 songs didn’t even have vocals but, and the deadline to show it in was weeks away. In earlier years, on initiatives like My Lovely Darkish Twisted Fantasy and the Jay-Z collab Watch The Throne, West had embraced maximalism. Now, he was asking music’s most profitable reducer to assist tear it again. Rubin obtained out the shears, slashing each nonessential sonic aspect, till it turned a skeletal, 40-minute train in uncooked aggression and angst. A chief instance of the vitality Rubin introduced will be present in its finale, “Sure 2.” West’s unique imaginative and prescient was extra of a straight-ahead R&B monitor. Rubin heard the track and thought as an alternative in regards to the ’70s New York punk group Suicide. He pulled every thing out however the pattern and a distorted bassline over which Charlie Wilson soared throughout the refrain. It’s actually doable that West’s unique, bloated designs for Yeezus would’ve obtained its share of adulation, however via Rubin’s steering, it turned a serrated, minimalist masterpiece.


2. Run-DMC, Elevating Hell (1986)

At first there was rock, and it was good. However then, there was rap and it was additionally good! After which alongside got here Run-DMC and Rubin who thought, “Nicely, this one factor is sweet … and this different factor is sweet … what if we … put them collectively???”

Elevating Hell was just about full by the point Rubin steered they flip Aerosmith’s “Stroll This Approach” into a wholly new monitor. He nonetheless felt, nevertheless, that the album wanted one other aspect earlier than it was completed, and pushed Run and DMC to write down some lyrics for the track. After some persuasion from Jam Grasp Jay and Russell Simmons, they gave in. Steven Tyler and Joe Perry obtained an $8,000 verify, and the barrier between the 2 genres was obliterated. Alongside the way in which, Run-DMC additionally single-handedly made Adidas THE attire of alternative amongst America’s youth lengthy earlier than Kanye and laid down “It’s Difficult” and “You Be Illin’.” Elevating Hell turned the primary rap album to earn a platinum plaque. Between this album, Licensed To Sick, and Reign In Blood, 1986 stays the high-water mark of Rubin’s artistic life.


1. Johnny Money, American IV: The Man Comes Round (2002)

It’s tough to understand the nadir Johnny Money’s profession had reached earlier than Rubin got here alongside. Not a scorching commodity by the 1990s, the Man in Black was touring the on line casino circuit and taking part in to dwindling crowds. Money later stated in his autobiography that his label Mercury pressed solely 500 copies of 1991’s The Thriller of Life, which was an exaggeration, however not a giant one.

However in Money, Rubin noticed a chance to work with one in all music’s biggest voices. “What I got here to appreciate about that complete Johnny Money expertise was that he was an ideal storyteller,” the producer informed Genius in 2015. “The track didn’t matter—all that mattered have been the phrases.” Rubin understood that if the legendary character of “Johnny Money” have been saying these phrases, folks would really feel them.

Launched 10 months earlier than Money died, American IV: The Man Comes Round stays the right fruits of their artistic relationship. Listening to it might really feel like witnessing a person delivering his personal eulogy. From the opening monitor, “The Man Comes Round,” to the duets with Fiona Apple and Nick Cave, the acoustic rendition of Depeche Mode’s “Private Jesus” put collectively by John Frusciante, and Money’s mesmerizing tackle the mournful 9 Inch Nails ballad “Damage,” it’s a document brimming with unhappiness and knowledge.

Finally, there’s one guideline that led Rubin to work with Johnny Money within the twilight of his profession, and it’s the identical one which knowledgeable practically each alternative he made alongside his incomparable 35-year run within the music business. Whether or not it was the early Def Jam initiatives with the Beastie Boys and Run-DMC, the steel data he made with Danzig and Slayer, or the industrial pop initiatives and veteran rock data, the top objective was at all times the identical. “From the start, all I’ve ever cared about is issues being nice,” he as soon as stated. “The issues that may’t be an element are time, chart place, radio success, gross sales—none of these issues can get in the way in which of one thing being nice.”

Corbin Reiff is a music author primarily based in Seattle. His subsequent e book, Whole F*cking Godhead: The Biography of Chris Cornell, comes out in July.





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