Krush Groove

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Krush Groove is a film is based on the early days of Def Jam Recordings and up-and-coming record producer Russell Simmons (renamed Russell Walker in the film), portrayed by Blair Underwood in his feature film debut. Russell Simmons was the film’s co-producer and story consultant; he also has a cameo role in the film as a club owner named Crocket.

Difference between the movie & film.

Krush Groove is based on the inception of the Def Jam Recordings label and the hardships that artists Run-D.M.C. and Russell Simmons faced to become successful. Simmons began his career trying to get his company Rush Management up and running. However, in the movie, he is shown as already being teamed up with producer Rick Rubin to form Def Jam, referred to as Krush Groove records in the film. The label was originally started by Rick Rubin back in 1984 in his college dorm at New York University. The movie starts off with Run-D.M.C. and Kurtis Blow, known as the King of Rap, as two of the first artists to sign with the label, with both Kurtis Blow and Run-D.M.C. as both artist and song producers-writers.

The beginning of the movie opens with Run-D.M.C. in the studio performing “King of Rock” for Russell, Rick, and Kurtis Blow. However, the group was not always involved in the Def Jam scene as shown in the movie, and Rick Rubin was not the producer of “King of Rock.” Run and D had to persuade both Russell and their original producer and bass player, Larry Smith, to give them a chance to record a demo. With the lyrics that Larry Smith had once bought off of Run for $100, the group’s first demo, “It’s Like That,” was created.

In the movie, the group also performs its track “My Adidas” from the album Raising Hell, which was created later after the success of the label, “Can You Rock it Like This”, and “You’re Blind”. Run-D.M.C. was the first known hip hop act to produce cohesive, fully realized albums.  With its new style in music, Run-D.M.C. was said to have created a new era of music, an era, which according to them, would not have been created without Larry Smith. Larry Smith was the producer of Run-D.M.C.’s first two albums, which were falsely credited to Rick Rubin, who produced the group’s third album, Raising Hell. However, in the movie, Larry Smith’s role is not portrayed at all.

Later on, the team was joined by its first popular teen sensation, LL Cool J, who plays a very small role in the movie at the age of 17. Playing himself, LL Cool J, is discovered through his piece “I Can’t Live without My Radio,” which is performed at an audition in front of Russell, Kurtis Blow, and Rick in the latter’s apartment. In reality, LL Cool J was discovered in Rick’s apartment but not through an audition. While going through a box of demos, Beastie Boy Ad-Rock stumbled across LL’s demo tape. With this, he produced a beat and co-wrote “I Need a Beat” with LL and Rick, which launched both of their careers, which allowed the Def Jam label to take off. The song “I Can’t Live without My Radio” was conveniently made for the movie as a way for LL Cool J to star in it.  However, this song was also one of the hit songs on the album Radio, which was the title of LL’s first debut album, which was released November 18, 1985.

Other artists that were a part of the Rush Management roster but did not have a major role in the film included Beastie Boys, Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde, and Whodini. Characters that were not part of Rush Management but greatly contributed to this new era were the Fat Boys, Sheila E, and New Edition. In the movie, there is a particular focus on Sheila E. and the Fat Boys that outshines the small amount of attention focused on New Edition.

The Fat Boys were the first group to show case a human beat box while rhyming. In the movie, the group originally referred to itself as the Disco Three. It was not until a scene in an Italian Buffet, where the three boys took the phrase all you can eat to the next level by eating everything. When the grouped realized that it was really fat, it decided to give themselves the name Fat Boys. In reality, the name Fat Boys was suggested by the group’s manager when he received a bill of $350 hotel bill for extra breakfast ordered by the boys on their European tour. As portrayed in the movie, the group was discovered through the Coca-Cola and Tin Pan Apple hip hop contest at Radio City Music Hall, where the trio won the grand prize—a recording contract—but had entered the contest to win the second-place prize, a stereo set. The group perform its songs “Don’t You Dog Me,” “All You Can Eat,” “Fat Boys,” and “Pump it Up.”

Throughout the movie, Sheila E. and Russell are romantically involved, which discouraged Run, who was always interested in her. In reality, Run did not like the concept of being disloyal to his brother, and the romance between Russell and Sheila was made up. Sheila E. made it into the film simply because they wanted a love interest, like in most films. . Sheila plays herself, a drummer and percussionist, in which she performs her songs “Holly Rock” and “Love Bizarre”. In addition, all the money issues that Russell faced in funding the label by borrowing from loan sharks and friends is also false.

The movie was not made the way the artists desired, but with all the talent of that time and most of the members of the Def Jam and Rush Management family, the purpose of the movie, according to Russell Simmons, was to showcase the array of young talent emerging from New York’s Black music scene and depict its vibrancy.

Krush Groove Soundtrack:

  1. Chaka Khan—”(Krush Groove) Can’t Stop The Street” (5:10)
  2. LL Cool J—”I Can’t Live Without My Radio” (short version) (4:25)
  3. Kurtis Blow—”If I Ruled the World” (6:19)
  4. Fat Boys—”All You Can Eat” (3:27)
  5. Debbie Harry—”Feel the Spin” (4:01)
  6. Sheila E.—”Holly Rock” (4:57)
  7. Beastie Boys—”She’s on It” (3:32)
  8. Gap Band—”Love Triangle” (4:47)
  9. Force MD’s—”Tender Love” (3:55)
  10. Krush Groove All-Stars (Run-D.M.C., Sheila E., Kurtis Blow, Fat Boys)—”Krush Groovin'” (5:05)