In 1984, Rick Rubin released “It’s Yours” 12-inch single (Cat. PT-104), which was the very first release on Def Jam Recordings. Although some might argue that LL Cool J’s “I Need a Beat” 12-inch single was the first, this is not exactly true. The “It’s Yours” recording was something that Rick Rubin put out a few months before joining forces with Russell Simmons. The song was the first single to feature a Def Jam logo, but it was released through producer Arthur Baker’s independent label Partytime, which was the hip hop division of his dance music label Streetwise Records. The recording was never part of Def Jam’s collection of master recordings.
In a 1996 interview with The New York Times, Def Jam co-founder Russell Simmons commented about the effect T La Rock and “It’s Yours” had on the early hip hop scene:
“ [“It’s Yours”] was big; big in the underground. T [La Rock] started the trend and a new direction in hip-hop. He used 40-letter words. He created a special poetry. LL Cool J was the second release on the label. He borrowed ideas and attitude from T. LL would agree.”
The influence of T La Rock’s “It’s Yours” is monumental. The song was sampled by countless artists, including hip-hop group Public Enemy in “Louder than a Bomb” from its 1988 release It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back; Nas in “The World is Yours” from his seminal 1994 album Illmatic; by many sample-based house-music tracks by Todd Terry. The song was later in the soundtrack of the video game Grand Theft Auto IV, on the old school hip hop radio station the Classics 104.1. It was also used by the Beastie Boys on its song “Paul Revere” off the famous 1986 album Licensed to Ill, an album also produced by Rick Rubin and released on Def Jam Recordings. The Wu-Tang Clan did not sample T La Rock in their track “It’s Yourz” on its classic album Wu-Tang Forever, but the chorus of that song clearly emulated him. Southern emcee Mystikal did a remake of “It’s Yours” on his 1997 album Unpredictable. The song sampled the original drums and had a similar hook, but it had a southern twist to it as it was titled “It Yearns.”
On the strength of “It’s Yours,” T La Rock was signed by Fresh/Sleeping Bag Records and released two albums: Lyrical King (From the Boogie Down Bronx in 1987, and On a Warpath in 1989. Lyrical King was produced by T La Rock, Kurtis Mantronik, and DJ Louie Lou (La Rock’s original DJ), while Todd Terry produced On a Warpath.