News: Lyor Cohen Pokes Fun At Diddy & Suge Knight's Labels At Hip Hop Honors 2009

Friday, Sep 25, 2009 5:10PM

Written by Cyrus Langhorne

Former Def Jam President Lyor Cohen took a slight jab at Diddy and Suge Knight in his Hip Hop Honors 2009 interview which landed online this week.

Cohen is seen discussing Def Jam's knack for serving its artists' needs while downplaying the abilities of Puff's Bad Boy Records and Knight's ex-label, Death Row.

"When I was signing one rapper after the next, I was so desperate that I kept flaring my hands and dying faster and I asked, 'How am I going to survive?' it was just a logo, it was there in front of me the whole time, it brought the company together," Cohen explained. "And I said to [my staff], 'I want you think about it like this. We wanna be the Aamco of this. Artists, labels, they come in for a transmission job. We're gonna get underneath the car, we're gonna have our work suit on, drop the transmission and get them out happy and service them. Now, you think Death Row with their big swollen muscles can squeeze underneath that car? Or you think that Bad Boy with their shiny Versace suits are gonna rescue this vehicle? ...From now on, everything you do, you do it for the logo." (Rap Radar)

Lyor, now an executive at Warner Music Group, was reportedly a deciding factor in Jay-Z's decision to release his number one album, Blueprint 3, through the company.

"Jay knows Lyor and Kevin [Liles] from back when they all worked together at Def Jam, and he obviously wants to work something out with his friends," says our insider. "He wants to get the dream team back together. There have been a few whiffs of a reunion in the past, but only now - and very privately - is something finally starting to happen...This is big in hip hop. These are three of the most powerful men in music, who might be working together, and there's no question the success they'll have as a team will be huge." (New York Daily News)

Puff recently spoke on his ability to continue making hit singles and keep Bad Boy relevant for over a decade.

"With me and Jay, you gonna have to get down or lay down anyway," Diddy said in an interview. "There's other rules to this game that you gonna have to abide by. At the end of the day, we understand. We understand the importance of telling the truth. If you're just getting into the game, you're probably telling a lie anyway because you're telling somebody else's game. If we still here, we're still here because we're telling the truth. Number two, we have relationships, and number three, we still know how to make hit records. That's what this thing is about. You could be five years old, 70 years old -- you make a hit record, it's gonna stand the test of time. It's something the game has to get used to." (MTV)

Cohen is widely known for his Def Jam accomplishments in the late 1990's.

As co-president of the newly formed Island/Def Jam label, Cohen assembled the "99 Hard Knock Life" rap road show, a production that earned $11 million from 37 performances and ranked as the most successful rap road show ever produced. He first announced the Southern California Hard Knock tour in January of 1999, with the event scheduled to start the following month. The inviting song bill included some of the top stars of rap, including Method Man, Redman, and DJ Clue. Historically rap music tours had a tradition of poor organization, and other problems. Cohen, with his high sense of organization, oversaw every detail of the Hard Knock tour. The result was a successful program that attracted audiences not only from the inner city echelons, but also from among the estimated 70 percent of rap music consumers other than back street denizens, including many who hailed from the upper middle class suburbs. (Musician Guide)

Check out a portion of Lyor Cohen speaking on Diddy & Suge Knight's labels below:

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