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Lyor Cohen

Most Popular
3, 1959
New York City, NY
Birth Sign
3, 1959 (age 59)
New York City, NY


Music executive known for having led the iconic Def Jam Recordings studio.

Before Fame

In 1981, he graduated from the University of Miami (Florida) with a degree in global marketing and finance. He followed this with a short stint working as a finance officer for Bank Leumi in the Beverly Hills office.


He began his career in the music business as an associate of rapper and producer Russell Simmons, working at his company, Rush Productions. He began running Def Jam day-to-day in 1989, and eventually brokered a deal to have it become independent of Sony Music Productions in 1994. This new era saw him introduce influential artists to the mainstream hip-hop community. They include DMX, Ludacris, and Kanye West.

Family Life

He was born in New York City to Israeli immigrants. They eventually moved to Los Angeles, where he grew up.

Associated With

He considers rapper and entrepreneur Jay Z to be a close personal friend.