Foundation: Lyor Cohen, Russell Simmons & Kevin Liles (XXL Feature)


XXL just posted an excerpt from the November issue, out now.
Photography by Jonathan Mannion.

Simmons: I could talk about Lyor better than he can. He’s so nice, he might not say it. He was so in love with the music and worked so hard for the artists. He made a lot of money with Run-DMC and then lost all his money on Whodini. He came from a wealthy family but stayed in a raggedy hotel room… He worked for no money for a long time. He was Andre [Harrell’s] secretary. Andre shit on him.
Cohen: No, excuse me. I don’t know what you’re talking about.
Simmons: I do. Andre had Lyor working hard as hell.
Cohen: I didn’t even know Andre at that time.
Simmons: Andre was the vice president of Rush.
Cohen: Wrong.
Simmons: And Lyor came in.
Cohen: Wrong, wrong. You have a really bad memory… I’m going to tell you how Lyor Cohen was invented… When I came to New York, Run-DMC was at the airport, going to London…and no one had a passport… I went straight to the airport with my passport, and since they saw me from that show before, they were kind of gracious with me. There were some terrible things on that trip that I solved, and after that they asked me to be their road manager. That allowed me to get off the floor at that welfare hotel. It also gave me some sort of credibility, because I was sort of goofy—I didn’t look the part… That’s how that happened.
Are they always like this, Kevin?
Kevin Liles: Always. It’s usually worse.
You guys have this good-cop, bad-cop routine down pat.
Cohen: He is such a puss. He would never fire nobody.
Simmons: I’m a screamer.
Cohen: He has a reputation of never firing anyone and bludgeoning them to death and hoping that they would just understand.
Simmons: I have difficulty firing people. Sometimes Lyor would be the bad guy and I would be the nice guy. People would be like, “That nasty muthafucka Lyor.”
Do you have to be nasty to succeed at this job?
Cohen: Not at all. You don’t have to be nasty. We were never really nasty. We were determined to survive.
Simmons: Kevin Liles can fire people and be their best friend on their way out. “This is what the company has to have. I’m sorry, you’re not performing, and you have to go home.”
That’s not being mean. That’s being honest.

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70 Responses to “Foundation: Lyor Cohen, Russell Simmons & Kevin Liles (XXL Feature)”

  1. Beezy Says:

    Seth Gueko, de son vrai nom Nicolas Salvadori, né le 27 octobre 1980 (29 ans), est un rappeur français d’origine russo-sicilienne originaire de Saint-Ouen-l’Aumône, commune de l’agglomération de Cergy-Pontoise dans le Val-d’Oise.



  3. Plug Says:

    what yall know about eskay and nation having differnt aliases… and I know what they are…

  4. Geronimo P Says:

    The funniest shit was one of his last days here when he was trying to shit on niggas talking about they cant spell and just so happened to mispell something in his post. The rest of the day was spent purposefully mispelling words. Classic

  5. 456 Says:

    B-Ease = Phuque

    ^phuque was more emotional

  6. Beezy Says:

    2008 : Drive by en caravane

    ^this is my fav Seth Gueko album

  7. Ghost Writer Says:


  8. Chief Ali aka The One Who Stay Building Says:



    pass the dutch

    speaking of, question for you nahggers

    swishers or garcia y vegas?

  9. catch22 Says:

    misspell > mispell

  10. 456 Says:

    Once EngRep got bagged by his bosses (no Billz/Dblock) the nite shift died a quick painless death.

    ^the funniest niggas on nahright ever

    biggums killa

  11. KzA Says:


  12. Beezy Says:

    swishers or garcia y vegas?


  13. 456 Says:

    vanilla dutches, backwoods or cohibas.

  14. TheCo!!inB Says:

    the crazy shit about hoots is in the nigga comments on everything from a first person basis. The nigga has been in LA, Philly, New York, Detroit, Italy, Batswana, Miami, Iran, Africa, Atlanta…..just name it. The nigga is like Carmen San Diego.
    By far the funniest shit he said was when he told one of the commenters from Africa to go paint three stripes on his face and hunt a lion….I’m not lying when I say I was crying.

  15. Super Tone Says:

    i’m an East Coast niggas that lives in the south now but let me some up Soulja Boy for ya…homey is for the kids…. plain and simple…he ain’t about grown man shit…yet, nor is he a gangsta, pimp etc..he’s in a lane that ain’t been driven in since the late 80’s and early 90’s….he got no one in front of him, Kid & Play and all them dance type niggas behind him…he’s doing his thing, getting his money and needs to realize in no shape, form or fashion is he in the running as being one of the TOP 10 mc’s or the GOAT….PSA OVER….

  16. Super Tone Says:

    and dont let him represent the whole south cause he don’t…he just a small percentange of it…

  17. Super Tone Says:

    456 Says:

    October 29th, 2009 at 1:58 pm
    vanilla dutches, backwoods or cohibas

    cosign 456…a nigga once put me on to some Optimo cigars…yea the leafy shit..if you skilled enough that shit can do the trick….

  18. lea Says:

    Rey Says:
    October 29th, 2009 at 1:34 pm

    # Chief Ali aka The One Who Stay Building Says:
    October 29th, 2009 at 1:32 pm

    And the south continues losing.

    i was thinking of something to say being from the south, but cant think of anything accept dont let him be the model of what you consider “the South” him nor Ross. keep TI, Trick, Goodie, Outkast and that pedigree as a visual when you think of the south. as long as Soulja makes the money he makes no one in his camp is gonna tell him to smarten up

  19. lea Says:

    oh yeah LOVE Russell and Lyor!!!

  20. chronwell Says:

    @Super Tone,
    Your analysis on Soulja Boy is very truth-based and its very possible.
    There are different markets in American hiphop, like most SB supporters couldnt give a damn bout a Phonte or a Elzhi. As for Optimos they burn slow but I dont fuck wit em no more!

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