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For some it was a night to remember, for others it was a night of remembrance, as for me it was both. 

The “ISM” attached to this is “you can’t do it all, DO IT FIRST.” As a player who respects the “ism” and attempts to apply it instinctively to his life, I paused upon entering the venue where DEF JAM 25 was to be experienced, and immediately became overwhelmed with a raging calm as I reflected upon the journey that had led me here, the shattered dreams, the broken promises I experienced an onslaught of emotions that I am sure are familiar to all, especially to those who have either rapped, sang, told a joke or inspired with poetry as they danced to the rhythm of life. Suddenly I found myself surrounded with voices expressing such happiness and joy, and the voices all seem to be saying the same thing. “Oran Juice Jones, it has been so long, such a blessing to see you, OG, Welcome home!” As I made my adjustment, I connected faces to the voices and had to stand there shocked and amazed because standing there in front of me was the first time I got really high, the first time I got a passport, had traveled outside the United States, the first time I made more money than anyone I knew at the time, the first and only time I had three different women of different races in bed with me at the same time doin things I’d have to pray and ask forgiveness for today. 

The first R&B act signed to Def Jam. The First Def Jam R&B act to get nominated for a Grammy. The first and perhaps only act (Hip Hop or R&B) signed directly by Russell Simmons. The first act to bridge R&B and Hip Hop.

As I stood there a midst all that history, all those memories, I realized, for myself as well as a host of others, this is where it all began. For the duration of the evening as I bounced around the facility from one “Do you remember when” to the next, validating the things we had seen and done. Choices we made good or bad, and how sharing a dream with Rush, and becoming involved with the phenomenon of Def Jam for even an instant had changed shaped or molded the course of our lives forever. Def Jam has gone thru many changes since the time of its conception and yet for all its evolution it remains a standard for all those who strive to see the invisible in an effort to do the impossible, for those who play the life and live the game, for those who remain deeply rooted in the struggle of life and still dare to dream. Def Jam survives and with it a small piece of us all; and within it that reality lies the blessing of involvement , because of the blood, sweat and tears ingested by it, Def Jam has become an entity preparing to continue its journey. And even as I prepare to continue my own, I pause to savor the feelings of appreciation, regret and satisfaction, appreciation for being there in the beginning, regret for not being able to be there to do it all, satisfaction for being able to do it first. Keep it PIMPIN…..ISM

-Oran ‘Juice’ Jones