Russell Simmons is well known to young people as Uncle Rush, hip-hop’s pioneering godfather. His Def Jam label and Rush management company has brought the world stars like Public Enemy, LL Cool J and The Beastie Boys. His brother hip-hop pioneer Run of Run DMC turned reality star Rev. Run, has for years tweeted daily wisdom to his fans via his Twitter feed.
His brother is in the wisdom business as well. Russell is a longtime yoga aficionado who also shares his meditation expertise. His latest book Success Through Stillness and Meditation is out now. The Tom Joyner Morning Show caught up with Russell to ask him about the book, his success and the current state of hip-hop.
On Meditation: I’ve been meditating for 20 years and I’ve written a few books on happiness. They’ve been bestsellers. Every place I go people ask e about the chapter on meditation. I’m also on the board of the David List foundation and we’ve given 20,000 kids meditation. You can’t get no money in the future. Only in the present. As long as you’re thoughtful and awake and giving then you can be a good getter. A good giver is a good getter. And you have to be thoughtful awake and clear. You want an expansive mindset. Meditation gives you greater brain functionality. It gives you an awareness. Tom, you played ball back in the day. You know what it’s like to be in an expansive mindset because you’re in the zone.
On Which Current Rap Artist Could Most Use Meditation: I got a tweet from Justin Bieber to ask him to meditate. Khloe Kardashian isn’t a rapper, but she tweeted that she was excited about my book, that it was changing her life. Jay-Z is a rapper. All artists know how to look inside. All artists have to look inside. The noise on the outside separates them from their creativity. So you have to go inside, to be original, to be creative. To have a happy moment – when you see something beautiful and the world stops – this is the kind of moving meditation that you want to be in.
On Whether Meditation Is Just Too Hard For People to Embrace: My book is very simple. My daughter who’s 11 has been meditating for three years – 20 minutes every morning. I asked her for a report on my book and my daughter said ‘Daddy your book is remedial at best.’ That was before I got a call from Oprah who said my book was great. I spent my time taking Scripture and simplifying it. Super rich is a state of needing nothing. You want to operate from abundance.
On Today’s Rap Lyrics: J. Cole talks about the prison industrial complex. There’s all kind of subject matter coming out of rap. We would like for the collective to have a different consciousness. But you can’t fault the poets for exuding what we think. In other words, there’s sexual content in rap because a man thinks about sex every 11 seconds. The artists should express what the people are thinking. That’s his or her job. The artists who meditate – Jay-Z he talks about it. I sent Diddy a meditation teacher – he meditates.
On Taking the Time to Meditate and It’s Overall Value: I meditate twice a day for 20 minutes and I do yoga. I run several companies and charities. I’m out there hustlin’ every day but I take my time. They said if you don’t have 20 minutes to meditate you need two hours. For thousands of years they taught it and we have to give it to our students. I want to go to Chicago and get with Rahm Emanual and the school system and the Chancellor and put meditation in those schools. We have two many examples where we’ve had huge reductions in violence, greater expansion in mindsets among the kids who have greater learning capability. It’s important to put quiet time in the schools.
(Photo: PR Photos)