Despite recent criticism over his performance, Rick Rubin is still, as far as we know, the co-head of Columbia Records. For how much longer this will be the case, we do not know. But at least he's taking a rare break from his busy schedule of producing hit albums for other labels to work with an artist signed to his own company!
The act in question would be Clipse, whose next album, Til the Casket Drops, is due for a late-summer release. Rubin has produced one track for the duo so far, and is planning on doing a couple more in the next few weeks.
The bearded one working with Clipse is notable for a few reasons: First, because hip-hop productions from the Def Jam founder have been extremely rare since the late eighties (it's pretty much just been "99 Problems," a one-off Nike-promo single, and, uh, a track on Crunk Juice). Second, because Clipse's deal with Columbia is a 50-50 profit-sharing one — and because the group's critically beloved 2008 album Hell Hath No Fury sold about thirteen copies — he's definitely doing it more for love than to make money (for either him or the label he runs). And third, because it's given us this incredible photo.
So is this Rubin's attempt to get out of the dog house? Or, since he's reportedly never in the office, was he just unaware that Clipse is signed to Columbia?