The gravity of Def Jam's influence cannot be overstated. To wit:
"Def Jam meant to the music industry as much as Stax, Atlantic and Motown meant to their respective music," said rapper Chuck D, whose group Public Enemy is one of the most famous to appear on the label. "It started from the same humble beginnings that all of those other companies started, very small, but very much passionate about the music."
"I think Def Jam has done a whole lot for hip-hop, for music in general. It's just given us a face of hip-hop for us to want to become a part of something," rapper Snoop Dogg said. "Even the rappers from the west[ern U.S.] wanted to be a part of Def Jam. Def Jam was like the Mecca of hip-hop."
"Def Jam is the Motown Records of hip-hop, and that is without question," said writer and pop culture expert Kevin Powell. "You really can't talk about a significant chapter in hip-hop history over the last 25 years without talking about Def Jam."
Speaking during the 2009 VH1 Hip Hop Honors, Island Def Jam Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Antonio "L.A." Reid said he believes that it will continue to live on for years to come. "When Def Jam was founded, it was founded upon an amazing idea," he said. "And it's an amazing idea that's bigger than all of its founders, bigger than all of its presidents, bigger than all of its chairmen and bigger than all of its artists. My guess is that it will be around a lot longer than any of us."