Drew Dixon—the central figure in new documentary film “On the Record,” who served as the A&R executive for Def Jam Records in the 1990s—recounts in an interview with Ms. a specific time she challenged rap mogul and Def Jam co-founder Russell Simmons. He was debating whether to depict on an album cover a female rapper pointing a gun to her head or in her mouth.
“As we went around the room, the question became ‘in her mouth or at her head?’” Dixon recalls. “When it got to me, I was like, ‘How about neither?’ [Everyone] looked at me like I had three heads! One thing that I think is great about a female rapper is that she’s standing next to these male rappers, and she’s holding her own. Why should she be suicidal? She’s empowered!”