Def Jam Records was founded in Weinstein Hall, the NYU dorm I lived in '94, '95 and '96 during my freshman and sophomore years in college. We knew the Beastie Boys had lived there in the '80s but I didn't then know of this connection to Rick Rubin (pictured; current Columbia Records co-head and subject of the Times Mag piece on the future of major record labels).
"In 1983, while he was attending N.Y.U., he borrowed $5,000 from his parents and recorded "It's Yours" by T La Rock and Jazzy Jay, a 12-inch single that became a local dance hit. Rubin then invented a label, calling his company Def Jam ("Def" meaning great, and "Jam" meaning music), and ran the business out of his dorm room. "The clerk at the front desk handled all the shipping," Rubin recalled.
A visual of the old haunt on University Place a few steps northeast of Washington Square Park: