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Russell Simmons is making sure our pioneers are not forgotten. The Hip-Hop mogul is developing a film about Def Jam Records’ first artist T La Rock.

In partnership with 20th Century Fox, Rush has announced that he has picked up the rights to Rock’s story as captured in Joshua Bearman’s “The Man Who Forgot He Was A Rap Legend” GQ article.

The lengthy feature details his rise to stardom during Rap’s early stages with his hit single “It’s Yours” only to be put in a coma after a near fatal beating in 1994. Rock rehabilitated in the most unlikely fashion via the Haym Salomon Home for Nursing & Rehabilitation, a Jewish facility.

Simmons commented on the project speaking on its’ widespread appeal. “T La Rock has always been an inspiration to me and many in the hip hop community,” Simmons told the Hollywood Reporter “This is a man who was literally beaten to within an inch of his life at the height of his fame. How he regained his memory and recovered from his coma while being cared for and surrounded by the most unlikely group of therapists and friends is the kind of hope-filled and hopeful true story that will appeal to everyone, whether you love rap music or not.”

Acclaimed filmmaker Michael Medavoy of Phoenix Pictures (Black Swan, Shutter Island) is also on board to produce the film. “Through the help and kindness of these people, and the persistence of his mother visiting every day to try and restore his lost memories, he was able to have the rare chance to take stock of his life and determine a different path as he went out into the world” he explained.

“It’s Yours” influence has touched almost every generation of Hip-Hop. It has been sampled by the likes of The Beastie Boys (“Paul Revere”), Public Enemy (“Louder Than A Bomb”), Nas (“The World Is Yours”) and inspired several remakes including Wu-Tang Clan’s “Its Yourz” and Mystikal’s “It Yearns.” The classic has also been featured on Grand Theft Auto IV.

Thankfully T La Rock has since fully recovered and is now back to performing. You can listen to “It’s Yours” below.

Photo: David Corio/Redferns/Getty

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