Russell Walker (Blair Underwood) has started a new hip-hop and rap label called Krush Groove, which features a stellar list of acts that includes Kurtis Blow and Run-D.M.C. However, Walker doesn't have sufficient money to keep up the label, especially after Run-D.M.C. scores a big single. As he struggles to fund the label, more and more rap groups, like the Beastie Boys and LL Cool J, emerge in the New York City hip-hop scene. The film is based on the beginning of Def Jam Records.