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Def Jam Recordings is an American record label concentrated predominantly on hip hop and urban music, possessed by Universal Music Group. In the UK, the label takes on the name Def Jam UK and is operated through Virgin EMI Records, while in Japan, it is known as Def Jam Japan, operating through Universal Music Japan. The label distributes releases of various record labels, including Kanye West's GOOD Music, YG, Dave East, Jeezy, Jeremih, Q-Tip, Valee, Pusha T, Vince Staples, Fabolous, Designer, and Jhené Aiko. and Listen Up Forever Records, headed by producer, Ronny J. Current artists incorporate Justin Bieber, Logic, Big Sean, Kanye West, Nas, 2 Chainz, Teyana Taylor,
Def Jam: Company history
Establishing and CBS Records Group era (1983– 1994)
Def Jam was helped to establish by Rick Rubin in his dormitory in Weinstein Hall at New York University and its first release was solitary by his punk-rock group Hose. Russell Simmons joined Rubin shortly after they were introduced to each other, according to one story, by Vincent Gallo. Def Jam: Another refers to DJ Jazzy Jay as their connector. Rubin has said he met Simmons on the TV show Graffiti Rock and recognized him then as "the face of hip hop": "He was five years older than me, and he was already established in the music business. And I had no experience whatsoever."Def Jam: The first single released with the Def Jam Recordings logo was T La Rock and Jazzy Jay's "It's yours." The first releases with Def Jam Recordings catalog numbers were LL Cool J's "I Need a Beat" and the Beastie Boys' "Rock Hard," both in 1984. The singles sold well, eventually leading to a distribution deal with CBS Records through Columbia Records the next year.
This created a short-lived subsidiary label called OBR Records, short for Original Black Recordings, which catered toward R&B artists—the first artist signed to that imprint was Oran "Juice" Jones, who delighted in progress with his hit single "The Rain". A couple of years later, Russell Simmons and Lyor Cohen started an umbrella label called Rush Associated Labels to handle Def Jam and its numerous spin-off labels. RAL became the home to Nice and Smooth and EPMD after both acts were acquired because of the collapsing of their former label Sleeping Bag Records. Def Jam: Other acts under the RAL umbrella included Redman, Onyx, Flatlinerz, Domino, Warren G, and Jayo Felony. Def Jam also signed its first and just thrash metal band, Slayer, in 1986, and the band's third and fourth albums were the main two Def Jam releases to be distributed through Geffen Records under Warner Bros. Records instead of Columbia/CBS. Def Jam A&R: As the decade drew to a nearby, the label signed Public Enemy, whose controversial lyrical substance garnered the company both critical acclaim and disdain. Lyor Cohen became president of Def Jam/RAL in 1988, after winning a power struggle with Rubin, who might shortly thereafter leave the company to form Def American Recordings. Rubin would take Slayer with him to Def American in its initial stages.
Def Jam: PolyGram era (1994– 1998)
By 1992, in spite of recent multi-platinum selling releases from Public Enemy, and EPMD, Def Jam ran into severe financial troubles and was faced with collapsing. However, in 1994, PolyGram purchased Sony's half stake in Def Jam Recordings—subsequently bringing the label into its overlap. Following PolyGram's purchase, Def Jam distributed the Violator Records-signed artist Warren G's Regulate... G Funk Era album, which went triple platinum and brought truly necessary revenue to Def Jam through its distribution deal with Violator.
PolyGram acquired an additional 10% in Def Jam Recordings in 1996, further strengthening its ownership of Def Jam. Shortly thereafter, Rush Associated Labels was renamed Def Jam Music Group. The label remained profitable as its veteran star LL Cool J released his effective album Mr. Smith in 1995. The label later signed Foxy Brown, whose debut album Ill Na became a platinum seller in 1997.
The Island Def Jam Music Group establishing (1998– 2000)
in 1998, PolyGram was purchased by Seagram and merged with the MCA family of labels, which became Universal Music Group. It at that point purchased the remaining interest of Def Jam Recordings from Russell Simmons for a reported $100 million. UMG merged 14+ record labels including Def Jam, Island Records and Mercury Records to form The Island Def Jam Music Group. In spite of the formation of IDJMG, the Def Jam, Mercury, and Island labels kept on operating as separate imprints underneath the bigger umbrella. Def Jam:
Lyor Cohen was appointed co-president of IDJMG, and Kevin Liles succeeded him as president of Def Jam. In 1999, IDJMG created an R&B turn off label called Def Soul Recordings to run alongside Def Jam Recordings, which inherited many of Island Records' urban artists, including Drug Hill and its lead singer Sisqó, the Isley Brothers and Kelly Price. Def Jam: Def Soul also issued recordings by Musiq, Montell Jordan, Case, 112, Patti LaBelle, and Christina Milian. Island's fourth and B'way Records was also collapsed into Def Jam. Kevin Liles also served as President of Def Soul Records.
Also in 1999, the label began to distribute releases by Murder Inc. Records, run by former Def Jam official Irv Gotti. Murder Inc's. the roster of artists would incorporate Ja Rule, Ashanti, Lloyd, Vita. The next year, it launched another subsidiary, Def Jam South, which concentrated on Southern rap and distributed releases from labels, for example, Disturbing tha Peace, whose artists have included Ludacris, Chingy, and Bobby Valentino. Russell Simmons tapped Texas-born and raised rap legend Scarface as the original head of Def Jam South. After about a 4-year run at Def Jam South, Scarface negotiated a release from the company in 2003.
In 2000, The Island Def Jam Music Group announced the formation of Def Jam Germany, the first international Def Jam company. This increased the label's presence around the world. Def Jam Germany signed German rappers Spezializtz and Philly MC. The Record label was located in Berlin and opened on May 23, 2000. Def Jam: In addition to marking and marketing local artists, Def Jam Germany also marketed all U.S. signed Def Jam artists in the German territory. Def Jam: But the German division collapsed only two years later in 2002. Many of the artists were grabbed by Universal/Urban, while others didn't get another contract.
The second international label is a Japanese branch, Def Jam Japan Defu Jamu Japan), also established in 2000. Their artist roster has included AI, Teriyaki Boyz, Nitro Microphone Underground, and South Korean boy band BTS.
In 2003, Murder Inc. became the center of a tax evasion investigation including illegal profits from the drug trade, leading to the record labels eventual release from its distribution contract by 2005. Def Jam: Jay-Z: The final shares of Roc-A-Fella Records were sold to The Island Def Jam Music Group in 2004, by which time it had launched the career of producer-turned-rapper Kanye West.
In 2004, Cohen left IDJMG for Warner Music Group, and was replaced by former Arista and later Epic official L.A. Reid. An unhappy Liles eventually chose to pursue Cohen to Warner. A bidding war for Jay-Z's contract began, and Reid appointed Jay-Z president of Def Jam. Def Jam: Jay-Z:
Under Jay-Z's leadership, Def Jam launched the fruitful careers of contemporary R&B singers Rihanna and Ne-Yo. At the finish of 2007, Jay-Z chose not to renew his contract as the President and CEO of Def Jam so as to start his new venture, Roc Nation. Following Jay-Z's departure, L.A. Reid took over leadership of the label, rather than hiring a replacement. In June 2008, Shakir Stewart was appointed as Executive Vice President of Def Jam, a position that was previously left vacant since December 2007.
In March 2012, it was announced that former Warner Bros. Records official Joie Manda would become the first president of Def Jam since Jay-Z. Def Jam: Jay-Z: Until March 2013 when he left his post at Def Jam and it was announced he'd be heading up the urban division of Interscope Records by his former boss, Barry Weiss. The-Dream served as Def Jam's official VP of A&R at Def Jam between 2012 and 2014. No I.D. upheld the situation of official VP after establishing GOOD Music with Kanye West. No I.D. is presently the official VP of Capitol Music Group.
Def Jam: Jay-Z: On April 1, 2014, it was announced that Island Def Jam would never again be active after the resignation of CEO Barry Weiss. A press release serviced by Universal Music Group stated that IDJMG and all of its assets would be reorganized into Def Jam Recordings, Island Records and Motown Records, all as separate entities.
Def Jam Recordings operates as a stand-alone label inside Universal Music Group. Def Jam signed Dani Leigh to the label in early 2017. Steve Bartels served a period as President/CEO of Def Jam Recording until it was announced on August 3, 2017, that as of January 2018, Eminem's long-term manager and prime supporter of Shady Records, Paul Rosenberg has been appointed Chairman/CEO of Def Jam Recordings.
Lyor Cohen (1988– 98)
Kevin Liles (1998– 2004)
JAY-Z (2005– 07)
L.A. Reid (2007– 12)
Joie Manda (2012– 13)
Steve Bartels (2013– 17)
Paul Rosenberg (2018– present)
Def Jam: Jay-Z:
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Shawn Corey Carter (born December 4, 1969), referred to professionally as Jay-Z (/ˈdʒeɪ ˈziː/; adapted as JAY-Z),[a] is an American rapper, songwriter, record producer, entrepreneur, and record official. Considered a standout amongst the best rappers of all time, he is regarded as one of the world's most significant cultural symbols and has been a global figure in popular culture for over two decades.
Def Jam: Jay-Z:
Born and raised in New York City, Jay-Z first began his musical career after establishing the record label Roc-A-Fella Records in 1995, and subsequently released his debut studio album Reasonable Doubt in 1996. The album was released to widespread critical achievement and set his standing in the music industry. He has gone onto release twelve additional albums, which have all attained generally positive critical reception and universal commercial achievement, with The Blueprint (2001) and The Black Album (2003) albums later being heralded as modern musical classics. He has also released the full-length collaborative albums Watch the Throne (2011) and Everything Is Love (2018) with Kanye West and spouse Beyoncé, respectively.
Outside of his musical career, Jay-Z has also attained significant achievement and media attention for his career as a businessman. In 1999, he established the garments retailer Rocawear, and in 2003, he established the luxury sports bar chain 40/40 Club. Both businesses have grown to become multi-million dollar corporations and allowed Jay-Z to support the start-up for the entertainment company Roc Nation, which was established in 2008. In 2015, he acquired the tech company Aspiro and assumed responsibility for their media streaming service Tidal, which has since become the world's third-largest web-based streaming company. His marriage to musician Beyoncé has also been a source of substantial media attention.
Jay-Z is among the most critically acclaimed musicians and a standout amongst the best-selling music artists of all time with over 100 million records sold worldwide. He has won a total of 22 Grammy Awards, the most by a rapper, and holds the record for the most number-one albums by a performance artist on the Billboard 200, with 13. He has been ranked by Billboard and individual music publication Rolling Stone as one of the 100 greatest artists of all time. In 2017, he became the first rapper to be honored into the Songwriters Hall of Fame, and in 2018, received the commemorative "Salute to Industry Icons" award at the 60th Grammy Awards.
1 Early life
2 Music career 2.1 1995– 1997: Reasonable Doubt and In My Lifetime, Vol. 1
2.2 1998– 2000: Vol. 2..., Vol. 3... and The Dynasty
2.3 2001– 2002: Feud with Nas, The Blueprint and The Blueprint2
2.4 2003– 2005: The Black Album and initial retirement
2.5 2005– 2007: Kingdom Come and American Gangster
2.6 2008– 2011: The Blueprint 3 and Watch the Throne
2.7 2012– 2016: Magna Carta Holy Grail and other ventures
2.8 2017– 2018: 4:44 and Everything Is Love
3 Musical style 3.1 Influences
3.2 Rapping system
4 Business career
5 Personal life 5.1 Relationship with Beyoncé
5.2 Assault conviction
8 Tours 8.1 Headlining
10 Awards and nominations
13 Further reading
14 External connections
Jay-Z (top) with a friend (bottom) in Trenton, New Jersey, circa 1988
Carter was born in the Brooklyn borough of New York City and was raised in Marcy Houses, a lodging project in the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood. After their father, Adnis Reeves, abandoned the family, Shawn and his three siblings were raised by their mother, Gloria Carter. Reeves would later meet and reconcile with Jay-Z before kicking the bucket in 2003. Jay-Z claims in his lyrics that in 1982 at age 12, he shot his older brother in the shoulder for stealing his jewelry. Along with future rapper AZ, Carter attended Eli Whitney High School in Brooklyn until it was shut down. He at that point attended the nearby George Westinghouse Career and Technical Education High School with future rappers The Notorious B.I.G. and Busta Rhymes, trailed by a spell at Trenton Central High School in Trenton, New Jersey, however, he didn't graduate. According to his interviews and lyrics, during this period he sold crack cocaine and was shot at three times.
According to his mother, Carter used to wake up his siblings around evening time banging out drum patterns on the kitchen table. She bought him a boom box for his birthday, sparking his interest in music. He began freestyling and writing lyrics. Known as "Jazzy" around the neighborhood, Carter later adopted the showbiz/stage name "Jay-Z" in homage to his mentor Jaz-O.
Jay-Z can be briefly heard on several of Jaz-O's early recordings in the late 1980s and early 1990s, including "The Originators" and "Hawaiian Sophie." Jay-Z became embroiled in several battles with rapper LL Cool J in the early 1990s. He first became known to a wide audience on the gang cut "Show and Prove" on the 1994 Big Daddy Kane album Daddy's Home. Jay-Z has been referred to as Big Daddy Kane's publicity man during this period, although Kane explains that he didn't fill the traditional promotion man role, and was instead basically making cameo appearances in front of an audience. "When I would leave the stage to go change outfits, I would bring out Jay-Z and Positive K and let them freestyle until I came back to the stage." The youthful Jay-Z appeared on a popular song by Big L, "Da Graveyard", and on Mic Geronimo's "A great opportunity to Build", which also featured early appearances by DMX and Ja Rule in 1995. His first official rap single was called "In My Lifetime", for which he released a music video in 1995. An unreleased music video was also produced for the B-side "I Can't Get with That."
1995– 1997: Reasonable Doubt and In My Lifetime, Vol. 1
With no major label to give him a record deal, Jay-Z sold CDs out of his car and, with Damon Dash and Kareem Biggs, created Roc-A-Fella Records as an autonomous label in 1995. After striking a distribution deal with Priority, Jay-Z released his 1996 debut album Reasonable Doubt with beats from acclaimed producers, for example, DJ Premier and Super DJ Clark Kent and an appearance by The Notorious B.I.G... The album reached number 23 on the Billboard 200 and was generally favored by critics. This album would later be incorporated into Rolling Stone's "500 Greatest Albums of All Time" as No. 248 and eventually reach platinum status.
After reaching another distribution deal with Def Jam in 1997, Jay-Z released his follow-up In My Lifetime, Vol. 1. Produced by Sean "Puff Daddy" Combs, it sold better than his previous effort. Jay-Z later explained that the album was made during one of the worst periods of his life when he was reeling from the death of his dear friend, The Notorious B.I.G. The album was a personal revelation for Jay-Z as he recounted to the stories of his troublesome upbringing. The album's shiny production remained as a contrast to his first release, and some dedicated fans felt he had "sold out." However, the album featured a few beats from producers who had worked with him on Reasonable Doubt, namely DJ Premier and Ski. Like its predecessor, In My Lifetime, Vol. 1 earned platinum status in the United States.
1998– 2000: Vol. 2..., Vol. 3... and The Dynasty
In 1998, Jay-Z released Vol. 2... Hard Knock Life which spawned the biggest hit of his career at the time, "Hard Knock Life (Ghetto Anthem)". He relied more on stream and wordplay, and he proceeded with his penchant for mining beats from the popular producers of the day, for example, Swizz Beatz, an upstart in-house producer for Ruff Ryders, and Timbaland. Other producers included DJ Premier, Erick Sermon, The 45 King, and Kid Capri. Charting hits from this album included "Can I Get A...", featuring Ja Rule and Amil, and "Nigga What, Nigga Who", also featuring Amil. Vol. 2 would eventually become Jay-Z's most commercially effective album; it was certified 5× Platinum in the United States and has to date sold over five million copies. The album proceeded to win a Grammy Award, although Jay-Z boycotted the ceremony protesting DMX's failure to garner a Grammy nomination.
In 1999, Jay-Z dueted with Mariah Carey on "Heartbreaker", a song from her seventh album, Rainbow. In that same year, Jay-Z released Vol. 3... Life and Times of S. Carter. The album proved fruitful and sold over 3 million copies. Vol. 3's best single was "Big Pimpin", featuring UGK.
In 2000, Jay-Z released The Dynasty: Roc La Familia, which was originally planned to become a compilation album for Roc-A-Fella artists but Def Jam turned into a Jay-Z album. The album introduced newcomer producers The Neptunes, Just Blaze, Kanye West, and Bink, which have all proceeded to achieve notable achievement. This is also the first album where Jay-Z uses a more profound sound than his previous albums. The Dynasty sold over two million units in the U.S. alone.
2001– 2002: Feud with Nas, The Blueprint and The Blueprint2
In 2001, Jay-Z revolted against Prodigy after he took an issue with a Jay-Z line from "Cash, Cash, Hoes" that he felt alluded disparagingly to Mobb Deep and his dispute[clarification needed]with Tupac Shakur, Snoop Dogg, and Death Row Records. He later performed the song "Takeover", at Summer Jam 2001, which initially attacked Prodigy and revealed photographs of Prodigy dressed like Michael Jackson. A line at the finish of "Takeover" referred to Nas, who criticized him on "We Will Survive". Nas responded with a diss track called "Ether" and Jay-Z straightaway added a verse to "Takeover" which dissed Nas and would start a quarrel between the two rappers.
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