All The President’s Moves
After almost three year's as President of Def Jam Recordings, Jay-Z announced on Monday that he will be stepping down from his post, the New York Times reported. Def Jam's parent label, Universal Music Group declined to renew Jay-Z's contract under more lucrative terms demanded by him, but due to a separate long-term contract, he still owes the label one or more albums.
When Jay-Z became President/CEO of Def Jam Recordings in January of 2005, there seemed to be more questions than answers. Sure he was one of the label's most popular artist, but could he handle the transition from artist to executive? Would L.A. Reid be doing a lot of hand holding? What kind of ear did he have for talent?
The editors of KING-MAG.com takes a look at the five hits and five misses of Jay-Z's tenure.
5) Signing Fabolous
Largely due to the success of 2007's monster smash single, "Make Me Better", Fabolous' Def Jam debut, From Nothin' To Somethin' went gold, which was enough to at least keep the lights on in Jay-Z's executive suit.
4) Letting go of DMX
Once upon a time, Jay-Z and DMX were as thick as thieves, so it was a head-scratching move when Jay chose to let his former friend go to Sony. But after recent reports surfaced that DMX passed out at Sony Studios, it's clear Jay knew something the rest of us didn't.
3) Releasing American Gangster
Based on the hit-movie of the same name, American Gangster moved close to 425,000 units its first week on shelves, proving that Def Jam's President/CEO might be a better player than coach.
2) Signing Ne-Yo
As both a songwriter and solo act, Ne-Yo has proved to be the ace up Hova's sleeve. Though L.A. Reid is the one who signed Ne-Yo, it was Jay-Z's nurturing that made Ne-Yo a bonafide R&B star on a historically hip-hop label.
1) Signing Rihanna
What do you do when your girlfriend is already signed to another label? Make another one. Jay-Z brainstormed, and Rihanna got her "Umbrella" out.
5) Signing Nas
Jay-Z's decision to sign Nas showed the critics that hip-hop isn't just about beef. It's about unity too. Too bad unity doesn't get a video ("Black Republicans", hello!) or sell records.
4) Releasing American Gangster
See number three for a full explanation.
3) Releasing Graduation
Kanye's third album should have two more singles in rotation by now, but because Big Brother had to get all Frank Lucas like Ludacris, we're still living the "Good Life".
2) The Roots, Foxy Brown, Method Man, LL Cool J, Redman...
Sure LL Cool J'sÂ vocal displeasure with his boss made James Todd Smith sound like the factory lifer getting a pink slip during the holidays, but when you look at Hova's overall handling of Def Jam's veteran acts, Uncle LL may have had a point.
1) Releasing Kingdom Come
The project made dollars, so it did make sense. But as far as albums go, Kingdom Come was probably one of the worst outputs during the President's time at Def Jam.