Def Jam Records is making its way into Africa.
As a division of Universal Music Group, Def Jam has been a name to respect in the industry for the last 36 years. Focusing predominantly on rap and hip-hop, the label was founded by Russell Simmons and Rick Rubin, and today boasts artists such as Kanye West, Rihanna, Justin Bieber, Big Sean, DMX, and Jeezy on its books. Def Jam branches have already been established in the UK and even Japan, but it is now Africa’s turn.
Universal Music Group has announced the launch of Def Jam Africa which will be dedicated to representing “the best hip-hop, Afrobeats and trap talent in Africa, and will follow the blueprint of the iconic Def Jam Recordings label,” according to its statement. The division is expected to focus — at least at first — on South Africa and Nigeria, with offices in Johannesburg and Lagos, respectively. As its first move on the continent, Def Jam has signed a slew of African artists, many of who are already well-established in their native countries.
Nigeria brings on board Larry Gaaga and Vector, while South Africa has presented Nasty C, Casper Nyovest, Boity, Tellaman, Nadia Nakai, Tshego, and Ricky Tyler. “Def Jam has always been the ultimate destination for hip-hop and urban culture worldwide. It is a historic achievement that we’re now able to bring this iconic label to Africa,” said managing director of Universal Music Sub-Saharan Africa & South Africa, Sipho Dlamini.
Singles have already been lined up from Cassper Nyovest, Ricky Tyler, Tshego, Tellaman, Boity, and Vector, while Nasty C is due to release his forthcoming album, “Zulu Man with Some Power,” this summer.