Universal Music Group today announced the launch of Def Jam Africa, a new label division on the continent. According to the announcement, the new label is dedicated to representing “the best hip-hop, Afrobeats and trap talent in Africa, and will follow the blueprint of iconic label Def Jam Recordings,” one of the largest hip -hop /R&B companies in history.
The label kicks off with a roster of well-established African artists such as Boity (South Africa), Cassper Nyovest (South Africa), Larry Gaaga (Nigeria), Nadia Nakai (South Africa), Nasty C (South Africa) , Tshego (South Africa), Tellaman (South Africa), Ricky Tyler (South Africa) and Vector (Nigeria).
Sipho Dlamini, Managing Director of Sub-Saharan and South Africa Division of Universal Music, said in a press release: “Many of us in Africa grew up on the music of legendary labels under the UMG umbrella. . From Blue Note for jazz fans to Mercury Records which was Hugh Masekela's first US label and Uptown Records, home of Jodeci and Mary J Blige and many more. For those who love hip-hop, no label has such cultural and historical relevance as Def Jam […] It is a historic achievement that we are now able to bring this iconic label to Africa, to create a home authentic and trusted for those who aspire to be the best in hip-hop, Afrobeats and trap.
Earlier this year, it was announced that South African rapper Nasty C will release his upcoming album “Zulu Man with Some Power” in partnership with Def Jam Recordings in the United States, in the summer of 2020.
Since its founding by Rick Rubin and Russell Simmons in 1984, Def Jam has been one of, with classic releases over the years from LL Cool J, the Beastie Boys, Public Enemy, Method Man, Ghostface, DMX, Ludacris, the Roots, Young Jeezy, Frank Ocean, Logic and, via a deal with the Roc-A-Fella and Roc Nation labels of Jay-Z, Jay, Kanye West, Rihanna and others.