Def Jam Africa launched with a roster of South African and Nigerian hip-hop and Afrobeats artists.
Universal Music Group announced the launch of Def Jam Africa, a new label division within the continent dedicated to representing the best hip-hop and Afrobeats talent on the continent. According to a press release from UMG, Def Jam Africa will “follow the blueprint of the iconic Def Jam Recordings label, which has led and influenced the cutting-edge in hip-hop and urban culture for more than 35 years.”
The label will initially be based in two of the continent’s main music and entertainment hubs Johannesburg, South Africa and Lagos, Nigeria. The label will identify and sign artist talent from across the entire continent.
Def Jam Africa launched with a roster that included some of the most successful African talent including Nigeria’s Larry Gaaga and Vector alongside South Africa’s Boity, Cassper Nyovest, Nadia Nakai, Nasty C, Tshego, Tellaman and Ricky Tyler. A majority of who were already signed to UMG.
This roster will be supported by dedicated A&R, marketing, creative and digital teams from the UMG teams in both Nigeria and South Africa and will report to Sipho Dlamini, the MD of Universal Music Sub-Saharan Africa & South Africa.
Dlamini shared in a press release that the aim for Def Jam Africa is to become the authentic and trusted home of hip-hop and urban culture in Africa. “Def Jam Recordings has always historically pushed the boundaries of the genre,” he said, “and we are excited to create a new community of artists within the continent, shaped around the unique and multi-cultural sounds, rhythms and productions coming from our streets, in order to help elevate hip-hop, afrobeat and trap music from Africa, to reach new global audiences within the continent, across the diaspora and beyond.”
Jeff Harleston, interim Chairman & CEO for Def Jam Recordings said: “Def Jam is a globally recognized brand, synonymous with excellence in hip-hop, and we enthusiastically welcome the launch of Def Jam Africa as an opportunity for audiences worldwide to discover the incredibly talented hip-hop artists emerging from across the continent.”
Earlier this year, Nasty C announced he would be releasing his third studio album Zulu Man With Some Power through Def Jam Recordings which was a joint venture with Universal Music Africa. New releases from the Def Jam Africa should be expected this year.