Universal launches Def Jam Africa

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By | Published on Wednesday 27 May 2020

Universal Music has announced the launch of Def Jam Africa. The all-new division utilising the major’s Def Jam brand will have offices in Johannesburg, South Africa and Lagos, Nigeria, but will sign hip hop, Afrobeats and trap acts from across the continent.

“Many of us in Africa grew up on music from legendary labels under the UMG umbrella”, says Sipho Dlamini, Managing Director of Universal Music Sub-Saharan Africa & South Africa. “From Blue Note for jazz fans, to Mercury Records, which was Hugh Masekela’s first US label, and Uptown Records, the home of Jodeci and Mary J Blige and many more”.

But, he goes on, “for those into hip hop, no label has such cultural and historic relevance as Def Jam. From Run DMC, to LL Cool J, Disturbing Tha Peace, Jay-Z, Big Sean and Kanye West, 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, to create an authentic and trusted home for those who aspire to be the best in hip hop, Afrobeats and trap”, he concludes. “Together, we will build a new community of artists that will push the boundaries of hip hop from Africa to reach new audiences globally”.

The label launches with a roster featuring Nasty C, Boity, Cassper Nyovest, Nadia Nakai, Tshego, Tellaman and Ricky Tyler – all from South Africa – as well as Larry Gaaga and Vector from Nigeria.

Nasty C, as you may remember, is also signed to Def Jam in the US, and will release his new album, ‘Zulu Man’, in the States this summer.

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