| 06 Jun 2023
Universal Music Group announced the launch of Def Jam Africa

MUMBAI: Universal Music Group has announced the launch of Def Jam Africa, the new label will focus on hip-hop, Afrobeats, and trap talent throughout the region, with a team of A&R, marketing, creative and digital teams that are already based in the area.

Def Jam Africa will initially be based in Lagos, Nigeria and Johannesburg, South Africa, but will focus its attention on artists across the continent. This will be supported by dedicated marketing, promotion, A&R, creative and digital teams from the UMG divisions currently operating in Nigeria and South Africa and will be under the guidance of Sipho Dlamini, Managing Director of Universal Music Sub-Saharan Africa & South Africa. The division is currently on the search for a standalone label head.

At the launch, the label announced 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) as signees.

“Many of us in Africa grew up on music from 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, the home of Jodeci and Mary J Blige and many more,” said Sipho Dlamini, MD, Universal Music Sub-Saharan Africa & South Africa. “For those into hip-hop, no label has such cultural and historic relevance as Def Jam. From Run DMC, to LL Cool J, Disturbing the 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. Together, we will build a new community of artists, that will push the boundaries of hip-hop from Africa, to reach new audiences globally.”

“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,” said Jeff Harleston, interim Chairman & CEO.