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Has Beyonce turned Jay-Z soft?...

Published by Warren Dell under on Sunday, September 17, 2006
It’s been two years since Jay-Z took over the hot seat as el presidente of Def Jam and in that time he has managed to turn the label into a haven for R'n'B music. For a label that at one time was putting out albums by The Beastie Boys, Public Enemy and Run-DMC, their release schedule in recent times now includes Tearri Mari, Rihanna and Ne-Yo.

The label has always had a soft spot for R’n’B with Def Soul putting out records by Sisqo, Montell Jordan and Kelly Price to name a few. Now the label is giving the indication that they are looking for the next Mario, rather than LL Cool J.

Since falling for Beyonce in 2003 Jay painted a picture of a man who was happy playing the background and letting the missus shine. He didn't long to make records and had had enough of the rap game. It was now time for other avenues to take up his time and when the Def Jam position was announced, despite having limited experience with running Roc-a-Fella (a roster full of weed carriers) it was hoped he could bring back Def Jam as the 'in' label, back to its previous glory.

Their focus on rap music hasn't been top notch since his appointment and many of the labels roster have let their discontent known with DMX and allegedly Ludacris all airing their feelings on wax. DMX seems to think Mrs Jay-Z has something to do with it, which may explain his recent flip-flop fetish. "...He’s just not the same," DMX complains in Vibe magazine. "It's Beyoncé. He's a sucker for love. Thugs don't do flip-flops. Yo, no matter how much vacation I'm on - we been to St. Thomas, Bahamas, all the little islands - I don't wear no flip-flops. I'm never that comfortable, not even in my own house."

Has this softening up resulted in a change of output by the record label? Or is he worried that he may sign that someone who could take away his legacy. Although Ghostface would like to refrain from a Kobe Byrant filling Michael Jordan's shoes comparison, he was talked about filling that void and getting the commercial success he deserved, but his album ended up no better than his previous sales wise.

Now off the label after 22 years there LL Cool J recently added that his the focus on other artists may not be 100%, as Jay embarks on another tour ahead of his return.

“I think Def Jam needs to be a better promoter of Hip-Hop” speaking at the VMA’s “…I think Jay-Z does a very good job… of promoting Jay-Z.”

The talent on the label and promotional work was always in need of a shake-up, with a lot of artists no longer the draw they once were, but only sub-standard rappers have been brought in so far. Def Jam's biggest money earners have been Rihanna and Ne-Yo of late. Not to knock those talents but they aren't exactly what you envision when you look at those iconic record sleeves.

Jay-Z looks set to release Show Me What You Got as his first single from his out of retirement surprise comeback album. Either the director of the film classic Friday F Gary Gray or Hype Williams will shoot the video, which will be from the album Kingdom Come. With his mission to turn Def jam into the an R'n'B paradise it will be interesting to see what sort of direction he goes in with the album, which will feature production from Kanye West, Timbaland and The Neptunes. Pube head lead singer of Coldplay Chris Martin is set to feature on one of the songs. Already it seems this could be as disappointing as the Black Album.

If he doesn't come hard with a classic set then it will be a crushing blow to Def Jam and the man himself. Hip-Hop may not be in such a great state depending on what you read but it's debatable whether we need another album from Jay. We knew all along he would return but if he comes out and delivers another Black Album or Blueprint 2, then it looks like it's back to being Beyonce's bag handler. Lets hope Beyonce hasn’t got those Roc-A-Wear trousers on just yet…


The Flip Flop Girl said... @ 7:29 PM

This is interesting. A person so uncomfortable that he can't be comfortable in his own house. I'm all about comfort. That's why I'm always wearng flip flops.

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