| How Jay-Z Is Hurting Def Jam
| Wednesday, November 08, 2006
I was skeptical when Jay-Z was given the title of President of Def Jam. Did he have any sort of skills or qualifications when it came to running a label? We all know he can rhyme, how well he can rhyme is a matter of debate, especially after his latest appearance on Hot97 which even Sohh called “corny” noting he was “way behind the beat,” but how does being a rapper qualify someone to run a rap label? It doesn’t, and the Jay-Z situation at Def Jam illustrates exactly why rappers should rap and people who know how to run labels should run labels. Let’s take a look at a few situations that Jay has messed up horribly as businessman in just the past six months.
Rappers, especially Jay, are fantastic at self-promotion. He didn’t get on by being humble and staying out of the limelight. As the President of a label, however, one has to know how to get others into that limelight, and it seems that Jay is completely unwilling to let anyone shine except for himself. Let’s go back to this past summer. Jay beefed with Cristal, something I chastised him for on this very site (and got killed for it by a lot of Jigga fans blindly following their hero). Little did I know there was another reason to get on Jay for this; two months later Def Jam released Method Man’s album. What on earth was Jay-Z doing putting himself in the spotlight at a time when he should have been pushing a lead single for Meth and giving him a budget for a video (word is Meth never even received a budget for a video)? Meth is a legend in the rap game. As a part of Wu-Tang he helped bring New York Hip-Hop back and was instrumental in changing the sound of the scene at a time when the airwaves were ruled by west coast funk. Instead of bigging up this legend and putting him on the pedestal he belongs on Jay essentially ignored the release of his album. Bad business move. A label has to sell albums for all their artists, not just one.
Take two, this time around it’s Lady Sovereign, the most talked about artist to come out of the U.K. since The Streets. Lavy Sov’s buzz was huge when she first signed to Def Jam. Big things were expected. She rocketed up the TRL charts, giving her a buzz with the teen audience, but what about the Hip-Hop heads? A few weeks before the release of Lady Sov’s Public Warning we were treated to Jay-Z “leaking” his new single and video. Couldn’t Def Jam’s money have been better spent promoting a second single for Lady Sov two weeks before her album came out? Making Jay’s lust for the spotlight, even at the expense of his own artists, even more apparent is that the week Lady Sovereign’s album was released (her drop date was October 31st) Jay was on Hot97 talking about himself and doing the aforementioned unimpressive freestyle. Again, why wasn’t Lady Sov on the air? Why wasn’t that her interview?
During Jay’s time on Hot97 he also took shots as Jim Jones for taking shots at him. Jay called Jones “the ninth guy off the bench.” Well guess what Jay, at least that would mean he has a team that he’s playing with, do you? At this point you seem to be neglecting your role as President and although Jones has no such title, and I am NOT a fan of the Diplomats by any stretch of the imagination, at least he’s out there supporting the projects of the people he runs with. Juelz Santana, an MC I really truly honestly do not like, is sitting on the shelf at Def Jam right now and despite my feelings on him I know he has a huge rabid fanbase. Jay has his light beef with Jim Jones and Dip Set, but that’s the rapper Jay-Z, the President Jay-Z should be releasing albums that will help his company. Who wants to bet on when, or if, Jay lets a Juelz album see the light of day? Juelz may not have the best lyrics, but being a young, charismatic, rapper makes him a potentially huge seller, especially with the right backing, which I’m sure he thought he was going to get at Def Jam. Instead Juelz, along with Meth, Lady Sovereign, Redman and a host of others are stuck attempting to beat out their own label’s President to get some airplay. With all this in mind Nas has to be seriously wondering what’s going to happen with his upcoming release.
Def Jam has seen some first week success with some albums, but third, fourth and fifth week sales show staying power and most everything Def Jam’s released in the past year has had none of that. No follow up singles. No second or third videos. Just a quick hit and that’s it. The only stars getting any play from Def Jam are in the R&B genre. Basically, anyone who won’t take airtime away from Jay. It’s become clear that until Jay-Z retires from rapping for real his “Presidential” role is only hurting Def Jam and in the long run, when artists like Meth, Red, Juelz and Lady Sov aren’t getting the attention they deserve, it’s hurting Hip-Hop.
Labels: Music Commentary
|posted by Adam Bernard @ 8:06 AM
Can't even hate on this. This is one ridiculously inspiring piece of writing, real talk. I almost feel cheated that I got to read this for free, as opposed to paying my $15.75 on the latest issue of XXL and reading it within.
You know you just opened the flood gates once again for those that participate in Idol worship to be angered by what you've posted.
Thing is you have a point and it's rather sad. But at this point with this music stuff I really don't expect much from any of these guys. Jay is doing a Bad Boy right now. Right out the pages of Sean Combs and as a matter of fact Wyclef's journal. How to not push the artists on your label and get as much limelight as you can.
It's really a shame. It's not good business in the least and the sad thing is that with a Lady Sov, and a Santana you have virtual crack artists that will pretty musch sell theirselves if you put a little effort in promoting them.
Jay Z being president of Def Jam means nothing for music, businnes or music-business if he isn't actually doing anything productive and making that company money. Pretty much changing the tide to the mess that's already going on with the industry. At the end of the day it's becomes a question if he even can. Or if he even cares to. You'd think that being that he is an artist he'd be more sensible and would try to find ways to revolutionize the way the game is played. But what do I know.
I saw your site though a link on www.jesusheartsmusic.com, and I have to say that I agree with you. But why are you so mad at someone who's clearly doing more good for hip-hop's image overall, than most are. I can't wait to see the MTV special with him overseas (dealing with the UN, etc). I just think that it's a beautiful thing that children who can't even afford a TV, know Jay's music by heart, show up at concerts, etc. He's making hip-hop more global!!
btw:jay is not the only president of defjam and is not the only guy who makes decisions.every album gets enough promo for it to sell what it was expected.a lot promo doesnt necesarily gurantee high album equal sales.im sure most part of the world knew that paris hilton's album was comning out /is out but look at her sles...if ur singles dont blow up then u will definately have low expectations as far as sales are concerned.whether u are some sort of legend or not,nobody cares.if it aint hot,people wont buy.
this is business!!!not some charity work were a label will spend a lot of dough on promotions(see buddens in 2003) only to watch them flop(again see buddens in 2003.
defjam is currently number 1 as far as market share is concerned.
this whole thing of jay stealing other artist's shine(or whatever u wanna call it) is utter rubbish!!!i just dont see how things would be any different if he had gone with lyor to warner music group.meth has been at this game for how many years and yet he only pops out of nowhere to say that he has an album coming out??wtf.even if they put all this "dream" promo he wouldnt have pushed major units!!!people wont just take out $13 to buy music from some random guy that they never hear about other than that he has an album coming out.artists need to help build their own buzz!!!
Camellabella, I have to ask you one quick thing. You pointed out kids without TVs know all of Jay-Z's lyrics.... but are Jay-Z's lyrics something you really want kids to know? Food for thought.
And anonymous, I don't usually reply to someone who refuses to post a name behind their words, but I will say your post had a ton of holes in it (including some horrid spelling. How are you going to get an artist's name wrong? It's Joe Budden, not buddens). Explain this:
"even if they put all this "dream" promo he wouldnt have pushed major units!!!people wont just take out $13 to buy music from some random guy that they never hear about other than that he has an album coming out"
How is it someone no one's heard of if they have good promotion? That makes no sense.
And the foolishness begins.
Instead Juelz, along with Meth, Lady Sovereign, Redman and a host of others are stuck attempting to beat out their own label’s President to get some airplay. With all this in mind Nas has to be seriously wondering what’s going to happen with his upcoming release.
^^^^^^compete for airplay???did u really think about what u wrote???what makes u think that they would get more airplay if jay wasnt releasing an album?jay hasnt had an album in 3years,were things any different then?
How is it someone no one's heard of if they have good promotion? That makes no sense.
^^^^^^i meant running a lot of promos(which by the aint always cheap,remember: DEFJAM/UNIVERSAL IS A BUSINESS not a lets-get-gold/platinum-plaques-at-all-costs CHARITY organisation) for a guy like method man who u hardly ever hear of his interviews as far as music is concerned wont make a lot of people go the the store and buy his album.he should also get out there and do some self promo just like every other living succesful rapper especially if u dont have a hit.
btw:budden had very good promotion in 2003 but he still flopped hard.if it wasnt for the internet i probably would have forgotten about him.
How are you going to get an artist's name wrong? It's Joe Budden, not buddens).
^^^^my spelling is "horrid"?lmao!,at least u understood who i was talking about and i doubt if u struggled to figure who i was talking about.all that u trying to do is to divert attention from the main discussion.your whole article is flawed and not well thought out(which is way more important than "horrid" spellin).
See anonymous, you're the ONLY dissenting opinion, which makes me think you're fairly blind to the facts. You said:
u hardly ever hear of his interviews as far as music is concerned
Of course THIS IS THE JOB OF THE LABEL TO SET UP INTERVIEW DAYS. Guess what Def Jam never did for Meth.
And what makes me think all the other artists on the roster would get more airplay if Jay wasn't releasing an album? COMMON SENSE. Def Jam is located a hop, skip and a jump away from Hot97. They can, and sometimes do, deliver their promos in person. The easy influence Def Jam can have over Hot97 is obvious. Jay uses this for himself, but clearly ot for his other artists.
Not only is my argument well thought out, it's put out there in clear and easy to undstand language with multiple examples of Jay's shortcomings as a President of a label.
PS - Jay was on a pop music station in NYC the other day promoting himself. Still no sign of The Biggest Midgit In The Game.
PS II - If you still don't believe me check the Billboard album charts this week. You'll see all of three Def Jam artists in the Top 100. THREE! Only Luda is in the top 20 this week (and barely, charting at #18), and Lady Sov, the person I've been saying has been MOST HURT as of late by Jigga's incessant self-promotion, debuted at #48. (Shareefa is at 62 if you really care, a huge drop from her first week rank of 25. Didn't I say something about third week sales being a good sign of staying power? She's had that huge a drop off in only her SECOND week. Great job).
So yeah, go on thinking Jay's a great business man. But in Lady Sov he just took one of the hottest imports to come to the US in years and flushed her down the toilet as an afterthought to his own record.
Ok Adam.... I'm sooooo pissed at you for one main reason on top of geing 10,000% right..... How do you forget to mention "The Roots" in all that detailed debauchery?
they have an Album out right now as well. They only shine thye get is when they are playing Jay-Z instumentals over on stage. to para-phrase the new cigarrette campaign...whatdafuxup?
I meen lets be serious here about the situation...it's Jay-Z...you(the writer) never metioned ludacris, young jeezy, and rick ross...and as far as i am concerned, juelz did and is still doing good... No disrespect but meth is outta there and this girl lady sov...who the hell is she? If you want your album to be a success, then you must go out there and promote your album yourself...just like jay is doing. You gotta do you in this bisuness, you cant depend on anyone else. Sell yourself like jay did and if you have what it takes, then you might just be an elite rapper in the game.
I thnk you're neglecting something major, Jay is using all that Def Jam money that he didn't spend on all those artists mentioned to sell himself right now. Artists who sign contracts with big time labels shouldn't also have to hire private PR people to get themselves out there, and if they do the label has failed them. A major label contract puts an artist in enough debt, the point of that contract is that all the money the artist is losing out on by being on the label (usually 90% of their album sales will go to the label) is brought back to them in the form of proper marketing and PR. Jay's not doing that for his artists, just himself.
PS - I mentioned Luda in the comment right above yours and Jeezy and Rick Ross are one hit wonders who, as I mentioned in the original post, had a quick hit and nothing afterwards.
jeezy,luda,ross...one hit wonders? what the hell!
Never said Luda was a one hit wonder, but Jeezy and Rick Ross sure are. Def Jam did nothing to make sure they'd have staying power. No second or third singles.
I KNOW JAY HAS MESSED UP A LIL BIT AT DEF JAM, BUT HE ALSO PUSHED OUT SOME HEAT IN '05 AND '06 THROUGH DEF JAM. REMEBER RICK ROSS , JEEZY, NEYO, GHOSTFACE, RIHANNA, KANYE WEST, SHAWNA, SHAREEFA, NAS, THE ROOTS, EVEN JUELZ SANTANA. ALL THESE ARTISTS ARE AT DEF JAM, LOOK AT DEF JAM.COM TO SEE IF IM LIE'N OR NOT. JUST BECAUSE HE HAD A FEW ARTIST NOT DO WELL, LADY SOVERIEGN, METH, RED, DOESNT MEAN HES BAD AT HIS JOB. AND TO BE HONEST METH AND RED ARE HAS-BEENS, THEY THE 90'S, I WONT BE SURPRISED IF THEY GOT DROPPED. AND AS FOR LADY SOVERIEGN, U DONT NEED ALOT OF PROMO IF THE STREETS THINK YOU HOT ARE NOT, NO ONE LISTENS TO LADY SOV, IF HER 1ST SINGLE WAS HOT THEN WHY WASNT IT A HIT? ITS NOT JAYS FAULT THAT SHE DOESNT MAKE GOOD MUSIC. IF HER 1ST SINGLE WAS A SUCCESS THEN SHE WOULD OF GOT ALL THE PROMO SHE DESERVED, BUT IT WASNT. DON BLAME JAY.
Man I really wish more people would read before commenting.
"RICK ROSS , JEEZY, NEYO, GHOSTFACE, RIHANNA, KANYE WEST, SHAWNA, SHAREEFA, NAS, THE ROOTS, EVEN JUELZ SANTANA"
I said in the article to throw out the R&B artists because Jay doesn't compete with them for airtime. As for Rick Ross, Jeezy, Ghost, Shawna and The Roots.... look at their soundscan numbers, they're awful. Even Kanye's sales have to be considered disappointing. Nas hasn't released and album on Def Jam yet and Juelz has been shelved.
As for your comment on Lady Sov, she was the hottest import with the biggest buzz when Def Jam signed her. In the span of a year she went from "we gotta hear her" to completely forgotton thanks to Jay's crack staff.
Forget your whole "if the streets think you hot" theory. The streets don't buy the vast majority of albums. I'm talking about the running of the business here.
Young Jeezy is not a one hit wonder...anybody can you tell you that
Whether you personally, or your crew likes more than one song, or have heard more than one song, doens't necessarily mean Jeezy isn't a one hit wonder. Commercially viable singles that crossover are hits. Jeezy has had one so far. Getting heavy airplay in one's own region is great, and hometown support is always necessary, but just because they're playing your music in your own area doesn't make that music a hit. A hit is something national.
Let me give a good example of this. Everyone in Hip-Hop knows and loves Biz Markie. We also know a number of his songs, such as "Just a Friend," "Vapors," "Nobody Beats The Biz" and "Pickin Boogers." In the grand scheme of the music world, however, he is still considered a one hit wonder, as evidenced by his listing as such on VH1's biggest one hit wonders list. While his other songs may have been big in his own community, and even within the greater Hip-Hop community, they never crossed over into "hit" status. The songs are great, the songs are classics, but they weren't hits during his time.
In today's musical landscape, where an artist CAN have a few hits per album, albiet nothing that will be remembered six months from now, most artists AREN'T one hit wonders anymore, which makes the situation at Def Jam even more telling in regards to how poorly the operation is being run.
Sorry Charlie, Jeezy, as of now, is a one hit wonder and a one trick pony. Def Jam probably COULD have squeaked out two or three more singles out of his album but just didn't put forth the effort.
Nice topic to blog about Adam. I think that you're right in many ways about Jay-Z being president, but you're definitely wrong in others. Does he have the credintials of a Lyor Cohen or Russell Simmons when it comes to running a label, no. But is he artist friendly and would he know what an artist is going through, yes. It's simple, would you like to play for a team where the coach has been a player, or would you rather play for that guy who's never played a game in his life or gotten his hands dirty and only knows numbers. Personally I'd like to have that guy I could relate to. That's my take on this situation,yo Adam get @ me!
To the one that said Meth and red are has-beens of the 90's? Thats a very interesting comment considering jay didn't break in till the 90's and even didn't find success till after the death of two hip hop icons.
Red, is once again a label issues, theres plenty of buzz, one he's been marketing himself via the Game Girls video series, with Red Gone Wild etc. Also Numerous Smack DVD appearances (That should cover the 'street heads' in above mentioned places), to call this man whos probably still one of the most talented and energetic bodies in music industry a Hasbeen is an injustice to hip hop itself... Both Meth and Red paid there dues, where as folk's like Rick Ross, Jeezy, and dare I say it ? Jay-Z are nitch rappers called in to fill a void where the public wants someone who sounds like another.
Not to knock Jay, I enjoy his music but the dating itself says alot. He didn't blow up till after the passing of two hip hop icons. Real talk.
As far as being a business man, we talk of the poor numbers in earlier products. He's already got a somewhat fix for that when it comes down to the year end.
4th quarter is def jam's, period. He know's it, he's said it in interviews, and he's gonna be smart with it. With huge releases like his own, and Nas' theres nowhere to go but into the profits for the 4th quarter.
I'm kind of in the middle on this one when it comes to it. Artists like the roots, have a few ways to promote self also along with label. One they're on the road alot, ?uestlove is out there like crazy. On top of that okayplayer (okayplayer.com) does some good publicity out there for them when it comes to the roots and like artists. So they didn't have a hit, I can still guarentee the heads that wanted to hear the new roots heard it and loved it, as it is indeed critically acclaimed as it should be. Unfortantly they just aren't pop enough to be billed by clearchannel and get that extra push that a sub-par artist like jeezy, or the likes would get.
*shrugs* this is frustrating hah, Great artical, some of the comments are a bit odd though :)
Clark Kent and C-Matic, thanks for the comments!
And C-Matic, I know it's a controversial stance, but I agree with you when it comes to how Jay-Z rose to fame. I was living in NYC at the time of Pac and Biggie's deaths and at the time Jay-Z and AZ were on the same level. In fact, some would say AZ was hotter. Jay, and the people around him, just happened to be much better at taking advantage of the situation, so he rose to fame. Then with the deaths of Pun and Big L NYC was REALLY hurting, but for Jay it meant less competition. I'm not taking away from the fact that he did his thing, if he hadn't he would have never made it, but his rise to fame was definitely aided by those tragic events.
You have no credibility dumbass. What do you know about running a label? Jay-Z doesnt decide everything, his main job is recruiting artists.
For all of you that do not in fact know what the duties of a Label President are: Here goes....
Each major label will have its own President who is responsible for all the label activities.
Major Label Departments
What are the key departments at a record label, and what are those departments responsible for? Let's take a look.
For starters, the CEO of a major label will generally oversee the business affairs of all the affiliated labels under their corporate umbrella. Each major label will have its own President who is responsible for all the label activities. For example, at Warner Brothers, there is a president for Warner Brothers Records, a president for Reprise Records, a president of Atlantic Records, etc.
Every department at a major label is usually run by a Senior Vice President, in charge of one of the following:
* The Business Affairs Department takes care of label finances; bookkeeping, payroll, et al.
* The Legal Department handles all contractual issues and other legal responsibilities.
* The A&R (Artists and Repertoire) Department locates and signs new talent. They work with the artist in song selection, choice of producers, recording studio selection and they communicate with the label's Business Affairs Department to make sure all the paperwork and accounting issues involved with the actual recording of an act's record are setup properly. In short, The A&R Department can serve as a liaison between an artist and all the other departments at the label.
* The Art Department supervises all product design jobs, (CD, Tape, Vinyl cover art etc), trade and consumer press advertising, retail sales posters and flats, and other needs of the print media.
* The Marketing Department is responsible for creating the overall marketing plan for every record the label is releasing. They are also involved in coordinating all the promotion, publicity, and sales campaigns that the label is committed to.
* The Publicity Department arranges for any feature stories, interviews, or record reviews in local and national newspapers, magazines, web-zines, as well as the broadcast opportunities for such coverage on radio stations and television. They may also co-ordinate any of these publicity opportunities with an artist's own Publicist.
* The New Media Department produces and promotes the music videos for the label's artists that are shown on MTV, VHl, etc. This department also oversees some promotions and marketing opportunities on the Internet that use the audio and video technologies available from online hardware and software sites that support music..
* The Artist Development Department usually oversees the career planning of artists signed to the label. This department coordinates a consistent marketing and promotion presence for an artist throughout their career with the record label. The Artist Development Department has changed over the last decade. Many labels no longer have such a department. Others have changed the name to Product Development and concentrate more on "breaking," or promoting artists quickly in order to try to speed up the return on their financial investment. The pressure to return a profit to shareholders has changed the face of the music business dramatically in recent years, so the emphasis has been more on Product Development, and securing a hit as fast as possible.
* The Sales Department oversees all the retail activities of the label, and concentrates on building relationships with the key record store chains and other mass-market retailers. The Sales staff coordinate their efforts with the major label's distribution company, as well as communicating regularly with the Promotion and Publicity departments at the label.
* The Label Liaison is the person who coordinates the business of the major label's distribution company with the needs of their parent record labels. Street dates, (the date that a new release goes on sale at music retailers), must be approved by the label's distribution company
* The Promotion Department's primary goal is secure radio airplay for their company's new releases. Their ability to get songs played on the radio is central to the success of the whole company. The Promotion department is closely connected to and constantly communicating with other departments within the label to make sure that all strategies being used to market and sell an artist's record are working together properly. Soliciting videos to MTV, VH1, BET and other music oriented television networks and programs may also be the responsibility of this department. At some labels this job is a separate department, or part of the New Media department.
Every department at a record label plays an essential role in the success or failure of the company. They are team members, working together toward the goal of selling their records, cassettes and CDs as one lean, mean machine.
Yes and for all you folks that can't agree with folks so you call them names really think about how silly your are. Name calling is very juvenile.
I have a question for everyone who says that Jay does not have the experience to run a label. Did he not run his own label Rocafella? I know that the label was under the Def Jam umbrella, but he does have some type of experience. I don't believe that Jay is doing a lot of self promoting--I don't think he has too. All he had to say was that he was coming out with an album-nuff said. As for Jay rapping even though he is the president, as anyone ever gotten such an attitude over Puffy or JD? Does anyone on here have the credentials or the experience to run a label? I don't necessarily like Jay, but everyone is dogging him out telling him how to do his job. How about we do this, everyone on here who has a problem can go and apply for his job and see how far you get.
Since there's been a huge influx of comments today I would just like to say from here on out anyone who posts Anonymously will have their comments deleted and anyone who posts any racial slurs (like the last anonymous did) will also be deleted.
I have no problem with constructive criticism, if you read all the comments you will see that, but random acts of stupidity will not be tolerated in my world. :)
This is getting redundant and absolutely ignorant. Jay messed up period. He is not that great of a lyricist, seeing as though he borrows or rather takes on others lyrics. There's an 18 year old called "The Kid" from a country town Oklahoma that would murder half the artists out right now, but that's not the business of business. It's called having and maintaining a successful strategy so everyone can eat. Jay's trying to keep up with the assets he collects and forgetting about appeasing his role. To make it plain and clear, he's a has been, but won't let it go. The music that made him famous was jumpstarted from other artists so he has no original creativity. He might be a business man of sorts but he's lazy and selfish..... that's why his music is so redundant and deliveries off beat. He's just down right lazy and thinks people will cop from his name. That's the sad part.
Great stuff bro very thought provoking! Alright enough daps. Well you are right in many ways but you've forgotten to mention to our friends the nature of the GAME.The powers thet be above jigga are banking on Jigga the artist not so much the corporate pirate.I'm close to parties involved and I love everyone mentioned and those in the crew not so much B4, though. The shareholders(heads of the five families,kinda) thought Jay would be a great way to attract new talent.Also giving Jay total creative control in his own work. We're always trading shit up or down in this life.Fortunately he's got a solid crew behind him helping him make some hard choices. But, for him to be a true executive someone has to relinquish or choose one.Will I be the marquee flagship dude or be a savvy architect of possibly the next biggest thang right up there with Heller,Simmons and Blackwell.As simple as it may sound the music game now is so fuct!! I think it's better for artist to helm the ship, but they gotta give up the bling and BS and really think about sampling more than beats from the past!
Yes, this is your colleague Deshair, Editor for XPOZ magazine. First of all, I'd like to congratulate you for sparking so much banter in such a short time. The truth of the matter is, if you weren't talking about Jay-Z, people wouldn't be this inspired to post comments. If you were talking about a "Method Man" for instance, people most likely would have read your story and kept it moving.
ok, let me break down a few things, because there were a lot of holes in everybody's comments, and I'm sure that there will be a few holes in mine...
* Method Man: Method Man isn't all that sociable, for one. He was a part of one of the worse Fox shows to ever hit primetime, which stained his and Redman's name. His debut single "Say" featuring Lauryn Hill was nothing more than spewing his anger towards his doubters and neither radio or the internet caught onto the song. In the end, you can't blast the people who will promote you through write-ups. If nobody is talking about you positively or negatively, you're not going to get any money for a video. But wait a second, isn't money for video's paid out of the artist budget? What if he didn't recoup from previous albums and his budget is minimal... that would mean that he probably didn't have enough money to do a video, and the only thing that would have helped was strong radio airplay and allure which translates into record sales. Method was in a lose/lose to begin with.
LL Cool J: He made his complaints about Jay, but he didn't open his mouth until he started hanging around 50. And I'm sorry, you and I (Adam) are true hip hop heads... LL's last album was trash by his own standards. He did a duets album. And on top of that Ryan Toby from City High wrote an amount of his lyrics on his debut single with J. Lo. LL had cover stories all over the place this summer. He had the promotion, he just didn't have what people have come to expect from him... hit records. And plus, it just seemed like he hurried that album to help complete his contract requirements. And on top of that, he admited to using steriods in Ebony magazine. That alone could have deflated his female fanbase...
Lady Sov: Well she is just a fresh new face. She was behind the 8-Ball before she came to the states with her music, and I'm sure that in her heart of hearts, she knows that as well. Can any of us name a Platinum selling female rapper over the past 2 years. Let alone, this girl has a strong accent and her true audience is more into JoJo than Lady Sov. Just a tough roll of the dice.
Young Jeezy: Has a new album coming out next month, just a year apart from his debut album... plus he has a "Big Record Sound" with his debut single "I Luv It". He also has an underground/mix-tape following that spans the nation. He went multi-platinum his first time around, and he just might do it again. He just might be a one-hit wonder to the mainstream, but he is the truth on the Mix-Tape circuit which fuels his record sales.
In closing, I believe that Jay-Z is playing his part. He, like P. Diddy, are the faces of their labels. They've earned the right to be the center of attention... well at least Jay did. Yes, Jay-Z should use his name to build his artists. Wait, he just did that over the weekend when he was interviewed with Fabolous sitting next to him. Jay totally respects Fabolous's lyrical acumen. Could that be a sign of favortism? Did Jay ever have any problems with Method Man or LL? That's possible, because artists will be artists. Is that the reason why their albums didn't move off the shelves... I just don't believe that's the case. C'mon, even DMX was running his mouth. All of these artists, including Jay are in their mid to late 30's, that are complaining. I think that people need to take that into account more than just blaming it on Jay. These artists are "Family Men"... when somewhere along the line of their careers, they should have worked more on being business men. I will not wear a shirt that says, "Todd Smith" on it - the youth aren't wearing Wu-Leather Jackets anymore - and DMX admitted to being raped by a woman he had a child with... the records are just flying off of the shelves now. In the end, Mr. Carter rose to the top of it all. If you're not at the top of your game after 10 to 20 years of your career, and you're complaining about promotion, you can't blame the President. You're experience and tenure alone should sell records even if you don't have a commercial or video out - your fans will make sure that people know you're coming out. You don't hear Jeezy, Ross, Ghostface or even Juelz complaining about their situations at Def Jam. That's just my opinion, man.
Awesome comment on the blog, man! Thanks.
I disagree with you on Lady Sov, though. Hip-Hop heads like us have been feeling her for years now and it wouldn't have taken anything other than Jay sitting next to HER instead of Fabolous to put her over the top. Fab isn't even on Def Jam and while it's nice Jay digs Fab as a rapper, and maybe even as a person, as the President of a company shouldn't he be reserving those kind of props for those on his label?
Also, all the times I've spoken with Meth he's been pretty nice. A bit caustic when things like Soul Plane and the Red & Meth show are brought up, but always willing to answer any question.
All I can say is: conflict of interest...
It's called the Diddy-Syndrome and every artist signed at the infected label is doomed...
Mannnnnn....When I furst saw the title of this I was like "What the hell is this guy on??" But this is a very insightfull and informative article yo. Due has some straight articles to especially bout the producers. keep it up mayne...you got skills behind the pen...nahh talm bott?
Yo...Deshair is the only person on here making the best sense to me. Respect to Adam, for the thought provoking blog but I'm not feeling your points. If anything Jay-z is helping Def Jam. How? There is so much light on Def Jam as a label right now just to see if Jay-z will mess up or not, for one thing. His presence at the label brings light to the entire roster.
His tenure at Roc-a-fella was an 8 year audition for the president role. Yeah, Yeah, I know, he was the biggest selling artist on the label, which leads me to this point. Alot of the responsibility on an artist's success, rest at the feet of the artist. The only ones that were really hot artist on The Roc were BEANIE, CAM, & KANYE. Guess what...they all had success.
People are quick to point the finger a Jay just because its Jay. The bottom line is, these artist need to make hotter music. Music hot enough for the masses to buy. But the bigger problem is this...NO ONE IS A FAN ANYMORE! What I mean is FANS of a particular artist. SURE, some of us are but the masses just sit back with our arms folded and say "entertain me". Don't even get into the EVIL INTERNET. Our parents bought James Brown, Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye, Earth Wind & Fire, etc...because they love them. NO MATTER WHAT THEY PUT OUT. Today we are spoiled and want each album to be a classic. God forbid an artist steps out of their "niche" and try to do something different (i.e. Kingdom Come).
Adam, if the head of Def Jam was not a famous rapper no one would be blaming Jay-z. Folks would say, "Damn, Def Jam sure did mess up Ghost's album!" And on that note, answer this for me, why would Jay-z go out of his way to make sure Ghost dropped TWO albums in one year and not give that type of love to METH? BECAUSE METH'S TIME IS UP AND HE'S HIS ON WORST ENEMY. Plus, his new music isn't that hot anymore. Plus, Jay-z mention in his XXL interview that METH hadn't even met STEVE BARTELS at Universal and he's been there his entire career. Now that's crazy.
Adam, you keep mentioning that DEF JAM is a business, OK so why should they put out albums that for sure will flop in TODAY'S MARKET? (METH, RED,etc). They can't just throw millions away like that bruh. Plus, Jay-z created Def Jam Left specifically for groups like The Roots, so when they flopped (and they did...again), the label hadn't invested to much. Speaking of The Roots, I'm 29 years old, and The Roots have been out since I was in high school. Everybody that listens to hip hop knows them. Plus, everybody knows they're on Def Jam but nobody bought their album? That's Jay-z's fault? No, the fact that they switch up every album and never fully satisfy audience is the bigger problem.
Lastly, you also continue to mention Jay using other artist's budget. How do you know that? Did you see him move that line item? It's all love but we don't know that for sure. Plus, if you really pay attention to the promotion of "Kingdom Come" you'd notice that Jay-z cross promoted the album with things HE is already involved in...ESPN Interview (he's a nba owner), Budweiser Commercials (he has a job with Bud now, I'm sure that was on Bud's dime not Def Jam), he did ENDLESS interviews. He was even on THE STEVE HARVEY MORNING SHOW and they don't even play rap music. DAWG, its his fame and hustle that provided the success of the this album. Plus, he did the world tour, & the Reasonable Doubt show. Let me know forget taking over 106 & Park for the entire show. The most watch video show on tv now. EVEN Nas said that if he catches a brick it's not his fault. Oh yeah, Jeezy sold 2 million and came out with 4 videos ("and then what", soul suvivor", "my hood", & "Go Crazy"). And Rick Ross is plat or close to it too!
1 MORE THING, where can Jay-z be better? Recruiting hotter artists and dropping some of the ones that aren't selling anymore or at all(Bleek too). AND, be as creative with with the DEF JAM artists as he is with his own career.....I'M GONE!
A few issues with what you said:
"The only ones that were really hot artist on The Roc were BEANIE, CAM, & KANYE."
Two Words: SAUCE MONEY
"Adam, if the head of Def Jam was not a famous rapper no one would be blaming Jay-z.
Well yes, if the head of Def Jam wasn't Jay-Z no one would be blaming Jay-Z. The fact of the matter is I blamed LA Reid (now a top dawg at Def Jam) for the mismanagement of Arista (how can you go bankrupt with two of the top selling acts of all-time?) and will lay part of the blame on him when Def Jam fails.
"The Roots have been out since I was in high school. Everybody that listens to hip hop knows them. Plus, everybody knows they're on Def Jam but nobody bought their album? That's Jay-z's fault?"
YES! It's called poor promotion. That's part of Jay's job!
And the point that a lot of people seem to be missing is that while you may love that he took over 106 & Park, and that Jay was everywhere for a month before his album came out my point was, and still is, HE DIDN'T NEED TO DO THAT. HIS OTHER ARTISTS NEEDED THAT TIME. THAT is why he is awful as a "president."
"Two Words: SAUCE MONEY"
Adam, come on man....lmao. I don't think he was officially signed to THE ROC. Anyway, even though he had some hot rhymes on Reasonable Doubt, is Sauce Money a Gold or Platinum artist? I personally don't think so and apparantly Dame, Biggs, nor Jay thought so either.
"YES! It's called poor promotion. That's part of Jay's job!"
My point about The Roots is no one is buying their album anyway! So Def Jam is not going dump a whole bunch of money into the promotion. That's why they were signed to DEF JAM LEFT. They signed on for a smaller budget. AGAIN, that's their fault!
"HE DIDN'T NEED TO DO THAT. HIS OTHER ARTISTS NEEDED THAT TIME. THAT is why he is awful as a "president.""
Yo Adam, did you see the show. He perform with the Biggest Def Jam artist...NAS. Plus, Jay-z is the only rapper that can shutdown 106&PARK's entire show. BET wouldn't not do that for anyone else. You have to know that Adam. And even if you try to make an arguemnt for NAS or anyone else, it's simply no one on Def Jam with that much star power to do that. Come on Adam.
Good point about LA Reid though.
"Two Words: SAUCE MONEY"
Adam, come on man....lmao. I don't think he was officially signed to THE ROC. Anyway, even though he had some hot rhymes on Reasonable Doubt, is Sauce Money a Gold or Platinum artist? I personally don't think so and apparantly Dame, Biggs, nor Jay thought so either.
Actually not only was he signed to Rocafella, he released "Middle Finger U" on the label (it was distributed through Priority) (an album that was lost in the massive push of all thing Jay-Z and Jay-Z friend related). The main reason The Roc didn't push him is he was Puffy's ghostwriter and most people didn't realize he was dumbing down his lyrics for Puffy. Anyone who's heard his numerous mixtape appearnces from the 90's knows Sauce was one of the top signed MC's of that time.
My point about The Roots is no one is buying their album anyway! So Def Jam is not going dump a whole bunch of money into the promotion.
This is probably the exact backwards reasoning Def Jam has given The Roots, too. "You're album isn't selling so we won't put money into it." Back in the day artists would get a second and third single pushed just so the label could move the album. Heck a few years ago Usher released three singles before 8701 really moved.