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Universal Music Group announces launch of Def Jam Africa

Following Def Jam Recordings, Def Jam Africa is a new label division dedicated to representing the best hip-hop, Afrobeats and trap talent in Africa

Universal Music Group (UMG) has announced the launch of Def Jam Africa, a new label division dedicated to representing the best hip-hop, Afrobeats and trap talent in Africa.

Def Jam Africa will follow the blueprint of the Def Jam Recordings label, which has led and influenced hip-hop and urban culture for more than 35 years.

The label will initially be based in Johannesburg, South Africa, and Lagos, Nigeria, but will identify and sign artist talent from across the continent.

It 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, MD, Universal Music Sub-Saharan Africa & South Africa.

The label launches with a flagship roster which includes:

  • 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)
  • Vector (Nigeria)

Sipho Dlamini said:

‘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.

‘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.

‘Together, we will build a new community of artists that will push the boundaries of hip-hop from Africa to reach new audiences globally.’