All Def Music: Record Label Transformations

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  • Russell Simmons
  • Roc-A-Fella, Roc Nation
  • Priority Records
  • Maybach Music Group
  • The Inc.
  • YMCMB, Cash Money Records
  • Gucci Mane, Brick Squad
  • Wu Tang Clan, Loud Records
  • Ruffhouse Records
  • Romeo
  • Snoop, Death Row Records

From Roc-A-Fella Records to Roc Nation

Roc-A-Fella Records was born out of a partnership between then rising mogul Damon Dash and a young Jay Z, who was being rejected by the major labels. The two decided to release independently and sign their own artists. After years of success, Hov’s relationship with Dash became strained, and it was agreed without Dash’s knowledge that the label would be sold to Def Jam for $10 million. Jay became president of Def Jam (for a brief stint before resigning). Dash attempted to reclaim the Roc brand with Roc4Life under Def Jam (but to no avail). And, in 2008, Jay singed a $150 million deal with Live Nation, including funds to cover overhead of what is now known as Roc Nation, which boasts management of the likes of J. Cole, Rihanna and Wale.

(Photos from left: Roc Nation, Roc-a-Fella Records)

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