It is no secret about Def Jam’s struggles over the past few years. Since 2008, Def Jam has lost a large number of their talent and their stable of artists are entering side label ventures. Last year, Rick Ross created a distribution deal with Warner Bros. Records for his Maybach Music label, despite being signed to Def Jam. There are rumors of other artists leaving the label.
The last time Def Jam was in this situation was the early 1990s. Despite the strong sales from flagship artist, LL Cool J, the label was falling apart. At the time, Irv Gotti was an A&R for the label and he signed Jay-Z, DMX, and Ja Rule within a year of each other. Each rapper created a strong buzz and Def Jam granted Irv Gotti his own label for his hard work.
Under Def Jam, Irv Gotti enjoyed his own five-year run on top of the game. Meanwhile, the overall Def Jam label prospered from the success of Roc-A-Fella, DMX, Murder Inc., Disturbing tha Peace, and their roster of artists. However, once the decline began, there was no one to stop it.
Jay-Z took over as CEO of Def Jam in 2004 and signed several artists. By 2008, Jay-Z left the label and shut down Roc-A-Fella Records in favor of Roc Nation. Since Jay-Z left, Irv Gotti said Def Jam has not had any executives who care about the artists. During his interview with MTV, the former superstar producer said they should let him, or someone who cares run the label. While many are paying more attention to Def Jam’s situation, Irv Gotti wants to make a few things clear.
While he said he could run the label, Gotti is not campaiging for the role of CEO. Irv Gotti said he wants to make it clear it was the people who started the “Irv Gotti” for president movement. The Murder Inc. CEO also said he appreciates the love and support he has received from the fans and from peers about his statements about Def Jam.