Even before Irv Gotti outed the problems at Def Jam on MTV, many were discussing how the label had been in freefall since the depature of Jay-Z. When Jay-Z stepped down as head of Def Jam, he was replaced by Shakir Stewart, who committed suicide only months into his run. Since Stewart, there has not been anyone in charge of the overall Def Jam label.
Several articles have been written about the bad place Def Jam is in. Perhaps the figures at Universal read over the hundreds of articles and decided to do something. Yesterday, several hip hop websites reported former Warner Music Group executive, Joie Manda, had taken over at Def Jam. Initially, the story was reported as a rumor.
The Source was among the hip hop media outlets reporting on the story, however they agreed to interview Joie Manda the following day. As promised, The Source did land Joie Manda for an interview, discussing his new role at Def Jam, which was confirmed this morning. Before his interview with The Source, Joie Manda and Barry Weiss, an executive of the Universal Music Group, released statements.
Read Joie Manda’s statement below:
“Running Def Jam is the greatest challenge of my career and I am appreciative to Barry Weiss for his faith in appointing me to this position. Iâ€™m excited to work alongside Steve Bartels, who is one of the most talented music execs in the business and who has played such an important role in building the IDJ team. The Def Jam artist roster has always been synonymous with the greatest in hip-hop, and I intend to carry that tradition into the future.”
Read Barry Weiss’ statement below:
“As we look to expand Def Jam and our creative urban music activities even further, there is no one better to lead them than Joie. He has emerged as one of the most respected young executives in todayâ€™s Urban music landscape, possessing all the qualifications and experience that are essential to run Def Jam, the worldâ€™s most important hip-hop destination. The entire Def Jam family looks forward to working closely with Joie as he puts his unique imprint on the next chapter in the labelâ€™s storied and successful history.”
Speaking with The Source, Joie Manda revealed his journey, which has landed him in the corner office of Def Jam. Manda was a hardcore hip hop head, a fan of Run-DMC, Big Daddy Kane, and others. For his thirteenth birthday, his mother purchased turntables for Manda and he became a DJ. Soon, Joie Manda became a party promoter, landing a job at club Palladium, meeting Funkmaster Flex and becoming his business partner.
Joie Manda helped Funkmaster Flex release an album, in 1999, on Def Jam, before he took an executive position at Loud Records, helping Flex release an album there, also. After this, Lyor Cohen contacted Joie Manda and hired him to run the revamped Asylum Records, which became an outlet for hip hop. Under Manda’s watch, Mike Jones, Cee-Lo, and other hip hop artists released music through Asylum. Joie Manda also discussed his opinion of success, with the rest of the interview being available in the next issue of The Source.