Throughout his career, Kendrick Lamar has been signed to Top Dawg Entertainment. However, the young rapper has been on the radar of major labels for years. Before his current joint venture deal with Aftermath/Interscope, which landed his own Top Dawg label with Interscope, Kendrick Lamar was signed to Def Jam.
Def Jam went through a growth in the mid-2000s, as Jay-Z was running the label. During this period of time, Ne-Yo, Rihanna, Janet Jackson, Rick Ross, Kanye West, and many others were added to the roster of the label. Jermaine Dupri also took an executive role with the label. Kendrick Lamar was also among the artists on the label at this time, though he was unknown.
MTV’s “Hip Hop POV” recently caught up with Kendrick Lamar and he spoke on Jay-Z, who has helped him in his career. Obviously, the discussion of Jay-Z led to Kendrick Lamar reflecting on his time being signed to Def Jam. Early in Jay-Z’s presidency of Def Jam, there were rumors of him launching a branch of Def Jam for the West Coast.
Watch the entire interview below: