Universal Music Group launches Def Jam 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.

Following the creation of Def Jam South East Asia last September, the new label division will initially be based in Johannesburg, South Africa and Lagos, Nigeria, but will identify and sign hip-hop, Afrobeats and trap talent from across Africa.

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

The label will be supported by dedicated UMG A&R, marketing, creative and digital teams from Nigeria and South Africa and will be led by Sipho Dlamini, the managing director of Universal Music Sub-Saharan Africa & South Africa.

Dlamini said, "Def Jam has always been the ultimate destination for hip-hop and urban culture worldwide. Many of us in Africa grew up listening to artists associated with prominent labels under the UMG umbrella.

The label has already signed some of the most influential music artists, including 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) and Vector (Nigeria).

Jeff Harleston, Def Jam interim Chairman & CEO said, “Def Jam is a globally recognised brand, synonymous with excellence in hip-hop, and we welcome the launch of Def Jam Africa as an opportunity for audiences worldwide to discover the incredibly talented hip-hop artists emerging from across the continent.”

He added: "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."

Earlier this year it was announced that South African rapper Nasty C will release his forthcoming album Zulu Man with Some Power in partnership with Def Jam Records in the US, during summer, 2020.

Other releases expected later this year include singles from Ricky Tyler, Boity, Nasty C, Tellaman feat. Alpha P, Vector, Cassper Nyovest and Tshego.