Def Jam’s Redman has called out his label’s inability to adapt to the current musical climate and explained why the renowned company has lost its place as one of the leading businesses in the entertainment industry.
Red believes Def Jam has failed to keep up with the evolution of the Internet age.
“Well [now], Def Jam are not leaders. They’re not leaders plain and simple, because it’s changed. They’re not leaders like they used to be. In the ’90’s they were leaders. They were the label that you considered the mechanics of hip-hop; they’re under the car. They were the ones under the car getting greasy, getting dirty, fixing that muffler that drags when everybody loved that sh*t and was following it. Now they’re playing the follower. They’re followers, they’re not building artists no more like they should. And that’s just the game. It’s not they fault. We got into the Internet world and sh*t is moving fast and came so fast and came so quick that labels couldn’t exist, but still they got the money and they’re a company. They’re supposed to adjust. I think they need to get that going. Being a label, being on top.” (XXL Mag)
The rapper also said artists’ self-promotion has hurt record labels like Def Jam.
“Yeah they have to play catch up,” Red added. “They have to catch up now. The way the labels were ran back then in the ’90’s. We had tapes and even from studio equipment a lot of people weren’t prepared for that– like getting rid of their 24 track reel tapes. So yes, it came up quick on a lot of labels with this viral [thing] and [now] you’re able to do songs in the comforts of your own home and not having to go to a big studio. They shutting studios down, you can get known through Facebook or whatever. You don’t have to wait for a label to put you out now, so yes I think the labels are shut down a little bit and sizing down a lot.” (XXL Mag)
Last year, rap pioneer KRS-One accused Def Jam of destroying hip-hop.
“Def Jam is the dopest label in hip-hop, in the culture of hip-hop,” he explained in an interview. “There really would be no hip-hop as we know it today if it wasn’t for Def Jam. But you don’t get that respect without also being the label that single-handedly destroyed hip-hop…Every time you think of what’s wrong with hip-hop, the lyrics, the commercialized music, one artist being played on the radio all day, things like that, that’s all Def Jam…We respect it. It’s a respect cause we all competing, so Def Jam had the hardest competition, but the hardest competition as I showed the respect, I also showed the truth. And the truth is everybody else had to sit down so Def Jam could be who they are.” (XXL Video)
Prior to recently apologizing, Def Jam’s Shyne hit up SOHH and aired out his frustrations with the label.
“I’m definitely trying to get with Cash Money but the Def Jam thing is a question mark right now,” Shyne told SOHH. “I’ve been fixing to get up out of there for a while now because [Island Def Jam CEO] L.A. Reid don’t care about hip-hop. The people up there, they don’t know what they’re doing. When you don’t have a strong leader, where you gonna go? … They don’t care about hip-hop music. You give them a hip-hop record with an R&B singer, you “might” have a chance. They don’t care. You got The Roots, Ghostface, Nas, probably the best hip-hop roster you could imagine and they do nothing. L.A. Reid doesn’t want nothing to do with rappers — it’s nothing personal, I don’t have nothing personal with dude but he makes it known he doesn’t care about hip-hop. So I’m really interested in seeing who’s gonna replace him. Because I know he’s been replaced — so I wanna find out who’s gonna take his spot before I decide what I’m gonna do with Def Jam…The music that we make is responsible for pop, R&B, everything that’s jumping right now…” (SOHH)
Check out a recent Redman interview below: