Southern rapper Scarface recently explained leaving his Def Jam South President post a few years ago.
According to Face Mob, he would have stayed at the label if given another opportunity.
“I think when the powers, Lyor [Cohen], Kevin [Liles] — when everybody left Def Jam, when the wigs left, like, I was over there with LA Reid,” Face revealed in an interview with radio personality EI8HT. “And I didn’t know what kind of sh*t was getting ready to go on over there. So I wanted to save him the hassle of dealing with me because I know I’m not the easiest motherf*cker in the world to deal with. And I respect the move and the decisions that he made by releasing me because I asked him, man to man, to release me and he said, ‘Well, you know I would like to at least sit-down and talk to you but if you still want to leave, I understand.’ A couple of my friends got on that flight to see LA Reid, but I never got on it. I didn’t feel the need to…I was long gone before Jay-Z took over. Then I was like oh sh*t, let me get my a** back over here. [laughs] We live with the decisions that we make and I was ready to get the f*ck on because I didn’t feel like LA was gonna be for me. I felt like LA was a musician, an artist too, and I didn’t really want anybody interfering with the way I thought about my music, the way I made up my sh*t. So I thought it would be best to part ways…If I could do it all again, I’d take that meeting with LA Reid and I’d still be over at Def Jam South, I’m sure because I don’t know what’s coming out on that label anymore. ” (“Street Disciplez Radio”)
The label was set-up more than a decade ago.
In the late 1990s, hip-hop’s main popularity moved from East Coast hip hop to Southern hip hop. Russell Simmons, the founder of Def Jam which is a New York-based label, wanted to capitalize off of the success that southern rap was having. He would recruit Scarface to be the head of the label. By 1999, the label was established. Ludacris would become one of the biggest stars in the hip hop market and would lead the label to great heights. Despite this, Island Def Jam could not afford to finance the label anymore so they shut it down in 2003. (Wikipedia)
DJ Khaled was made Def Jam South’s president in February 2009.
“This is what I’ve always wanted to do, is be an executive and take it to another level,” Khaled told MTV. “L.A. [Reid] just hit me one day. He was like, ‘We should bring Khaled on board. He makes hits, he has relationships.’ I got a team of producers and we go in hard. My job is to bring hits to the table and work with new artists and work with established artists. I’m bringing new energy to the game and to the building.” (Hiptics)
His position at the label would later be co-signed by artists like Rick Ross and Fat Joe.
“No one has ever seen an executive like DJ Khaled,” Joe said in an interview. “Everybody in the music business who’s an executive has been polished for the job. Khaled comes with the energy that hasn’t been seen in this game, ever, from the day that f*cking Lyor Cohen and Russell Simmons opened Def Jam! He’s going to put out nothing but hits. And I expect him to be one of the biggest executives in a couple of years, the hip-hop game has ever seen. I guarantee he’s going to be an executive of a lifetime. Remember I told you.” (Complex)
Check out Scarface talking about being the Def Jam South president below: