February 20, 2009
New York, NY – After the death of the late Shakir Stewart, Def Jam has been slowly working on finding someone with enough qualifications to fill Stewart’s position. Sometime last week, the former senior executive of Atlantic Records, Christopher Hicks, took on the role as he was recently appointed the new Executive Vice President at Def Jam. With that position, Hicks understood what obligations he had acquired as the label has been making major headlines as of late.
Lately, Def Jam artists have been under fire, especially with the media, as it has become the cover story on every website and outlet. There is the recent feud with Rick Ross and 50 Cent, the situation with Rihanna and Chris Brown, and of course, the future status of Hip-Hop mogul, Jay-Z. It is evident that the new appointee has a lot on his plate. Hicks recently spoke to MTV News with the situations in front of him; he has now taken them into his own hands. MTV News went down the list of the latest state of affairs concerning his artists.
With the situation with Rihanna, Hicks agrees with Jay-Z’s earlier statement when omitting his own:
"I would support Jay's sentiment and just ask people to reflect on the time when they were [her age]. Unfortunately in her case, she happens to be famous. But there's a lot of growing pains you go through at a young age, and we should all be able to recollect [that] and be as supportive as we can."
As MTV questioned Hicks about the feud between Ross and 50, he states that he spoke to Ross about it personally and says that it is just something artists go through as time passes. He’s confident that it will not lead to violence:
"Hip-hop is predicated on battles of some sort, so if they don't cross some line of violence, which we all hope and are confident they won't, these things happen."
Now with the Jay-Z situation, we are aware that he inked a hefty deal with Live Nation a while back and it is said that the ‘Blueprint 3’ is to be the last album on Def Jam, but now they’re not quite sure which label he will plan to release that soon to be classic on, however under contractual terms he owes Def Jam one more album. Hicks answers to that with a simple short response and a quick laugh:
"I'm not sure, no comment, actually."
The new appointed VP of Def Jam has a lot of work cut out for him, but he seems to take it all in with confidence, especially with the arrival and developments of new artists. He left MTV with this conclusion:
"The development and replenishment of superstar acts coming into the fold here, [that's one of] the key points of focus for me and all of us here. That's gonna keep the wheels going 'round here, no question."
At press time, Def Jam has just announced that they will be releasing a special 25th Anniversary compilation album entitled ‘Def Jam 25.’ It will include hits from artists from 10 years ago until now, artists like Public Enemy, LL Cool J, Slick Rick, 3rd Bass, Jay-Z, Kanye West, DMX, Rihanna, Ludacris, Rick Ross, Young Jeezy, and many more. They plan on releasing a limited edition quad-piece LP with Volume 1 and Volume 2 combined into 1 LP set.