Monday, October 23, 2006

Def Jam lacking?

Def Jam Records announced a slew of late-2006 albums on their Web site, amid controversy about the marketing and promotion of their recent releases.

Atlanta rapper Young Jeezy and singer Bobby Valentino will release new records on Dec. 12, while Fabolous and hip-hop veterans Ghostface Killah and Nas will bow new albums on Dec. 19. This will be Fabolous and Nas’ first material released on Def Jam.

Def Jam, the legendary hip-hop label that brought the world hip-hop greats like the Beastie Boys, LLCoolJ and Jay-Z, was always known for the great promotion its artists received, promotion they likely wouldn’t receive on the bigger, non-hip-hop-oriented labels. But recently they’ve come under criticism.

Recent albums by LLCoolJ and Method Man, both of whom have been on the label for more than a decade, received little promotion, with neither album having songs in major radio play and Method Man not even getting a music video. The Roots, who fled to Def Jam after dealing with a years-long battle with Geffen Records, also received little promotion and radio play for their outstanding Game Theory. LLCoolJ, Method Man and Black Thought of The Roots have all been vocal about their displeasure with Def Jam.

Now, Def Jam is cramming five albums into two release dates. The label, which once spaced their releases months apart in order to maximize sales, is now dumping big releases together in a short span of time, which may have a negative effect on sales because fans may not have money to buy them all. Not to mention that Def Jam president Jay-Z’s comeback album, Kingdom Come, which is sure to be one of the best-selling albums of 2006, will be released on Nov. 21, less than a month before.


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