Rap Basement


Chuck D wants to be President of Def Jam

Posted By on December 29, 2007

As Jay-Z vacates his post as Def Jam president, another Def Jam legend is vying for the high-level music industry position.

Chuck D of iconic group Public Enemy says he is the person for the job.

"After 10 years looking on the collapsing of the record industry, and
upon hearing the news of Jay-Z stepping down from Def Jam, I would
throw my name into the hat of somebody who understands how the hell
Universal should establish the name-brands they acquire with
stockholders money," Chuck D told AllHipHop.com.

Chuck D, real name Carlton Douglas Ridenhour, recorded under the Def
Jam banner from 1987 to 1998 and churned out some of the label's
biggest hits as the lead rapper of Public Enemy.

The rapper has always been a proponent of the internet and launched
Rapstation.com in 1999 to offer readers free MP3 downloads and even
downloadable ringtones, among other progressive elements.

Chuck D, who also runs his own Slam Jamz label, said that running Def
Jam is a more viable option than tossing his hat into the political

"So instead of me running for politics, this is an easier run into the
world of influential culture," he continued. "I'm in Los Angeles,
Atlanta and New York on the regular as well as I [thoroughly
understand] the international picture," Chuck said. "There would be
some seismic changes, and I would be a little Huey Long-ish at it. If
folks are clueless about this parallel that's precisely the problem."
[Editor's note: Huey P. Long was a Great Depression-era politician that
was hugely popular and successful. He was killed shortly after
announcing a bid for the presidency.]

Chuck D also said that Jay-Z didn't quite have time to grow as the CEO,
but cited what has been speculated that he'll be with Def Jam
co-founder Rick Rubin at Sony Records.

"I think a person like Jay-Z needed a bit more time, but I could
imagine his corporate limitations, and he's gonna be working alongside
a true music cat R.R. [Rick Rubin] to do his thing."

The music business' chief concern these days is monetary return and
Chuck D, who is renowned for his political and social consciousness,
said he could generate revenue as well.

"I'd show them how to make a profit, if they care. I will bring the
noise. It will be interesting to hear the requirements here [for the
job]," he concluded.

No successor to Jay-Z has been named at Def Jam and there is
speculation as to who will become the next president of the legendary

Jermaine Dupri, Jimmy "Henchmen" Rosemond and Damon Dash have all been mentioned as potential candidates for the position.

Chuck D outlined his plan for Def Jam, as seen below:

1) Being ahead of the technology curve; preparing for a thinned out
industry; and managing budget efficient acts is very noteworthy of my
resume which is simple. I told these cats the online revolution was
coming and they needed big adjustments. They relied on lawyers, courts,
and accountants only to now look upward at Apple, etc.

2) Their cost factors didn't fit the times, I come from a world where
the $50,000 investments resulted into 6 – 7 figures. Now it's a
business where 7 figures are invested to make 6.

3) I would run it like sports. These artists would be busting their
tails on tour and on the stage to gain a fan. They would be coached on
how to do their thing right. Braintrust will be high, and
subcontracting to the right contributors will be comparable of the
efficiency of these labels like Jazz and catalog departments. You
cannot have people working, that haven't the slightest clue of what
they are in the middle of.

4) Any criminal mindedness in artistry, and management would have sit
this one out, go their own way. It's like bad apples the long run ain't
got nothing to do with entertainment. You can't mix the stage and off
stage parodies.