ON Tuesday, Universal Music Group announced the launch of Def Jam Africa, a new label division within the continent, dedicated, according to the company’s press release, to delivering “the best hip hop, Afrobeats and trap talent in Africa, and will follow the blueprint of the iconic Def Jam Recordings label”.
The label will have its base in Johannesburg, South Africa and Lagos, Nigeria and supported by digital teams, A&R and marketing teams in both Nigeria and South Africa, with South Africa’s Sipho Dlamini as the managing director of Universal Music sub-Saharan region and South Africa.
Artistes on the pioneering roster include Cassper Nyovest (South Africa), Nasty C (South Africa), Larry Gaaga (South Africa) and Boity (South Africa), and Vector (Nigeria). Def Jam will have its own identity and resources channelled towards the artists in the specific genres.
Aside from the fact that Nadia Nakai has Zimbabwean roots, she lists as South African. Zimbabwean artistes will be eyeing an opportunity to be signed to this global music industry player, which is widely dominated by South African and Nigerian artistes.
The artistes from the two countries are currently vying for dominance on the continent. The countries have the two biggest economies on the continent. The correlation between a healthy economy and a thriving arts and culture sector is clear.