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Posted by Robert
Rap News Network
10/11/2004 8:58:13 AM

Tags and topics realted to this article include Jay-Z.

As Universal Music nears a deal to buy out the rap star Jay-Z and his partners from their venture, Roc-A-Fella Records, the company has renewed an unconventional plan to bring the artist into its executive ranks by naming him president of the Def Jam Recordings label, according to people involved in the negotiations. Universal Music, part of Vivendi, is set to pay about $10 million to unravel the partnership in Roc-A-Fella, which has provided the label with a series of platinum-selling hits, most recently Kanye West's "College Dropout." While there is a chance the talks could unravel, these people said, they expect a deal would be made before the expiration of the venture agreement at the end of February. A twist to the negotiations is the future plans of Jay-Z, whose real name is Shawn Carter. He has said he is retiring from making albums, a proclamation he has made numerous times before.

If he did record new music, he would be under contract to release it through Universal. But he is free to strike a deal for the creation of a new startup label or take an executive post with any music company, and at the moment he is being hotly pursued by both Universal and a rival, Warner Music. Executives from both companies have recently paid visits to Carter while he is on tour with the R&B star R. Kelly. Major record companies routinely reward or placate top recording artists by agreeing to finance their own small labels, like Madonna's Maverick Records, since bought out by Warner. But few have turned out to be more than vanity projects that are quickly forsaken.

In Carter's case, however, Universal would hand him the vacant position as chief of one of its biggest divisions, with authority over everything from album production to marketing strategies, and an artist roster that includes acts like LL Cool J and Ludacris. After taking full ownership of Roc-A-Fella venture, the company would also probably provide Carter with a new mini-label, tentatively called S. Carter Records.
Close associates of Carter said finding an executive role for him at Warner Music had been mentioned as a possibility, though it is unclear what that role would be. Representatives for Universal, Warner and Carter declined to comment.
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