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Jay-Z to step down as president of Def Jam

December 25, 2007|From Reuters

Universal Music Group said Monday that Shawn "Jay-Z" Carter was stepping down as president of its Def Jam Records unit, effective by the end of the year.

Carter, 38, has been president of the rap label since 2005, and has signed acts including R&B singers Rihanna and Ne-Yo.

Universal said Carter, who is also a top-selling rap artist known as Jay-Z, will continue recording for its Roc-A-Fella/Def Jam label. But the company did not give a reason for his decision to quit the executive suite.

"Now it's time for me to take on new challenges," he said. "I am pleased to have had the opportunity to build upon the Def Jam legacy," he added.

Carter will focus on his 40/40 Nightclubs and other businesses, according to a person familiar with his plans.

Carter regularly tops the lists of richest hip-hop moguls, and was No. 9 on Forbes' Celebrity 100, the annual list of the world's most powerful -- and best paid -- celebrities, with an estimated compensation of $83 million.

Carter, who has said he was a street hustler growing up in the Marcy public housing project in a tough section of Brooklyn, has sold millions of records and launched an array of media and fashion businesses.

The rapper joined Def Jam as president to help turn around the fortunes of the then-struggling seminal rap label.

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