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Rihanna Leaving Def Jam Records….But Not Really?


In our recent article about Mariah Carey’s upcoming 14th album we told you that this would be her first on a newly restructured Def Jam Records. That is because last month it was announced that the Island Def Jam Music Group was disbanded, allowing Island Records, Def Jam Records, (Once Again “Def Jam Recordings”) and Motown Records to be re-established as independent entities under the Universal Music Group. Ever since that announcement we have been keeping our eyes opened for any major roster changes at any of those labels.

Mariah moving from Island Records to Def Jam Recordings was the first example of changes over there, and the second may have to do with another one of their major female Pop/R&B stars, Rihanna! On May 5th reported that Rihanna would be leaving Def Jam to reunite with her mentor Jay-Z at his Roc Nation entertainment company. Since Rihanna has been one of Def Jam’s major stars since signing with them in 2005, we naturally wanted to look deeper into the details of this story .

After doing some reading we discovered that the headline of Rihanna “leaving” Def Jam might not exactly be accurate. Later that day, one of our favorite entertainment trades, The Hollywood Reporter told a slightly different story. They reported that even though Rihanna was in fact leaving Def Jam to join Roc Nation, Def Jam would still have a role in her career. A source at Def Jam told Billboard Magazine that they is expected to distribute Rihanna’s follow up to 2012’s Unapologetic, as part of Roc Nation’s distribution deal with The Universal Music Group. Roc Nation’s deal with UMG was put in the spotlight last year with it’s inaugural release of Jay-Z’s latest album, Magna Carta… Holy Grail. Def Jam also distributed that album with it’s vanity label that Jay co-founded, Roc-A-Fella Records.

When it was reported that Rihanna was becoming one of the high profile artists on Jay-Z’s Roc Nation, it came as no surprise to us, after all it was Jay who was responsible for signing Rihanna to Def Jam in the first place. In 2005 Jay-Z was president of Def Jam Records when he was introduced to a then 17-year-old Rihanna, who he quickly made one of the label’s high priorities. By the summer of the year he introduced her to the world, when Def Jam released her debut album, Music Of The Sun

Jay-Z parted ways with Def Jam in 2009 to found Roc Nation as part of a multi-million dollar deal with Live Nation,however he and Rihanna never broke ties professionally. Fans of his will remember that Rihanna appeared as a guest vocalist on “Run This Town”, Jay-Z’s first single on Roc Nation, released in July of 2009. Also in late 2010, Rihanna parted ways with her previous manager, Marc Jordan to join Roc Nation’s management roster.

Founded in 2008, Roc Nation is a full-service entertainment company, inclusive of artist, songwriter, producer and engineer management; music publishing; touring & merchandising; film & television; new business ventures; and a music label. It is home to a diverse roster comprised of critically acclaimed recording artists, writers and producers including Rihanna, Shakira,  Rita Ora,  J Cole, Timbaland,  etc. Roc Nation has a partnership with global management company, Three Six Zero. Over the past several years, Roc Nation has been responsible a state-of-the-art recording and distribution deal with the Universal Music Group for JAY Z, Rihanna, and others; Rihanna’s rise as a huge global touring brand; and the launch of the Roc Nation Sports agency, which in its first year has built a roster of such all-star talent as Robinson Cano, Kevin Durant, Victor Cruz and more.

Related Media 

Jay-Z Featuring Rihanna And Kanye West 

“Run This Town” 

From The Blueprint 3

Roc Nation/Atlantic Records



“Pon De Replay” 

From Music Of The Sun

SRP/Def Jam Records/IDJMG



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