hip hop music

August 8, 2004

L.A. Reid: Joe Budden is "Too Wordy"

I hate that, when rappers get all wordy.

Def Jam's New Tune

It's near midnight on a recent Wednesday, but for Antonio (L.A.) Reid, the new CEO of Island Def Jam music—he took over in February—the workday isn't done. He's spent hours with young staffers critiquing music to be released soon on Def Jam, the hip-hop label. He's dancing in his seat and issuing sharp opinions on everything he hears. "I like this record, but sometimes he gets too wordy,'' Reid says of a cut by rapper Joe Buddens. Despite his take-charge approach, others are openly skeptical about Reid. For one, Russell Simmons, the hip-hop icon who cofounded Def Jam but sold it years ago, worries the stylish Reid may be ill-suited for the scrappy world of hard-core hip-hop. "L.A. Reid is one of the best record men in the business, but he doesn't hang out with [Def Jam artist] DMX. I'm with rappers every day. Managing them is a cultural process,'' says Simmons. "These are the things that made Def Jam...''

...Simmons, who is hugely influential in the hip-hop community, is uncertain whether he will have a role at the company he cofounded. His position as Def Jam chairman was cut short late last year when, he says, Universal Music ended his contract without notice. "I don't know what's going to happen," Simmons says. Reid says he wants to work with Simmons, though they have not talked at length. "I'd love to keep that relationship," says Reid.

Their apparent differences may be difficult to bridge. "What new thing are we trying to build?" Simmons asks. He worries that the Def Jam brand may be diluted with smooth and styled R&B stars...

Posted by jsmooth995 at August 8, 2004 5:42 AM

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