Jay-Z Steps Down as President of Def Jam

Beginning January 1, 2008, Jay-Z will no longer be the president of Def Jam records. Jay-Z made the announcement yesterday with Def Jam’s parent, Universal Music Group, as his employment contract was expiring. Under a separate long-term recording contract with Def Jam, Jay-Zstill owes the label at least one or two more albums.

“It’s time for me to take on new challenges,” he said in a statement. But with business interests that include several 40/40 nightclubs, an investment in the New Jersey Nets, and his Rocawear fashion line, he is already one of music’s most ambitious entrepreneurs. His next move is unclear, though there has been speculation that he might strike a deal with the concert giant Live Nation, which has been seeking stakes in artists’ various business lines beyond concerts.

Universal has not stated whether or not they will fill Jigga’s vacant spot anytime soon. The official statement from Jay-Z himself read:

I’ve been incredibly fortunate to have served as President of such a culturally-defining label as Def Jam over the last three years. During that time, I’ve had the pleasure of working with many of the world’s most dynamic artists and many of the most dedicated and talented executives in the music business today, including Antonio “L.A.” Reid. But now it’s time for me to take on new challenges…