Def Jam Lottery – Their Best Draft Picks

Def Jam is known for ushering in a slew of iconic rap acts to the game: LL Cool J, the Beastie Boys, Public Enemy, Slick Rick, Redman, and DMX, just to name a few. But the historic label was not the first to sign a number of their biggest stars. Recently, Big Boi announced on Twitter that his long delayed solo album, Sir Luscious Left Foot: The Son of Chico Dusty will have a Def Jam logo on its CD sleeve. With that in mind, XXLMag.com has compiled a list of some of the most notable MCs to have another home before jumping ship for the house that Russel and Rick built. Peep game…

JAY-Z

People forget that before joining Def Jam’s roster in 1997 with In My Lifetime, Vol. 1, Jiggaman initially dropped his seminal LP, Reasonable Doubt, through Priority Records.

NAS

Nasty Nas didn’t join L.A. Reid’s lineup until 2006’s Hip-Hop Is Dead—12 years after his classic debut Illmatic. Since then the Queenbridge lyricist has released one more album for Def Jam, 2008’s controversial Nigger N disc.

THE ROOTS

Along with God’s Son, Jay-Z recruited the world famous Roots crew to DJ back in 2006 when he was at the helm. Since then Black Thought, ?uestlove and company have released two albums, 2006’s Game Theory and 2008’s Rising Down.

GHOSTFACE

Ghost left Sony and joined his Wu-Tang brethren Method Man on the label in 2004. Since signing, the Shaolin dartsmith has put out nearly one new disc per year, including 2004’s The Pretty Toney Album, 2006’s Fishscale and More Fish, 2007’s The Big Doe Rehab, and 2009’s Ghostdini: the Wizard of Poetry, along with 2010′s Wu-Massacre with rap partners Meth and Raekwon.

REV. RUN

Although label co-founder Russell Simmons, was Rev.’s brother, Run-D.M.C. was always signed to Profile. Yet, in 2005, when the rap vet decided to go the solo route, Def Jam was his label of choice.

FABOLOUS

Def Jam got Fab in a trade with Atlantic Records for Musiq Soulchild in 2007. Since being added to the team the BK MC scored several hit records, as well as Billboard No. 1 and No. 2 albums, respectively, for 2007’s Nuthin’ to Somethin’ and 2009’s Loso’s Way.

SHYNE

While locked up, Def Jam came out the victor in a huge bidding war to sign former Bad Boy rapper Shyne. In 2004 the label dropped Godfather Buried Alive to poor sales, yet L.A. Reid recently resigned Po, following the deported rapper’s completion of his eight-year jail sentence.

SCARFACE

Southern rap legend ’Face released only one album with Def Jam, 2002’s The Fix, which is also arguably his best solo effort to date.

CAM’RON

Dame Dash brought Killa Cam and his Dipset crew into the Def Jam fold through Roc-A-Fella in 2002. The Harlem rapper only released two solo discs on the label—2002’s Come Home With Me and 2004’s Purple Haze.

JADAKISS

Before bouncing last year, Jay-Z brought Jada to the team. The former Interscope MC’s The Last Kiss dropped last April on Def Jam.

EPMD

Erick Sermon and Parrish Smith got down with Def Jam in 1990, after leaving former home Priority. The duo went on to put out four group albums with Def Jam, 1990’s Business as Usual, 1992’s Business Never Personal, 1997’s’s Back in Business and 1999’s Out of Business.

  • http://topqualitymusic.blogspot.com/ The World Famous Danny Boy

    I say Rev Run because that’s Little Brother! That was a no brainer! Jay did change the game when he became CEO though! RIP Shakir Stewart

    • http://javanjcornelius.wordpress.com/ Javan J. Cornelius

      Sign these guys.

  • A.K.

    Def Jam Lottery..Jay hands down was the best acquirement.

  • http://www.jamal7mile.blogspot.com Jamal7Mile

    I guess, money-wise, Jay-Z was the best aquirement for Def Jam. But I love DJ for picking up EPMD! That’s when the Hit Squad took off. That’s my real pick.

    Before I vote, am I supposed to pick a choice based on who I like (EPMD) or who I think brought DJ the most money (Jay-Z)?

  • arms

    If were talking strictly who had the best run of great music after signing with def jam it’s most certainly EPMD, with Ghostface coming in a distant second. Jay-z may have made the most money but EPMD made a much greater impact on hip hop music.

  • ryde or diee

    DMX was signed to Columbia before he went to Def Jam. But Jay takes this as he did more for Def Jam than the others. (Released the most matrial & made the most money)

  • esco702

    Ghostface Killah
    Ghostface
    Ghost Deini
    Ironman, Tony Starks, or just Starks
    Starky Love
    Pretty Toney, P Tone
    The Wallabee Kingpin

    Or whatever else you want to call him

  • micnyce

    yo watch for the new street banger Def jam A salute to every atrist that has ever been signed to Def Jam hit the streets this friday April 2nd any questions or comments forward them to micnyce@live.com get ready yall this is 2010 the year of the nyce guy peeeeeeeeeeeeeeace

  • Anonymous

    Erick Sermon and Parrish Smith got down with Def Jam in 1990, after leaving former home Priority.

    ^ IT WAS SLEEPING BAG/FRESH RECORDS, NOT PRIORITY.

    • http://www.bboycult.com $yk

      that was me.

  • STOP ROCKIN SILVER & CZs

    Nas > Jay-Z, Ghostface Killah > Ludacris, Fabolous = Cam’ron, Scarface < Jadakiss…

  • sparkcity911

    Change the name from DEF JAM to def spam or def blam couse there line up is a little shot.
    JAY the only one really holdin them.

    Ghost needs to bounce couse they fucking his sound up plus they dont promote him like they do FAB an LUDA.

    • http://www.bboycult.com $yk

      spark Jay bounced to Warner last year (5mil buyout). Ghost gave in his last 1 (Poetry).

      Funk Doc & Meth should be dropping the last ones (solo) 2…

  • micnyce

    yo watch for the new street banger Def jam A salute to every atrist that has ever been signed to Def Jam hit the streets this friday April 2nd any questions or comments forward them to micnyce@live.com get ready yall this is 2010 the year of the nyce guy peeeeeeeeeeeeeeace

  • http://www.myspace.com/slotchmusic ms_spittuh

    GHOSTFACE HANDS DOWN! :D

  • Cola

    Def Jam is an R&B label now! LL Cool J is #1, Jay-Z #2, Luda #3. If Def Jam get back to the hard years (98-02) they’re might be hope for LA Reid

  • mav

    i go wit da homie nasir bcuz b4 hip hop is dead he had lost a lotta traction after that streets disciple joint that hip hop is dead is a classic that turned the rap world upside down 4 a minute every rapper responded to that shit