DJ Khaled Announces New Partnership With Def Jam Recordings
On Thursday (Feb. 9), DJ Khaled and Def Jam announced the new deal, which brings the Grammy-winning producer's We The Best imprint to the storied label. The announcement also comes with news that Khaled will now be serving as the Global Creative Director Consultant for Universal Music Group.
"This new chapter marks a special time for me," DJ Khaled said in a statement. "The energy at this point in my career is at an all-time high and I’m grateful to Sir Lucian Grainge for allowing me to join his empire at this stage in my journey. Together, we will achieve even greater heights and take it to the next level. I feel blessed and so inspired with renewed energy."
He continued, "I’m excited to not only partner, but to come back home to Def Jam. Tunji Balogun is not only an extraordinary A&R, but a true music-man and visionary who continuously is responsible for introducing the world to some of its next greatest superstars. I’m excited to join my sister and visionary executive LaTrice Burnette once again, as we have had tremendous success on every single project we have collaborated on in the past. Def Jam is the culture and together we will make history yet once again."
Tunji Balogun, Chairman and CEO of Def Jam Recordings, also expressed his excitement over the deal.
"Beyond a proven hitmaker, incredible producer, undeniable artist, and consummate showman, DJ Khaled occupies the rarified air of cultural icon," Balogun said in a statement. "His uncanny ability to continuously have his finger on the pulse of the culture, to reach audiences all over the world in innovative yet authentic ways, and his remarkable savvy for marketing, promoting and eventizing everything he touches is absolutely second to none. We are thrilled to partner with DJ Khaled and We The Best, both as a multi-platinum, award-winning artist and as a valued executive. Without a doubt, Khaled can only make us better."
The moves comes full circle for DJ Khaled, who worked at Def Jam as an executive A&R in 2008. Khaled spent his first stint as a recording artist on E1 before a short stint on Cash Money/Universal. He then moved on to Republic Records and has been distributed through Epic Records since 2016.
As if inking a new deal with the iconic Def Jam Recordings wasn't enough for a single day in February, Khaled also announced on Thursday that he intends to offer a complete, full-ride scholarship to one talented student looking to attend the Roc Nation School of Music, Sports and Entertainment at Long Island University beginning this coming fall.
In order to lock down DJ Khaled's scholarship, interested applicants need to submit either a written essay or a recorded video that covers topics like what success means to them, how the scholarship will help them become the best version of themselves and where they see themselves in 10 years. In speaking on why Khaled decided to offer up the opportunity in the first place, the new Def Jam signee referenced his wife, Nicole Tuck, and explained his stance on giving back to the community.
"Me and my queen, ever since we been together, even before we met each other, we both had a love for giving back," said the God Did producer-exec. "Giving back has always been a priority in my life and her life. We're raising our kids to see that you have to work hard but also always give back and show love. We have a team that works year-round nonstop on how can we give back, do more, uplift, inspire, motivate and hug all the kids in need. Inspire them to keep going and not just the kids, but also the families, the mothers and fathers and give out scholarships.”
Both the scholarship and Def Jam announcements come on the heels of DJ Khaled's star-studded performance at the 2023 Grammy Awards, which featured an ensemble performance of the Grammy-nominated track "God Did."