Definitive Jux Going on Hiatus
Definitive Jux, likely the most well known underground independent hip-hop label, is apparently on its last legs. While reports of the label’s demise hit the net Tuesday (Feb. 2), owner and primary producer El-P crafted a blog post explaining that this will be more of a hiatus than a permanent shutdown. All forthcoming releases will come out as planned and the Def Jux back catalogue and website will remain available and active for the foreseeable future. Def Jux has consistently released popular alternative rap albums from El-P, Aesop Rock, Mr. Lif, RJD2, Cannibal Ox and Murs for more than a decade.
“This year, a decade after starting Def Jux and after overseeing the releases of some incredible albums including the forthcoming release of my dear late and great friend Camu Tao’s brilliant ‘King of Hearts’ LP, I’m stepping away from my duties as artistic director for the label to concentrate on what I love most: being a producer and an artist full-time,” wrote El-P on the Jux site.
“This is something I’ve been contemplating for a few years now, and can’t think of a better time or, with the eventual release of Camu’s record, a more poetic way to transition into a new direction,” he continued.
Def Jux came to fame in the early Aughties as a more intelligent — and admittedly abrasive — alternative to the increasingly corporate hip-hop that dominates airwaves. The label never racked up massive sales, but served as an inspiration to those interested in dense lyricism and innovative electronic beats. As El-P explains, Def Jux’s hiatus is more a result of changing times and the need for small labels to revamp business models in order to make a living.
He continues, “In 2000 starting a traditional record label made a lot of sense. But now, in 2010, less so and I find myself yearning for something else to put my energy into. I also see newer, smarter, more interesting things on the horizon for the way art and commerce intersect, and as an artist and an entrepreneur, I’m eager to see them unfold. The evolution of this industry is, in my opinion, exciting, inevitable and it would be nice to see the Definitive Jux brand be a part of it. In other words, maybe we can turn this hoopty in to a hovercraft.”