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Redman Blasts Def Jam, Says ‘They’re Followers’

Shareif Ziyadat, Getty Images

In spite of their impressive hip-hop history, Def Jam still has a few critics on their label, the latest to speak out being Redman, who gave his take on why the company can’t seem to keep up with some of its musical competitors.

“Well [now], Def Jam are not leaders,” Redman told XXL, of the label which has been his home for his entire career. “They’re not leaders plain and simple, because it’s changed. They’re not leaders like they used to be. In the ’90s they were leaders. They were the label that you considered the mechanics of hip-hop; they’re under the car. They were the ones under the car getting greasy, getting dirty, fixing that muffler that drags when everybody loved that s— and was following it. Now they’re playing the follower. They’re followers, they’re not building artists no more like they should. And that’s just the game.”

Being home to big name acts like Rihanna, Kanye West and Ne-Yo, has done little to solidify Def Jam’s place as the frontrunner in a musical climate suffering due to low album sales and illegal music sharing via the Internet. Once home to the likes of Run-D.M.C., Public Enemy, and EPMD, Def Jam has, in recent years, been met with criticism for its lack of artist development, and its chairman, L.A. Reid. Producer/rapper Jermaine Dupri, who once held an executive position at the label, left due to lack of promotion and artistic freedom. Hip-hop veteran KRS-One claimed that the label “single-handedly destroyed hip-hop,” while rapper Shyne called out L.A. Reid for not “caring” about hip-hop.

Despite some negative press, Redman maintains that he has no hard feeling against his label and is focusing on his new album ‘Reggie,’ which is due out Dec. 7. “It’s not they’re fault,” Redman continued on the subject of Def Jam. “We got into the Internet world and s— is moving fast and came so fast and came so quick that labels couldn’t exist, but still they got the money and they’re a company. They’re supposed to adjust. I think they need to get that going. Being a label, being on top.”

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