Def Jam South

Def Jam South
Parent company

The Island Def Jam Music Group (1999-2014)

Def Jam Recordings (2014-present)
Founded 1999 (1999)
Founder Russell Simmons
Status Active
Distributor(s) Def Jam Recordings (US)
Universal Music Distribution (WW)
Genre Southern hip hop
Country of origin United States
Location New York City, New York

Def Jam South is the southern division of Def Jam Recordings. The label is best known for launching the career of Ludacris and his Disturbing tha Peace group and label. In 2003, the label shut down but was relaunched in 2005. They have also jump-started the career of Young Jeezy.

Company history


In the late 1990s, hip hop's main popularity moved from West Coast hip hop and East Coast hip hop to Southern hip hop. Founder of NY Label Def Jam Russell Simmons wanted to capitalize off of the success of southern rap. He recruited Scarface, a southern rap legend and former member of the Geto Boys to be the head of the label and, by 1999, the label was established. Also in 1999, an Atlanta DJ named Chris Luva Luva began rapping under the moniker Ludacris and released his debut solo album Incognegro independently on his own record label Disturbing tha Peace. Scarface listened to the album while visiting Atlanta and made a deal to distribute Ludacris and his DTP label through Def Jam. Ludacris became one of the biggest stars in the hip hop market and would lead the label to great heights. Despite this, Island Def Jam could not afford to finance the label anymore so they shut it down in 2003 .

Revival through Jeezy (2005-present)

In early 2005, Def Jam announced that they were relaunching the label and that Ludacris and DTP were returning along with new act Young Jeezy. Atlanta rapper Young Jeezy would release his debut album, which would go platinum and revive the label. New releases from the DTP camp kept the label on the radio and gained them more recognition than they ever had in their previous run. In 2006, they were able to reach a distribution deal with Slip-n-Slide Records to release albums from their artists signed from that point on. In December 2005, Cash Money Records producer Mannie Fresh announced that he was leaving that label. Fresh was quickly signed on to become the new CEO of Def Jam South. Scarface would end up leaving the label in 2003, returning for a one-album deal. In 2009, IDJMG named DJ Khaled as President of Def Jam South, DJ Khaled left Def Jam South in 2012. [1]



  1. "DJ Khaled Wants Hits -- Not Beef -- As President Of Def Jam South". Shaheem Reid. MTV Networks. February 19, 2009. Retrieved 2009-05-25.url= New artist Macoon sign distribution to Emi
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