Def Jam Recordings is making major changes to its
operations by appointing Tunji Balogun as the label’s new
Tunji Balogun as CEO, Variety reports.
Tunji Balogun served as RCA Records’ executive vice
president of A&R after initially joining as senior vice
president of A&R in 2015. During his time at the label, he
was instrumental in signing the likes of Childish
Gambino, Khalid, Brockhampton and Bryson Tiller, while
co-founding Keep Cool Records in a joint venture with
RCA in 2018. Its roster includes Freddie Gibbs & Madlib,
Normani, Lucky Daye, VanJess and UMI.
Eminem’s manager Paul Rosenberg was the previous CEO
at Def Jam between 2018 and 2020, with Jeffrey
Harleston working as the interim CEO following his
Early in his career, Tunji Balogun was an intern at
Warner Bros. Records (now Warner Records) and Virgin
Records before spending seven-and-a-half years at
Interscope Records as an A&R. During a 2018 interview
with A Tribe Called Quest’s Ali Shaheed Muhammad and
Frannie Kelley on the Microphone Check podcast, he
talked about the responsibility of creating opportunities
in the label system.
“I’m doing my best, and I’m trying to pull up more people
with me, on both sides, the artist side, executive side,” he
said at the time. “Trying to create opportunities for as
many talented creatives as I can. I feel like that’s my role.
There was a reason why I didn’t end up becoming an
artist. It was so that I could go into the system and clear a
path for more people. And that’s super important to me. I
don’t take it lightly.”
He added, “This music matters. There are kids out there
around the world that depend on this music to get
through their day, to have a better sense of themselves,
and to just stay inspired.
“They did all types of shit I wanted to be a part of — and
then Death Row happened,” Snoop Dogg said upon the
announcement. “So, I didn’t get a chance to be on Def
Jam, but I always had a dream to be on Def Jam and to be
in the place where Hip Hop originated.”
He continued, “So when I got the opportunity, my main
focus on Def Jam Records was to go and help the artists,
give them love, give them wisdom, guidance and
understanding, and teach them some tricks I learned in
the game; to diversify their portfolio, to not just be
rappers, to not just be artists but to be superstars,
superheroes, so to speak.” Congratulation’s Tunji
Balogun and welcome to Def Jam.