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Saturday, May 23, 2009

Jay-Z Confirms Def Jam Departure

Rap mogul Jay-Z has confirmed reports he's parted ways with longtime label Def Jam Records, branding his time with the company as "a unique and fulfilling experience."

The "Big Pimpin'" hitmaker bought himself out of his deal with the iconic label this week, paying a reported $5 million to buy back the rights to his forthcoming album "The Blueprint 3," which would have been his final contractual release on Def Jam.

But Jay-Z, real name Shawn Carter, insists there is no bad blood between him and label executives Doug Morris and Antonio "L.A." Reid, because he considers them "family."

He tells, "I can honestly say, working with Doug Morris and L.A. Reid has been a unique and fulfilling experience and I respect them immensely. I've been in the family for almost my entire career.

"Doug and I spoke directly and had one of the most unique 'negotiations' ever.

"I thank him for allowing me to be a completely independent artist. Not every artist can say they own or are given the opportunity to own all of their music."

Jay-Z has released nine albums on Def Jam, and served as president of the label for three years. He stepped down from the top position in January 2008 after signing chart-topping acts such as Rihanna and Ne-Yo during his tenure.

The hip-hop superstar is now free to pursue is new contract with Live Nation. He signed a $150 million deal with the concert promoters in 2008, encompassing his future album releases, tours and the creation of the label Roc Nation.

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