Nas Launches New Label Under Def Jam

ImageThe buzz surrounding the news of Nas joining Jay-Z at Def Jam has just gotten bigger with the recent revelation that God Son's coming album will be released on his own imprint, the Jones Experience.

As previously reported, Nas announced his signing with Def Jam earlier this week. His new contract involves a joint venture between Island Def Jam and Sony Records, Columbia's parent company, with the companies working as financial partners on Nas' first two albums under a four album deal. For the initial two albums Def Jam will provide A&R, promotion and distribution and the labels will both share in the marketing costs.

"I've been in this business a long time and know what a great deal is," Nas told Billboard Magazine. "I signed a significant and excellent situation."

While each album reportedly has a recording budget of $3 million including advances for Nas, other sources say he has already received a substantially higher advance. Sony will still own the masters from Nas' 11-year career at Columbia and also retain the right to release a greatest-hits collection not shared with Def Jam. The Queens, NY MC would be responsible for delivering two new tracks for the Sony hits set and Sony would be allowed up to three tracks from the albums released through the joint venture.

Nas' move to the Hov-helmed Def Jam has been highly controversial, since the two rappers once faced off in one of the most heated verbal sparring matches in hip hop history. Last fall, Nas' managers, Mark Pitts and Wayne Barrow, arranged a meeting between Nas and Jay-Z, prior to the Jay-Z "I Declare War" concert where the two rappers publicly squashed their beef.

Barrow told Billboard he's hoping the truce will take hip-hop's attitude toward beef back to its origins. "Battling over lyrical prowess is one thing, but to turn it into a violent scenario is another. Kids are mimicking these situations as if they're real."

Pitts added, "Hip-hop needed this."

Nas told Billboard that the Jones Experience imprint will focus "first and foremost on hip-hop" although he's open to other genres. Signings will be announced shortly.

"This is so much bigger than me and Jay-Z," Nas said. "We're both excited by what this could potentially mean for hip-hop as a whole."

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