Jay-Z In Talks To Start Label W/ Warner Music Group?

ImageJay-Z may be returning to his post as a label executive sooner than expected and at an unlikely place.

Jay stepped down from his position as president of Def Jam in December of 2007 after failing to come to a salary agreement with Island/Def Jam chief, L.A. Reid.

Now according to New York's Daily News, an industry insider is claiming that Jay is in talks to start his own label with the head of Warner Music Group and Reid's competitor, Lyor Cohen. The rap mogul, born Shawn Carter, may name the label "Carter Music Group."

The insider told the Daily News, "The reason Jay left Def Jam was less about money than about freedom. He didn't want to come to the office every day. And he had so many outside projects - his chain of 40/40 clubs and the hotel he's building in Chelsea. But he wouldn't mind having a small label for the talent he discovers. He might just put out three or four records a year. He'd let somebody else do the heavy lifting."

Cohen originally signed Jay to Def Jam in 1997 and though he denied there being any talks going on about a proposed deal, he did have this to say, "I would be honored and privileged to work with him again. Bringing Jay-Z to the Warner Music Group would be a privilege and a coup. I'd do it in a heartbeat."

Cohen has refuted the notion of Jay opting for such a low key venture, stating "Jay never does anything small or part-time."

A Def Jam exec says Reid is not threatened by his former artist becoming a possible competitor, explaining, "Starting a record label from scratch is very difficult. If Warner Music wants to do it, better them than us."

Jay is still indebted to Def Jam. He reportedly owes the label a greatest hits CD and a new album which is slated for release later this year.

Hov may also be in talks with Apple Inc. There has been ongoing speculation on a possible union between the hip-hop mogul and the tech giant for the purpose of a new label.