Def Jam Africa, a label division of Universal Music Group (UMG) has announced the appointment of renowned artist, producer, songwriter and record label executive, Larry Gaaga as Vice President A&R.
Since its 2020 launch, Def Jam Africa has become home to some of the biggest hip-hop, Afrobeats and trap talents in Africa. With a flagship roster sporting names like Boity, Cassper Nyovest, Nadia Nakai, Tshego, Tellaman, Ricky Tyler and Nasty C, Def Jam backs some of the most influential and successful artists on the continent.
Founded in 1984, Def Jam Recordings has stood as the flagbearer for cutting-edge hip-hop music for over 35 years. Beginning as a maverick independent label inspired by downtown New York City’s vibrant street culture and the emerging sound of hip-hop, Def Jam recordings was pioneered by iconic stars like LL Cool J, Slick Rick, The Beastie Boys and Public Enemy. In the following decades after its establishment, Def Jam has reinstated its dominance with superstar acts like Jay-Z, DMX, Ja Rule, Method Man & Redman, Ludacris, Rihanna, Jeezy, and Kanye West.
While making the announcement, Larry Gaaga declared: “I’m excited at the opportunity I’ve been entrusted with here at Def Jam Africa. My experience as an artist and manager at the label, not only gives me a unique perspective to share with our talent, but means I’m well versed in the spirit and culture of this legacy label.”
Sipho Dlamini, CEO Universal Music South Africa & Sub-Saharan Africa, added: “Larry is a talented creative, astute A&R and strategic executive, expanding his relationship with Def Jam is an exciting next step in Africa’s hip hop story and a big move for the culture.”
Larry is set to lead the A&R division of music and culture tastemakers across English speaking markets. In 2010, Larry Gaaga joined YSG Entertainment and was promoted to the role of General Manager within a year. Since then, he has gone on to forge a successful career as both a performer, working with global stars such as Wiz Kid, Burna Boy and Davido, as well as managing the career of rapper, Vector. In 2020, when Def Jam Africa launched, Larry was one of the flagship signings and this new appointment reaffirms the label’s belief and respect of Larry’s artistry and creative vision.
Larry Gaaga has established a reputation as a seasoned artist with multiple hit singles including his first major feature, Gaga Shuffle with 2Baba, Doe featuring Davido, Low featuring Wiz Kid, Slow Burner featuring Joeboy, and Baba Nla featuring 2baba, Burna Boy and D’Banj.