It's a sad day for hip-hop. After months of speculation amongst fans, Definitive Jux founder EL-P released a statement today announcing his plans to officially put the independent label on hiatus in 2010, and step down from his role as artistic director in order to concentrate on being a full-time artist and producer.
Rumors began circulating last December about whether or not Def Jux was closing its doors. As EL-P notes, "some half true, some way off."
He also insists that the label is not so much closing, as it is changing. But for fans, that's like being told by your parents that they're not getting a divorce, they're just moving into separate houses. EL-P states:
This means change for JUX. Of course we'll still have our website, we will still sell our catalog, merch and more as well as bring you news and updates on all our projects and artists. We will be releasing "KING OF HEARTS", a DEF JUX remix compilation, a 10 year anniversary retrospective and some other goodies. But then as a traditional record label DEF JUX will effectively be put on hiatus. We are not closing, but we are changing. The process is already underway, and the last several months (for those wondering what the hell we've been up to) have been spent dealing with the technical aspects of wrapping up the label in it's current form and re-imagining our collective and individual futures.
In 2000 starting a traditional record label made a lot of sense. But now, in 2010, less so and I find myself yearning for something else to put my energy into. I also see newer, smarter, more interesting things on the horizon for the way art and commerce intersect, and as an artist and an entrepreneur, I'm eager to see them unfold. The evolution of this industry is, in my opinion, exciting, inevitable and it would be nice to see the DEFINITIVE JUX brand be a part of it. In other words, maybe we can turn this hoopty in to a hovercraft.
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As for where each artist will find a home next? We'll have to wait and see. Aesop Rock recently released Felt 3 with Slug and Murs on Rhymesayers, and Cage has plans to get in the studio with Kid Cudi.
In his statement EL-P gives props to the artists he says Def Jux couldn't have done it without:
CAMU, MR LIF, AESOP ROCK, MURS, CAGE, ROB SONIC, HANGAR 18, CHIN CHIN, CANNIBAL OX, THE PERCEPTIONISTS, RJD2, DESPOT, SA SMASH, YAK BALLZ, CRAYZ, THE MIGHTY UNDERDOGS, DIZZEE RASCAL, DEL, P.F.A.C, ACTIVATOR, COOL CALM PETE ... the list goes on. I consider them all geniuses at what they do... It's been a joy to create and even struggle with them all. It has not always been easy, but it's almost always been fulfilling. I only hope the work we put in together helped build a path to their collective futures. They have my sincerest well wishes and genuine respect.
Stay tuned for more info as the story develops.