Notable Releases: Frank Ocean Channel Orange (Def Jam); Nas Life Is Good (The Jones Experience/Def Jam); Rick Ross God Forgives, I Don't (Maybach Music/Def Jam); 2 Chainz Based on a T.R.U. Story (Def Jam); G.O.O.D. Music Cruel Summer (G.O.O.D. Music/Def Jam); Rihanna Unapologetic (SRP/Def Jam)
March 2012 saw former Warner Bros. executive Joie Manda appointed the new President of Def Jam, a position that had remained vacant since Jay-Z departed in 2007. It was also the year that saw Rihanna break all kinds of sales records. She was presented with an award from Def Jam to celebrate 100 million sales of her music, as Unapolgetic continued her chart dominance. Frank Ocean snatched a Grammy and critical acclaim for Channel Orange, Rick Ross continued to perform well with God Forgives, I Don't, while fellow new G.O.O.D. Music affiliate 2 Chainz provided the label's best-selling 2012 rap release with Based on a T.R.U. Story, which went gold.
Nas dropped the well-received, critically-acclaimed Life Is Good, while Big K.R.I.T. provided the promising Live From The Underground. Def Jam finished the year with the controversial signing of Trinidad James for a reported $2 million. It could prove to be either a stroke of genius, or the biggest record label blunder since Kreayshawn. Either way, it's good to see that as the company enters its 30th year of business, it's not afraid to take chances.