It all started, as most grand ideas in rap historically have, with a blunt.

The seeds of rap camp—Def Jam’s A&R-led initiative to sequester 17 of their new artists in one studio to record an album together—were born on the Broadway corner of the label’s midtown New York headquarters, thanks to a freezing blunt cypher.

“It was so cold,” recounts vice president of A&R Alexander “A.E.” Edwards. “We was like, ‘We can’t even enjoy this; our fingers are freezing.’” Standing in the huddle with him were fellow A&Rs Pedro “Dro” Genao and Ricardo “Rico Beats” Lamarre, who had recently come back from A.E.’s native California after an especially productive week with one of their new artists, Fetty Luciano.

“We gotta get back to L.A.,” Rico said, shuddering. Cue the lightbulb.

Paul Rosenberg, the titan behind Shady Records who shepherded Eminem and 50 Cent’s careers, assumed his role as Def Jam’s new CEO in January 2018. One of his first orders of business was to enlist former G.O.O.D. Music COO (and Pusha-T’s perennial consigliere) Steven Victor as his EVP and head of A&R. Victor paid it forward with a curiosity-piquing signing of his own when he made A.E., the bottle-blonde taste curator who helped plot Tyga’s comeback, his vice president. Rounding out the squad are Dro (who also hailed from Shady) and Rico, who amassed an impressive production discography lacing the likes of Pusha-T and Nicki Minaj before transitioning into an A&R role.

Along with the new hires over the past year, over 20 artists have been signed to the label, an unprecedented number that’s frankly a little eyebrow-raising. In effect, the rap camp program and Undisputed, its resulting compilation album, out March 8, represent the first big offering from Rosenberg and his presidential cabinet.