DJ Khaled Announces Exclusive Partnership With Def Jam, Named Global Creative Consultant for UMG

Khaled announced the big news during a Thursday press conference in Miami: "This new chapter marks a special time for me ... I feel blessed and so inspired."

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DJ Khaled has reunited with the Def Jam family. And, of course, he took his We the Best imprint with him.

The Grammy winner announced the news during a Thursday press conference in Miami, confirming he had inked a deal with Def Jam Recordings, which will deliver his upcoming album as well as all future We the Best releases. As part of the joint venture, Khaled was also named the Global Creative Consultant for Def Jam parent company, Universal Music Group. 

“This new chapter marks a special time for me,” he said during the presser. “The energy at this point in my career is at an all-time high and I’m grateful to (UMG chief executive officer) Sir Lucian Grainge for allowing me to join his empire at this stage in my journey. Together, we will achieve even greater heights and take it to the next level.”

He continued: “I feel blessed and so inspired with renewed energy. I’m excited to not only partner, but to come back home to Def Jam. Tunji Balogun is not only an extraordinary A&R, but a true music man and visionary who continuously is responsible for introducing the world to some of its next greatest superstars. I’m excited to join my sister and visionary executive LaTrice Burnette once again, as we have had tremendous success on every single project we have collaborated on in the past. Def Jam is the culture and together we will make history yet once again.”

Khaled and We The Best signed a distribution and marketing deal with Def Jam in 2008, and was named president of Def Jam South in the following year. He would leave the imprint a couple of years later, after We the Best joined Cash Money Records. In 2016, he and his label would later join Epic Records/Sony, where he released his last five studio albums, including his 2022 effort, God Did.

“DJ Khaled is a great artist, hitmaker, mentor, and cultural innovator,” Grainge said. “It gives me great pleasure to welcome him home to UMG where we look forward to working together to amplify his brilliant creative instincts and unique vision.”

Khaled also announced a scholarship program through the We the Best Foundation, a nonprofit organization he launched last year. The 2023 grant, presented in partnership with Roc Nation, was awarded to Felisha Agenor, a high school senior who will graduate from Miami’s Overtown Youth Center. 

But that’s not all. Students can also apply for a full tuition scholarship to Roc Nation’s School of Music, Sports & Entertainment at LIU University. You can learn more about the application process for that here.

In honor of his philanthropic work, Khaled also received the keys to the City of Miami as well as Miami Beach. The former declared Feb. 9 We the Best Day, while the latter named Khaled’s Nov. 26 birthday as Khaled Khaled Day.

You can watch the full press conference above.

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