Tuesday, March 27, 2007
Jay-Z could be fired as the CEO of Def Jam records after making huge pay demands. The rapper - who was hired by L.A. Reid, the chairman of Island/Def Jam, two years ago - has his contract up for renewal this year. But bosses have baulked at his outrageous cash demands. A source told the New York Daily News newspaper: "Jay is asking for several million as a base salary plus big bonus 'bumps' on records that do well. Reid isn't going for it. They're miles apart."
Since taking the position Jay-Z has invigorated the company by signing a host on young artists, including Rihanna and Ne-Yo, while his own album 'Kingdom Come' has been a huge worldwide success. Insiders claim Reid is questioning how much time the rapper can devote to the label now he has come out of his own self-imposed music retirement and is touring again. The singer's other time-consuming business interests include his chain of 40/40 nightclubs and stakes in clothing label Rocawear, the New Jersey Nets basketball team and a Champagne concern.
Reid is also rumoured to be jealous of the attention and respect the rapper receives. A source said: "When Jay walks into a meeting, he sucks the air out of the room. Even without trying. At the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame awards, Jay and L.A. were sitting at the same table. But it was like L.A. was invisible." However, Reid denies there is any friction between him and Jay-Z. He said: "We really love Jay. He's so important to our company, there's not much we wouldn't do to keep him here, money being the least of them. People at other labels may wish there was trouble. If you put the two of us in a room with an artist we want, we will sign that artist. It's very hard to turn us down. I hope to work with him for many, many years. He's magical. I need him."