Jaime Meline, artistic director and founder of hip hop’s most authentic label announced today he’s returning to music and putting the company on pause. Meline (better known as El-P) debuted on the rap scene as a member of Company Flow and has been a major driving force in alternative hip hop for over a decade. The Def Jux roster consists of some of the most talented and innovative artists rap music has ever seen including personal favorites: Aesop Rock, Cage, Cannibal Ox, Mike Ladd, Mr. Lif, MURS, RJD2 and The Perceptionists.
Considering the post’s explicit acknowledgment of traditional labels’ shortcomings and the changing landscape of music distribution and emerging alternatives, I’m excited to see what happens next for El-P and the rest of the Jukies. From a business and strategy perspective, the Def Jux team did an extraordinary job marketing, positioning and promoting its artists without ever sacrificing their credibility, authenticity or sound. Surviving for over a decade amidst countless indie label failures, Def Jux always felt like more of a movement than a brand or company. Its success proves there’s a dedicated fan base demanding passion and honesty in rap music. And as a fan, I’m happy to hear El-P’s returning to his roots as an artist and producer….
In honor of one of the dopest rap labels ever, behold Co Flow’s 1998 End to End Burners: