Kardinal Offishall joins Def Jam as Global A&R

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Kardinal Offishall joins Def Jam as Global A&R

Kardinal Offishall has been appointed the new Global A&R at Def Jam Recordings after leaving a similar long-standing position at Universal Music Canada.

The rapper revealed his new position in a lengthy post on Instagram on Monday (January 9), in which he expressed his love of the Def Jam brand and insinuated that he has already begun working in this role.

“I feel incredibly blessed to be able to work with the new faces of Def Jam,” he wrote in statement shared as a photo on his profile. “I grew up on all the legendary music that had a home here. From LL Cool J and DMX to Benny the Butcher and 2 Chainz, the company has an incredible legacy and I’m looking forward to working with the new superstars, as well as the incredible legacy acts.”

In the post’s caption, Kardi went on to thank Def Jam CEO Tunji Balogun and Executive Vice President Latrice Burnett for giving him the opportunity to support the powerhouse Hip Hop label’s initiative to add more international talent to its roster.

“Big up @tunji @tricerocbklyn and the whole @defjam family! We on a mission to bring y’all the best artists from around the world and shift culture, with the amazing talents we discover, nurture and partner with,” the caption read. “It is a massive privilege to continue to help bring creatives’ visions to the world.”

After making a name for himself on the Toronto Hip Hop scene, Kardinal Offishall was first introduced to American audiences through the release of his MCA Records debut Quest for Fire: Firestarter, Vol. 1 in 2001 and the cult classic hit singles “BaKardi Slang” and “Ol’ Time Killin’.”

He went on to build onto his fanbase in the U.S. thanks to collaborations with Akon, the Clipse, Lady Gaga, Pharrell, and T-Pain; and even worked on music alongside Drake and Rihanna early in their careers.

While he continues to release music sporadically, Kardinal Offishall transitioned into his career as an executive when he joined Universal Music Canada as Creative Executive Director of A&R in 2013. In 2021, he inked a joint venture deal with producer Harmony Samuels and was promoted to the role of Senior Vice President, A&R.

“Kardi is a force,” the label’s Chairman & CEO Jeffrey Remedios said in a statement at the time. “He’s a ground-breaking, internationally respected artist, a smart and insightful label exec, a compassionate and bold thought leader, and a tireless philanthropist. He’s always been at the forefront of Canada’s music scene and UMC’s artists and team have long benefitted from his thoughtful collaboration, unmatched energy, and drive.”

While the “Dangerous” rapper made it a point to underline that “Toronto will always be home” in his announcement, he did not indicate whether his new role at Def Jam would impact his position as a judge on Canada’s Got Talent, which he joined in its second season last year.