Kardinal Offishall joins Def Jam as Global A&R

Cardinal Offishall has been named the new Global A&R at Def Jam Recordings after leaving a similar longtime position at Universal Music Canada.

The rapper revealed his new position in a lengthy post on Instagram on Monday (January 9), expressing his love for the Def Jam label and hinting that he has already begun working in this role.

“I feel incredibly blessed to be working with the new faces of Def Jam,” he wrote in a statement shared as a photo on his profile. “I grew up with 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 look forward to working with the new superstars as well as the incredible acts of inheritance.”

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 powerful Hip Hop label’s initiative to add more international talent to its roster.

“Big up @tunji @tricerocbklyn and the whole @defjam family! We’re on a mission to bring you all the best artists from around the world and change culture with the amazing talent we discover, nurture and collaborate with,” the caption read. “It’s a tremendous privilege to continue to help bring creative’s visions for 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 classic cult singles “BaKardi Hose“and”Ol’ Time Killin’.”

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He continued to build on his fan base in the US thanks to collaborations with Akonthat ClipLady Gaga, Pharrelland T-Pain; and even worked in music on the side Drake and Rihanna early in their careers.

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

“Kardi is a force,” the label’s chairman and CEO Jeffrey Remedios said in a statement back then. “He is a groundbreaking, internationally respected artist, a smart and insightful label executive, a compassionate and bold thought leader, and a tireless philanthropist. He has always been at the forefront of Canada’s music scene, and UMC’s artists and team have long benefited from his thoughtful collaboration, unmatched energy and drive.”

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

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