Jay-Z says that even though he's definitely heavily into artist mode with a world tour and new album coming in a little less than a month, you can still call him El Presidente.
"Hova's oval office!" he declared recently in Africa, responding to music-industry talk that he is leaving his post as president of Def Jam. "Everything is good. I know there's been some rumors I was leaving Def Jam. I'm not leaving Def Jam. I signed on for three years, so I don't have any plans to move on. I love working with [Island Def Jam Chairman] L.A. [Reid], I love working with [Island President] Steve [Bartels], I love [Universal Chairman and CEO] Doug [Morris]."
Jay inked his deal to be President of Def Jam in December of 2004 and his position went into effect in January of 2005. He contract doesn't expire until January of 2008. He said that even if he's not officially the prez when his term is up, he still wants to have a hand in some of the decision-making at the legendary record label.
"I'll do whatever, if it's consulting, whatever it is, but I don't have any plans to go anywhere any time soon."
Jay also laughed off the notion that the release of his Kingdom Come LP (due November 21) is a conflict of interest with other Def Jam releases in December: Young Jeezy's The Inspiration: Thug Motivation 102 (December 12), Nas' Hip-Hop Is Dead ... The N and Ghostface Killah's More Fish (both December 19).
"The funny thing about Def Jam is when people say, 'How can you put out an album and promote [other records] at the same time?' is, the amount of albums that come out of Def Jam and always come out of Def Jam is like 60 albums in a year. There is an extraordinary amount of work; it's not like my album is any different. When people say, 'How can you put an album out?' I say, 'Well it worked for [Former Def Jam CEO] Lyor [Cohen]. It made Lyor look like a genius, it should make me look like a genius too!' The best moment in Def Jam's history, well the one that I can recall, is when Lyor was going to sell the company for maybe $80 or $90 million. Then one month Lyor put out [albums] by myself, Ja Rule and DMX, everyone did great. I think there's something to be said about a company and having synergy and having energy and having a bunch of artists come out at the same time. I think that works also.
"All the great runs was when artists came out back-to-back," Jay added. "When No Limit had their run and Bad Boy had their run and Death Row had their run it was more than one artist doing it. So I just think it makes only logical sense. I think people pick at [my album coming out] because I guess it's an opening. But we're still doing our thing, #1 market share, I don't know how much more can we do. We'll do more but I don't know what's higher than #1."
Jay is currently on his Global Express World Tour, which just touched down in Australia a few days ago. Besides performing, he's been visiting some impoverished areas and learning about the world's water crisis (see "Jay-Z Almost Didn't Come Out Of Retirement — But Now 'It's On' "). His run across the globe comes to an end in Melbourne on Saturday, and he'll be back in the States soon.
One of Hov's peers and good friends, Diddy, expressed to MTV News that he would like to discuss the idea of going on a U.S. tour with Jay and some other New York heavyweights, like Busta Rhymes and Nas. Although it's just a thought right now, Hov is eager to hear Diddy out.
"It's very difficult to plan another tour while you're on the end of a tour because at the end of the tour you're like, 'Uh, I've got to get home and I've got so many things to do,' " Jay explained. "I don't have any tour plans as far as the States yet, but if Puff says something you've got to at least talk about it. You've got to at least have the conversation because he has foresight."