Def Jam Recordings is an American record label, focused primarily on hip hop and urban music, owned by Universal Music Group, and operates as a part of The Island Def Jam Music Group. In the UK, the label takes on the name Def Jam UK and is operated through Mercury Music Group. While in Japan, it is Def Jam Japan operating through Universal Sigma Music.
Under Jay-Z's leadership, Def Jam launched new successful acts such as contemporary R&B singers like Rihanna, Ne-Yo, and Kanye West. Jay-Z's contract as president of Def Jam was not renewed, forcing him to step down at the end of 2007, remaining with Roc-A-Fella Records and Def Jam Recordings as a recording artist.