Jennifer Graylock, jpistudios
Billboard reports that Roberson will be in charge of the creative direction and operations of Geffen while focusing on bringing in and establishing new talent. Geffen Records hip-hop acts have been slim pickings in the past. "Gee has a unique combination of talents that the music industry really needs running a record company today," said Iovine in a statement.
Geffen, originally founded in 1980 by David Geffen before merging with Interscope Records in 1990, signed Philadelphia hip-hop band the Roots to its first record deal and has included GZA, Large Professor and Mos Def on its roster in the past.
Roberson's promotion comes as major shuffling occurs at the Universal Music Group, which is now being run by Barry Weiss, who serves as the company's chairman and CEO. Roberson, who founded Hip-Hop Since 1978 with Kyambo "Hip-Hop" Joshua after the pair began their careers as A&R's at Jay-Z's Roc-a-Fella Records, has the credentials to revitalize Geffen. After leaving the Roc-a-Fella fold, Roberson went over to Atlantic Records, where he held the position of Senior VP of A&R. Hip-Hop Since 1978 manages the recording careers of Kanye West, Drake and recently added Nicki Minaj to its list of clients.
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