Def Jam is twinning.
Ghanaian London-born twin brothers, Alec and Alex Boateng, have officially been unveiled as co-Presidents of a newly-launched frontline Universal Music UK label: 0207 Def Jam.
Alec Boateng joins 0207 Def Jam after seven years at Warner Music, most recently as Co-Head of A&R for Atlantic Records UK, where he worked closely with acts including Jess Glynne, Burna Boy and Rita Ora, as well as Stormzy, with whom he shares a trusted creative relationship going back many years.
Alex Boateng has spent the past decade at Universal Music UK, most recently as President of Island Records’ first Urban Division, which is largely focused on the emergence of British Black music. Since taking up the role in 2018, he has overseen UK campaigns for Drake, Tiwa Savage, Buju Banton, Nav, Giggs, Unknown T, Ray BLK, M Huncho, Tekno and Miraa May.
Acting as the UK home of Def Jam Recordings, 0207 Def Jam launches in partnership with the legendary New York-based Def Jam label, which is also part of Universal Music Group.
(0207, if you weren’t aware, is the traditional landline telephone dialling code for various areas of London.)
In their new roles, the Boateng brothers will report to David Joseph, CEO & Chairman of Universal Music UK.
Alex Boateng’s former Island colleague, Amy Tettey, will be joining 0207 Def Jam as Managing Director.
Tettey has spent 11 years at Island, the past four as finance director, working across an artist roster that in this time has included Amy Winehouse, Drake, Dizzee Rascal and Giggs.
“I’m proud our collective journey now includes partnering a legendary label with a style that only London and the UK can provide.”
Alex Boateng, 0207 Def Jam
Eyewe was previously Senior Marketing Manager at Atlantic Records UK where she spearheaded the marketing of Black music. After joining Atlantic in 2015, she worked with artists including Stormzy, Burna Boy, Lizzo, WSTRN, Kehlani and Cardi B.
Grant, whose 10-year career has been immersed in artist development, management and songwriting, joins from BMG Music Publishing where she has published the likes of Giggs, Ghetts and producers P2J, TSB and AOD.
Alec and Alex Boateng come to 0207 Def Jam via differing music industry paths.
Alec’s career in A&R began at Ministry of Sound before he founded a London-based music company alongside the late industry lawyer Richard Antwi. Together, they oversaw success with artists such as Wretch 32, and worked with acts such as Popcaan and Gyptian.
An A&R Award winner, Alec spent over a decade at BBC 1Xtra where he hosted the breakfast show for several years. He got his start in the music business via DJ’ing and leading the award-winning UK mixtape team Split Mics.
“I’m super excited to play a leadership role in this brilliant new space we’re creating for amazing music and talent to live and evolve. A space which will support both our teams and our artists to be the best version of themselves.”
Alec Boateng, 0207 Def Jam
Alex started his music career balancing a marketing degree with DJ’ing, multiple shifts at radio and running his own marketing and promotions company with his then BBC 1Xtra colleague G Money, before moving on to consulting roles with Atlantic Records, Polydor and AATW.
Today, he is a member of Universal Music’s Task Force for Meaningful Change, which was created as a driving force for inclusion and social justice.
Alex joined Universal Music in 2010 in a digital role at Island Records before going on to hold positions in marketing and A&R, a period which included campaign launches for Tinchy Stryder, Drake, The Weeknd and Nicki Minaj; Alex was also an A&R for artists at Island including JP Cooper, Sean Paul, Jessie J, Dizzee Rascal, Donae’o and Big Shaq.
More recently, Alex has spearheaded campaigns for George The Poet’s debut book release, as well as British film The Intent 2: The Come Up, plus UK based clothing brand/label Lizzy.
“Alec and Alex have always done things their own way with success always quick to follow.”
David Joseph, Universal Music UK
Discussing today’s news, David Joseph said: “Bringing the Boateng brothers together at 0207 Def Jam is an important moment in British culture.
“Alec and Alex have always done things their own way with success always quick to follow. They have already assembled an exceptionally talented top team with a clear vision for this exciting new chapter in the history of one of the world’s most famous labels”.
Jeff Harleston, interim Chairman & CEO, Def Jam Recordings said, “It is a perfect fit having Alex and Alec at the helm of 0207 Def Jam.
“Their creativity, artist relationships, and connection with culture are all key elements that have made Def Jam such an important label for over 35 years. I have no doubt that Alex, Alec and their team will only make the label and the brand even stronger.”
“I have no doubt that Alex, Alec and their team will only make the Def Jam label and brand even stronger.”
Jeff Harleston, Def Jam
Alec Boateng, co-President of 0207 Def Jam said: “Music, art and artists really, really matter. I’m super excited to play a leadership role in this brilliant new space we’re creating for amazing music and talent to live and evolve. A space which will support both our teams and our artists to be the best version of themselves.”
Alex Boateng, co-President of 0207 Def Jam, said: “Especially in these times, this is a real privilege. I’m proud our collective journey now includes partnering a legendary label with a style that only London and the UK can provide. Looking forward to watching and guiding where the music and art takes the journey next.”
The launch of 0207 Def Jam continues the label’s expansion around the world.
In May, Universal launched Def Jam Africa based out of Johannesburg, South Africa and Lagos, Nigeria; it has since expanded into Côte d’Ivoire, Senegal and Cameroon.
And in September, Universal launched Def Jam Vietnam. It became the sixth country from the region to join the global Def Jam family, alongside Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, Philippines and Indonesia as part of Def Jam South East Asia.Music Business Worldwide