Rihanna has never been all that coy. So today, it came as a bit of a surprise when sources announced that the pop star had quietly departed from her longtime label Def Jam Recordings in favor of Roc Nation. When RiRi joined Def Jam nearly ten years ago, Jay-Z was its Label President, and persuaded her to sign at only 17. Since then, lots of executive shuffles between the label and friendly, affiliated label Roc Nation have caused a few artists to jump ship as well.
In 2009, Jay-Z left his Presidential post at Def Jam as part of his contract with Live Nation to work at the new Roc Nation. Not long after that, Rihanna followed and signed with their management team despite still being signed to Def Jam. Then, following the dissolution of the Universal Music label into three distinct labels (of which Def Jam is its own along with Island and Motown), some executives and artists left the label.
Rihanna was one of them. A few weeks ago, some noted that Rihanna’s website now listed her label as Roc Nation and that Roc now likewise claimed her as an artist along with J. Cole and Calvin Harris.
The more important question now is, what will the shift do to her sound?