Jay-Z vs. L.A. Reid: Who’s Behind Those Fightin’ Words?

Mar 23rd, 2007 // 3 Comments

jayla.jpgToday’s New York Daily News hints that there may be tension between Def Jam CEO Jay-Z and his “boss,” Island/Def Jam Chairman L.A. Reid:

Now, with his contract up at year’s end, Jay wants more money – more, say sources, than Reid is willing to pay. “Jay is asking for several million as a base salary,” one insider tells us, “plus big bonus ‘bumps’ on records that do well. L.A. isn’t going for it. They’re miles apart.”

Reid is said to question how much time Jay plans to spend in the office now that he’s emerged from rap “retirement” and is touring again. Among Jay’s other distractions are his chain of 40/40 nightclubs and stakes in Rocawear, the New Jersey Nets and a Champagne company.

Insiders also claim the charismatic Reid, the guy who’s supposed to be boss, feels like a second banana. “When Jay walks into a meeting, he sucks the air out of the room,” says a spy. “Even without trying. At the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame awards, Jay and L.A. were sitting at the same table. But it was like L.A. was invisible.”

Hmmm. An interesting gossip item–one that makes both men look good, but at the same time, also not so good. So which one of them planted it?

The most obvious answer is that Jay-Z made it happen. After all, the item goes to great lengths to point how successful he is, noting that the reason why he doesn’t spend as much time in the office nowadays is because he has so many fabulous ancillary-market schemes going on. Plus, the writers mistakenly buy into the line that the recent Kingdom Come album was a “hit,” and conveniently ignore the fact that some of Jay’s artists (like LL Cool J) have been less than pleased with his performance at the top.

Then again, maybe Reid phoned this one in: The “Jay isn’t pulling his weight anymore” attack is subdued, but still potent–it’s hard to imagine Hova or his reps copping to the fact that his work ethic has lapsed, as the “I’m not a businessman, I’m a business, man” persona accounts for a large part of his media profile these days. And the item does make Jay look mighty greedy–after all, this is a guy who bought 2/3 of Pluto once it was downgraded to dwarf-planet status. Why does he need a few more millions?

Our guess? It was Camp Jay, as that “sucks the air right out of the room” line could only be uttered by the most well-trained sycophanatic. But as with all things Hova-related, never forget that the whole thing could be part of an elaborate, long-in-the-works conspiracy plan–one orchestrated by Jay’s greatest nemesis: Amil.

Jay-Z exec deal looks def jammed [NY Daily News]

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  1. MJ

    @Marsh:
    Indeed, I try to avoid that soul-whithering show as much as I can. But now I have to see that episode.

  2. Adam Bernard

    Well, I’d love to take credit for putting the idea in LA’s head ( http://adambernard.blogspot.com/2006/11/how-jay-z-is-hurti… ), but I think the fact that Jay hasn’t exactly been everything LA Reid had hoped he’d be is obvious to most everyone.

  3. rg4vr

    Jay is in it for the money, not the actual responsibility of the position. Let’s see, become President, make rumors of coming out of retirement, and guaranteed release of a poor un-retired album. I think Jay did it.

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