Lena Waithe partners with Def Jam to launch Hillman Grad Records (video)

Lena Waithe partners with Def Jam to launch Hillman Grad Records (video)
Lena Waithe at the BET Awards at Microsoft Theater, Los Angeles (Photo credit: Bang Media)

Lena Waithe has made a name for herself in Hollywood and now the Chicago storyteller is ready to take her talents to the music industry. The Queen & Slim producer has entered into an exclusive joint venture partnership with Def Jam Records and launched her own label, Hillman Grad Records. She also brought on board music executives Tebs Maqubela and Albert Cooke to handle A&R to “develop the next generation of underrepresented artists.”

“Music and storytelling have always gone hand in hand. And I think that’s because musicians are the storytellers we love the most. They can take complex emotions and simplify [them] in four minutes, and the same artist[s] can sing about the revolution and falling in love. Music is a part of us. It’s so often connected to our fondest and sometimes our darkest memories. Musicians tell our story,” explained Waithe in a statement to Billboard.


“At Hillman Grad Productions we believe in identifying and amplifying new talent, and we want to continue to do that in the music industry. Jeff Harleston and his phenomenal team at Def Jam have given us their trust and their resources to help develop artists that not only have potential, but staying power. We look forward to the journey ahead,” she added.

Hillman Grad Records will also leverage opportunities across music, TV and film to further promote their artists. Besides rapping hot verses and performing for audiences, the label’s artists will also have an inside track to expand their brands to numerous platforms beyond the music scope.


Continue reading more about Waithe’s Def Jam deal on the next page.

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