Def Jam Secures Industry Vet as New Executive VP of A&R.

Riggs Morales, the veteran A&R executive who has played a hand in the rise of Eminem, 50 Cent, Wiz Khalifa, Janelle Monáe and many others, has joined the team at Def Jam Recordings.

Based in New York, Morales has been named as executive vp of A&R, reporting to Tunji Balogun, chairman & CEO, Def Jam Recordings, a division of Universal Music Group (UMG).

He joined Atlantic in 2014 as vp of A&R & artist development, and was promoted to senior vp of A&R & artist development, his most recent role, in 2020.

There, he guided the careers of Khalifa and Monáe, and, in 2015, he signed and co-produced Hamilton: Original Broadway Cast Recording, which won the Grammy Award for best musical and is now certified Diamond by the RIAA. The following year, Morales executive-produced the all-star project, The Hamilton Mixtape.

“Armed with an instinct for creative development that keeps his artists first, Riggs has carved out a unique place for himself in our business, along with an absolutely blockbuster resume,” comments Balogun in a statement unveiling the new recruit. Morales’ “contributions to the culture are the stuff of legend,” he continues. “We’re excited to welcome Riggs to the Def Jam family.”

Those contributions include his work with Goliath Artists, Inc., whose roster included Eminem, Cypress Hill, Xzibit, The Alchemist and DJ Muggs. One year after landing with Goliath, Morales was rewarded with the role as director of A&R for the then-new imprint Shady Records, which, with Eminem and 50 Cent on its books, became one of the prominent labels in rap music.

“Growing up in New York City,” adds Morales, “Def Jam has served as a touchstone in my life for longer than I can remember. In my time as both a journalist and an executive, Def Jam has always been the pinnacle, the iconic hip-hop label, and the blueprint for others to follow.” S: Billboard