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The Legend Who Signed Frank Ocean to Def Jam Calls the Signing a "Huge Mistake" & "Disaster"

“The label wasn’t motivated by the signing. They didn’t give him the respect that I thought he deserved.”

Much has been made regarding Frank Ocean’s recently-revealed status as a newly-independent artist, and now one of the key individuals responsible for Frank Ocean‘s initial jump to Def Jam has come forward to set the record straight. Tricky Stewart, the legendary artist responsible for signing Frank Ocean to Def Jam, opens up about Frank Ocean’s label drama in a new interview with FADER. Breaking down the situation, Tricky Stewart says:

“Frank came in with the best intentions of being a great artist to a label. He was looking at it with an open mind. But bringing him into Def Jam was a little bit of a disaster. It was probably, in hindsight, a huge mistake on my part. The label wasn’t motivated by the signing. They didn’t give him the respect that I thought he deserved. I couldn’t really get Def Jam to respond to him the way the way that I wanted them to respond to him.

At the end of the day, I think Def Jam created a monster that they couldn’t control. He just treated them how he was treated. There’s too many artists out here with that story. Luckily for Frank, he was able to turn a negative time and a negative period into something that worked for him and his family. This is a changing of the guard. This story has got to make label people wake up and realize that they have great talent on their label.”

Tricky Stewart also adds that Def Jam damaged their own contractual bonds with him as well, explaining that Channel Orange was cooked up without any input from Stewart. For more, you can check out the entire in-depth FADER feature here.

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