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On July 8, Def Jam made the announcement that producer/DJ Don Cannon had joined the staff as Vice President of A&R. Cannon tells Hip-Hop Wired that his goal with the label is to assist in helping Hip-Hop culture move forward.

The newly-appointed VP explains that he had a bit of a co-sign in Def Jam’s EVP of A&R No ID, which gave him a little more shine in the eyes of Def Jam execs. “Really just with the work I put in helping these artists grow and assisting new artists basically build their careers — these were the key pieces I think — and with the help of No ID recognizing the talents and introducing me to Def Jam’s label heads, I landed a position to work alongside him.”

After years in the industry as a part of the Aphilliates DJ circle — co-founded by himself, DJ Drama, and another Atlanta-based DJ, Sense — Cannon moved into producing for big name artists like Young Jeezy and most recently Pusha T with the sinister-sounding street single “Numbers on the Board.”

Unbeknownst to the majority of the music industry, Cannon has been in his new chair up at Def Jam since May 18 after Karen Kwak EVP and head of A&R pushed the play through. “It’s all been under wraps for a little while,” Cannon shares, “But I was just working on building up the artists there, wasn’t worried too much about solidifying a deal or nothing.”

The day he signed, Cannon was in Los Angeles, prepping to do a show with Drama. When the deal came through, they toasted to another venture and proceeded to perform that night.

The beatsmith says that although many may be surprised at the recent change in title, it’s didn’t come as much of a shock for him. “I base all my moves off being humble, working hard and building alliances,” he says, “So I knew one day that with any new phase of my life I wouldn’t be surprised.”

As far as having a planned course of action, Cannon reveals that he hasn’t outlined one. “This is the hardest question to answer knowing that in the creative world, times change, music changes, artists change…,” he continues, “So it’s just standing by new and old artists with the same conviction for advancing art. That’s what I’m focused on.”

Photo: SXSW