"It's time for me to take on new challenges," he says as he ends presidential reign

By Kristin Boehm
Updated December 26, 2007 11:45 AM
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He’s been “big pimpin” as president of Def Jam Records since 2005, but Jay-Z is stepping down at the end of the year.

“Now it’s time for me to take on new challenges,” he said in a statement Monday. “I am pleased to have had the opportunity to build upon the Def Jam legacy.” Not to mention more time with long-time girlfriend Beyoncé.

Jay-Z (real name Shawn Carter), 38, whose contract expires at the end of the year, will continue recording for Roc-A-Fella/Def Jam, Variety reports.

During Carter’s brief tenure, Def Jam had success with blockbuster releases from himself, Kanye West and Rihanna.

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The hip-hop mogul also founded several Roc-a-Fella spin-off companies, including Roca Wear clothing, which he sold in March for $204 million, films, the 40/40 nightclub and a Reebok sneaker line.

Last month, Carter’s latest album, American Gangster, opened on top of the charts and moved 784,000 copies. Its predecessor, Kingdom Come, sold about 1.5 million copies in 2006, according to Variety. He has the prestigious record of 10 number one albums in 10 years – tying him with Elvis Presley for the most chart toppers by a solo artist.

He is up for five Grammy Awards, which helped steer Def Jam to a total of 26 nods this year.

Reports have stated that he will now focus on his expanding the franchise of 40/40 Nightclubs – already in New York and Atlantic City – with a Las Vegas location and a new spot in Macau.

There has been no announcement of a replacement or even if there will be one.