Gary Susman
October 27, 2004 AT 04:00 AM EDT

Now that he’s retiring from being rap’s biggest star, Jay-Z may settle for running rap’s biggest label. According to the Associated Press, the artist formerly known as Shawn Carter is close to a deal to assume the presidency of Universal Music Group’s Island Def Jam label. He’d take over for Kevin Liles, who was ousted from the label in July, and would report to producer-turned-exec Antonio ”L.A.” Reid, who joined the label in February as its chairman.

Jay-Z certainly has experience running a label, Roc-A-Fella Records, with business partners Damon Dash and Kareem ”Biggs” Burke. UMG is, in fact, negotiating to buy Roc-A-Fella, but Jay-Z’s new job isn’t dependent on that deal going through, a source close to the deal told AP. The rapper announced his retirement from recording music more than a year ago, though he’s currently on tour with R. Kelly, and the pair released a new album, Unfinished Business, on Tuesday.

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