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Jay-Z stepping down as Def Jam president

LOS ANGELES - Shawn 'Jay-Z' Carter said earlier this week that he will leave his post as president of Universal Music Group's Def Jam Records label after his contract expires this year.

The rapper, who was named Def Jam president three years ago, said in a statement that it is 'time for me to take on new challenges.'

He will continue to release his own music through his record label, Roc-A-Fella/Def Jam after his contract expires Monday.

Antonio 'L.A.' Reid, chairman and CEO of Island Def Jam Music Group, said the label regrets Carter's decision to move on.

'While he will continue to be one of our signature artists, he will nonetheless be missed in this executive capacity,' Reid said in a statement.

Carter took over Def Jam in December 2004 in an incentive-laden deal that was reportedly valued at up to $10 million. His appointment followed the exit of Lyor Cohen, who departed to be chief executive of Warner Music Group.

As Def Jam's president, Carter signed a number of acts, including Ne-Yo and Rihanna, one of the record label's biggest sellers this year with her hit 'Umbrella.'

Carter co-founded Roc-A-Fella records with Damon Dash in 1995. The label has since become wholly owned by Def Jam, home to Kanye West, among others.

Carter has sold tens of millions of records during his career, powered by hits such as 'Big Pimpin' and 'Give It To Me.'

He famously said a few years ago that he was retiring from recording music but returned last year with the album 'Kingdom Come.' Most recently, he recorded an album inspired by the Denzel Washington-Russell Crowe drama 'American Gangster.'