Def Jam president/CEO Jay-Z is not resting on his laurels. The artist tells Billboard he is mulling the creation of the label Def Jam Left, which he describes as "an artist-driven label with very low

Def Jam president/CEO Jay-Z is not resting on his laurels. The artist tells Billboard he is mulling the creation of the label Def Jam Left, which he describes as "an artist-driven label with very low deals so people are not pressured by first-week SoundScan [sales], so we can build artists." Jay-Z is also hoping to make the Roots the first signee to the imprint.

"I'm talking to the Roots right now," he adds. "I'm confident to put out there that we might make this happen. The label would probably begin at the top of the year, but I hope to have the Roots signed by the time they get off their international tour."

In late April, Roots drummer ?uestlove told Billboard.com the group was about 60% finished with a new album, "Game Theory." The set is tipped to feature a collaboration with Black Star's Mos Def and Talib Kweli called "Where I Come" and another song with just Mos Def, "Workin' on It." The Roots were previously signed to MCA and then Geffen.

Meanwhile, Jay-Z admits he is wrestling with whether to remain retired as an artist. His last studio set was 2003's "The Black Album," but he has since popped up on occasion as a guest on songs by Kanye West and Young Jeezy, among others.

"You all are hearing things from me -- you just haven't heard an album," he says. "Who knows? I'm still going in the studio, getting on remixes and things like that. But it's the people. When people want something bad enough, it happens. And they want it bad (laughs). I'm trying to hold out, but I don't know how long I can."