Abou 'Bu' Thiam
VP of A&R, Def Jam
It started as a family affair. Abou "Bu" Thiam's first music business job was handling A&R for "Trouble," the 2004 disc from his brother Akon on Konvict Muzik/Konvict Entertainment. Since then Thiam, 29, has stayed busy. As co-CEO with Akon of Konvict Muzik, Thiam signed T-Pain in 2005. A year later, the brothers set up Interscope-affiliated Kon Live Distribution--home of Lady Gaga. At Def Jam, Thiam oversaw A&R for Rihanna's hit album Loud and Watch the Throne, the iconic pairing of Jay-Z and Kanye West. He has since inked a joint-venture distribution agreement between Island Def Jam and his Bu Vision, whose roster includes CyHi Da Prynce. "I look at my position as an opportunity to bring a young, current perspective to today's music game," Thiam says.