Fresh off inking a joint-venture label deal with Epic for his Beluga Heights imprint, producer Jonathan “J.R.” Rotem is in the studio working on highly anticipated projects from Dr. Dre and 50 Cent, among others.
Dre’s “Detox” has been rumored as near completion for the past three years; will it finally arrive in 2007?
“Dr. Dre’s a perfectionist, and if it’s not up to his standards, which are pretty much the highest in the game, then he’s not releasing it,” Rotem tells Billboard. “He changes the sound of music every time he comes out. So though I can’t say for sure, I’d like to say it is. Last year he was focusing on Busta [Rhymes] and the Game’s albums. But ‘Detox’ is his main focus now.”
And what of 50 Cent, whose next studio effort is due this spring? “I’m working very closely with 50 and he doesn’t seem angry,” Rotem reveals. “He’s at the top of the game. He’s focused on making an album to save hip-hop, and I think a lot of people feel that way. 50 is an incredible force, who doesn’t need to put out an album for money or respect. He’s got both so we’re trying to make a new sound. He’s a trendsetter like Britney is in pop music.”
Rotem has also been in the studio of late with Rihanna, Britney Spears, Jennifer Lopez, Ashley Tisdale and Hayden Panettiere of the NBC show “Heroes.”
And he isn’t stopping at hip-hop, either. “Beluga is a mainstream pop label,” he says. “We’re looking at rock groups, pop, urban male R&B, whatever that will be big in crossover. For us, we have to make sure the artists have the crossover opportunity to become worldwide artists.”