Kevin Liles

Who

A former Def Jam exec, Liles is executive vice president at Warner Music where he reports to longtime boss Lyor Cohen.

Backstory

A Baltimore native, Liles started out rapping with Numarx, a group best known for the 1989 single "Girl You Know It's True," which was re-recorded by Milli Vanilli. Apparently never tried for his crimes against humanity, he soon quit performing and moved to the business side, joining Def Jam in the early 1990s as an unpaid intern. He rose quickly through the company, playing a major role in the development of imprints like Jay-Z and Damon Dash's Roc-a-Fella Records and Irv Gotti's Murder Inc., before earning the title of president in 1998. He remained with the company following Def Jam's sale by Russell Simmons and Lyor Cohen to Universal in 1999. After Cohen departed in 2004 for Warner Music, the label was handed to former Arista boss LA Reid; Liles and Reid immediately clashed, and within months Liles bolted to Warner for work for Cohen, his old mentor.

In print

Liles is the author of Make It Happen: The Hip Hop Generation Guide to Success wherein he "provides clear-sighted advice that stresses determination, hard work, and being true to your dream."

Personal

Liles once tipped the scales at over 300 pounds. He shed the weight in 2006 following a rumored gastric bypass operation. The unmarried record exec lives in Warren, NJ.