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Dupri, Jermaine

Jermaine Dupri

Music producer, rap musician, record company executive

In May of 1995, Newsweek reported on four young black record producers it called "flashy, streetwise and entrepreneurial"—young men raised on street talk and hip-hop and now working with R&B and rap superstars ranging from Michael Jackson and Bobby Brown to Boyz II Men and Kriss Kross. The four producers, according to the news magazine, were, "shaping pop music the way the songwriters and producers at Motown and Stax [record labels] did three decades ago"—and selling plenty of albums, some 70 million among the four of them. Remarkably, not one of the four producers described was over the age of 30. The youngest, then just 23, was Jermaine Dupri.

Although Dupri's name wasn't readily familiar at the time, his work was: the 1992 Kriss Kross multi-platinum debut Totally Krossed Out, which sold eight million copies; Kriss Kross' follow-up platinum LP, DaBomb; the 1994 platinum Funkdafied by Da Brat; and the platinum Hummin' Comin' at 'Cha by Xscape. Dupri has also been responsible for such individual songs as Mariah Carey's "Always Be My Baby," TLC's "Baby, Baby, Baby," and Toni Braxton's "Breathe Again," plus the hit "Keep On Keepin' On," by MC Lyte, from the Sunset Park movie soundtrack.

As he approached his 24th birthday in September of 1996, Dupri paused in his busy studio schedule to reflect, in a phone interview with Contemporary Black Biography (CBB) from his base in Atlanta, about his fame and considerable fortune—the same month Vibe magazine dubbed him a multimillionaire—as well as So So Def Recordings, the record label he acquired in a 1993 deal with Columbia Records. Speaking in the profanity-laden street talk with which he identifies, Dupri described the harsh upbringing his artists have had, and spoke of his own love for rap and appreciation of R&B.

Keen Business Sense

Speaking about his early start in the music business, and vigorously defending gangsta rap, Dupri tried to explain his success. Marketing is his secret. "I always watch each market and see what time it is—if it's time for stuff to change," he said. "I think the big major labels, not to dog them out [but] their ears are not to the streets anymore, because all the old-fashioned ways of music have changed. Like, all the underground records are above ground. And all underground records be big records right now. Snoop's [Snoop Doggy Dogg] record 'Doing It Doggie Style' is underground, Tupac [Shakur] same thing." He paused and then remarked, "Yo, the streets is where it's at right now.

Although Dupri has looked to the streets for his inspiration, his origins are from rather more fortunate circumstances. Born Jermaine Dupri Mauldin in Asheville, North Carolina, on September 23, 1972, he was the only child of Tina (Mosely) Mauldin and Michael Mauldin, a road manager for groups like Brick, the S.O.S. Band, and Cameo. "I'd go to rehearsals with him. Then I'd try to do what they did," Dupri told Vibe.

Dupri received his own drum set at age three—the same year the family relocated to Atlanta for better opportunities. Music was his destiny. Skeptical about reports, which his publicist has confirmed, that he was named for Donny Hathaway's guitarist Cornell Dupree, and for Cal Dupree, a local DJ, Dupri believed that the spelling was changed because it looked more French and his parents thought that was cool. Whatever the reality, he later dropped his surname to differentiate himself from his father, who is in the same business. In fact the professional lives of father and son are closely linked; Michael Mauldin—now executive vice president of Columbia Records Group's black music division—would later manage Kriss Kross and Xscape. Although his parents separated when Jermaine was only ten, Michael Mauldin played an active role in his son's upbringing, and the two men remain close.

As a child, Jermaine was a firecracker on the keyboards and drums. He also loved to dance. He was 10 years old when he made what might be called his professional debut. He recalled being at a massive Diana Ross concert with his mother: "Diana Ross wanted kids to come on stage and perform with her. My mom went to the bathroom; I went on stage." And he was such an unabashed performer he was featured in the morning papers the next day.

Toured as a Dancer

At age 12, with his father's connections, Dupri had a chance to tour as a dancer with the rap bands Whodini and Run-D.M.C. during their "New York Fresh Festival." His first nationwide rap and dance tour gave Dupri his own invaluable connections in the business. The Whodini link was especially telling; years later, Dupri would find a way to repay the opportunity they gave him.

Dupri soon dropped out of school, though, where he was already making and selling his own tapes on a do-it-yourself label he called "So So Def." He was assigned a tutor, but his schooling ended in the eleventh grade. "I was into all musical aspects, more than the hip-hop, more musical aspects. I was taking piano lessons, playing drums. I was more into the musical side of the situation than the rap side. I was heading more towards musicianship."

Determined to be the "ultimate Atlanta B-boy," Dupri told Vibe: "I was wearing shell toes with no laces, Lee's with the crease." His aim, he said, was to be "a person that's just totally down with everything about rap, whether it be the graffiti aspect, the popping [dance] aspect, the rapping and DJ. I used to want to do all that." He got his wish, but in a way he had not anticipated when, at age 14, he met a new girl rap group called Silk Tymes Leather.

"There were these two girls who were my friends, and they wanted to make a record, and I had this little energy within myself that I could be the person to make these records," Dupri recalled in Vibe. "I really had no equipment. I just felt like I had the energy and half the knowledge to go into the studio." In 1987, he produced the album It Ain't Where Ya From, which was released in 1990 to modest success; but the teenager had attracted attention, and he was making strong contacts. He managed to get Silk Tymes Leather into Geffen Records, where he himself had been paired with Joe "the Butcher" Nicolo, who had already produced songs for DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince.

For the Record …

Born Jermaine Dupri Mauldin on September 23, 1972, son of Tina (Mosely) and Michael (a Columbia Records executive) Mauldin.

Dancer with rap groups, c. 1984; formed own label, So So Def, c. 1985; produced first album, It Ain't Where Ya From, for rap group Silk Tymes Leather, 1987 (released, 1990); president and CEO of So So Def, a division of Columbia Records, 1993–2003; released debut rap album, Life in 1472, 1998; named senior vice president of Arista Records, 2003; released Green Light, 2004; named president of Virgin Records Urban Music, 2005.

Awards: American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP), Rhythm and Soul Music's Songwriter of the Year, 1997, 1999, 2000, and 2001; National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences, Heroes Award, 2003; ASCAP Golden Note Award, 2005.

Addresses: Office—So So Def Recordings, Inc., 685 Lambert Dr., Atlanta, GA 30324-4125. Website—Jermaine Dupri Official Website: http://www.jermainedupri.com.

Hit it Big with Kriss Kross

The association with Nicolo served them both well when, in 1989, Dupri made a major addition to his stable of artists—Kriss Kross. He had spotted the two 11-year-old boys, Chris Smith and Chris Kelly, leading around a pack of adoring little girls in a local mall and was intrigued. "I just saw them, and I just thought they should be doing something that they needed to, and I was the person to make them do something. They had some glow about themselves no other kids had." Nicolo had just started RuffHouse Records. Kriss Kross was Dupri's housewarming gift. Totally Krossed Out, released in 1992, was written, arranged, and produced by Dupri; it went multi-platinum. Da Bomb, Kriss Kross' next album, also went platinum.

Suddenly, at age 19, Dupri was a name in the industry. Audiences loved his ability to marry hip-hop to melody. "Unlike the gangsta-inclined George Clinton/Roger Troutman boogie that defines Suge Knight's electrifying Death Row Records (at least when Dr. Dre was there) or Puffy Comb's notoriously smooth aural fashion show," Vibe wrote, "Dupri's sound is down-home, basically bassy, and lusciously—marketably—bubblegum."

Dupri was anxious to prove himself in R&B as well as rap. At his 19th birthday party, he met his next big group, Xscape, a female group out of traditional R&B. Hummin' Comin' at 'Cha, the album he produced for the foursome, went double platinum and included the gold single "Understanding." In 1993 Columbia offered the 20-year-old Dupri his own label deal.

In an interview with CBB, Dupri described how R&B artists value his rap background. "R&B artists always want somebody who's hip to know what's going to do good in the rap world as well as do right for the music they do," he said. That's why he has worked so well with Mariah Carey, he noted. "I keep my head level enough to be able to tell her, 'If you sing over the top of this beat, my rappers are going to fill it,' and 'If we put this melody here, your audience ought to be able to get with it too.'"

Still, gangsta rap remains his first love. "That's all I listen to," Dupri told CBB, listing some of his favorite groups: Tupac, Snoop, Dr. Dre, and Notorious B.I.G. "I think people don't like gangsta rap because it's like the second phase of rap. It's the phase where the rappers realize, 'We're like news people now." They're giving you the news of what's going down in the streets. People in Georgia, where I'm from, aren't exposed to the things you'll see in the ghettos. So, when groups like Wu-Tang Clan come out talking about the projects, and Biggie and Snoop came out, all they're telling you is what's going on, where they're from. I mean, it's stories."

As for rap's misogynistic message, Dupri defended the use of the word bitch as a part of scenery of the ghetto and therefore its music. "They got to be true to themselves," remarked Dupri during his CBB interview. "All they know is this hard lifestyle in the 'hood, and that's all they can talk about." This was his belief when he met another of his label's major artists at a Kriss Kross concert—Shawntae Harris, professionally known simply as Da Brat. Her rap sound was rougher than that of previous women rappers.

"I saw realism from Da Brat," Dupri told CBB. "There are a lot of female MCs out there, and I just felt like it was time. And I felt there wasn't a solo female out there that had had production time put into her. And I think I like challenges, and one of my biggest challenges was to make Brat be the first female rapper to go platinum." Brat's 1994 Funkdafied went platinum-plus, but Dupri did not seem surprised. "Within me and Brat, we built a star. We built someone that once you see her, you never forget her. And that's the same with Kriss Kross."

Cool Head Lead to Continued Success

Dupri's sense of the music business provides a strong foundation for his success. He concentrates his keen eye on the voids in the music and continues to fill them. He told Jet, "You can see the gaps and see where gaps are. It's like being at a football game. Those up in the box seats can see the field better than the coach. That's what I consider myself, as someone in the box. I can see what's going on." His special talent has been finding young men for black girls to "scream for," as he told Jet. After Kriss Kross, he spotted Usher Raymond and produced Usher's hit album My Way, which became one of the best-selling albums of 1997. He then became the mastermind behind teen heartthrob Bow Wow.

But Dupri does not confine himself to the talents of others. He too aspires to the spotlight. He performed with Mariah Carey on 1998's Sweetheart. For his first album as a performer, 1998's Jermaine Dupri Presents Life in 1472 and the album's single, "Money Ain't a Thang" Dupri earned Grammy nominations. The album went platinum to further establish Dupri's dominance in the music industry. He followed these with Instructions in 2001, and Green Light in 2004.

Making Hits Into Next Century

By 2003 Dupri had created the most celebrated teen heartthrobs in the black music industry for a decade, including Jagged Edge, Anthony Hamilton, and J-Kwon, and produced some of the best talents in the industry, including Mariah Carey, TLC, Aretha Franklin, Ludacris, Alicia Keys, and Janet Jackson, to make the So So Def one of the most successful independent music labels in the industry. And the more established record companies took notice. Arista Records made an exclusive production agreement with Dupri, naming him senior vice president. Under the agreement, Dupri's So So Def label would be distributed by Arista and Dupri would find and develop new talents for Arista. One of the first talents Dupri signed under the new agreement, Bone Crusher, signaled his continued success.

Besides releasing Green Light, Durpi remained busy through 2004, working on numerous tracks, most notably producing songs for Usher's multiple Grammy-winning Confessions, as well as working with Fantasia, TLC, J-Kwon, Tamia, and Nelly. 2004 also saw his relationship with Janet Jackson, which went public in 2002, start to heat up. In an article published in the The Mirror, Dupri said, "I want to marry her." Dupri was forced into the spotlight to defend Jackson, who had a "wardrobe malfunction" at the 2004 NFL Superbowl, where she bared her breast on national television during a performance with Justin Timberlake. In the wake of the scandal, Dupri quit his job as president of Atlanta's chapter of the National Association of Recording Arts & Sciences. He was quoted in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution saying, "I'm just resigning as of today because I feel like I don't want to be a part of something that's not treating musical people in the right light. And I feel like what's going on with Janet is very unfair right now."

Near the start of 2005, however, things started to turn around for Durpi, as the Superbowl scandal seemed to subside. Late in 2004, Billboard named Dupri the sixth best producer of the year. In February of 2005, Dupri was named president of Virgin Records Urban Music. In an article published in Jet, Dupri said, "I plan to do for Virgin what Russell Simmons did 10 years ago, when he moved Def Jam to Island Records. I will catapult Virgin into a young, hip label with chart-topping success in both R&B and rap music."

Selected discography

Solo albums

Life in 1472, So So Def, 1998.

Instructions, So So Def, 2001.

Green Light, Arista, 2004.

As producer

(Immature) On Our Worst Behavior, Virgin, 1992.

(TLC) Oooooohhh…On the TLC Tip, La Face, 1992.

(Kriss Kross) Totally Krossed Out, Ruffhouse, 1992.

(Kriss Kross) Da Bomb, Ruffhouse, 1993.

(Xscape) Hummin' Comin' at Cha, Columbia, 1993.

(Shanice) 21…Ways to Grow, Motown, 1994.

(Da Bush Babees) Ambushed, Reprise, 1994.

(Da Brat) Funkdafied, So So Def, 1994.

(El DeBarge) Heart Mind & Soul, Warner Bros., 1994.

(Mariah Carey) Daydream, Columbia, 1995.

(Xscape) Feels So Good, So So Def, 1995.

(Xscape) Off the Hook, So So Def, 1995.

(Sean LeVert) Other Side, Trevel/Atlantic, 1995.

(Da Brat) Anuthatantrum, Columbia, 1996.

(MC Lyte) Bad as I Wanna B, Eastwest, 1996.

(Lil' Kim) Hard Core, Undeas/Big Beat, 1996.

(MC Lyte) Lyte of a Decade, Elektra/Asylum, 1996.

(Aaliyah) One in a Million, Blackground, 1996.

(Whodini) Six, So So Def, 1996.

(Kriss Kross) Young, Rich, and Dangerous, Ruffhouse/Columbia, 1996.

(Mase) Harlem World, Bad Boy, 1997.

(Jagged Edge) Jagged Era, So So Def, 1997.

(Usher) My Way, La Face, 1997.

(Monica) Boy is Mine, Arista, 1998.

(Tamia) Tamia, Qwest/Warner Bros., 1998.

(Jay-Z) Vol. 2: Hard Knock Life, Roc-a-Fella, 1998.

(Xscape) Traces of My Lipstick, So So Def, 1998.

(TLC) FanMail, La Face, 1999.

(Jagged Edge) Ballads, So So Def, 1999.

(Master P) Only God Can Judge Me, No Limit, 1999.

(Mariah Carey) Rainbow, Columbia, 1999.

(Ludacris) Back for the First Time, Def Jam, 2000.

(Lil' Bow Wow) Beware of Dog, So So Def, 2000.

(Chanté Moore) Exposed, MCA, 2000.

(Jagged Edge) J.E. Heartbreak, So So Def, 2000.

(C-Murder) Trapped in Crime, No Limit, 2000.

(Da Brat) Unrestricted, Columbia, 2000.

(Tyrese) 2000 Watts, RCA, 2001.

(Lil' Bow Wow) Doggy Bag, So So Def, 2001.

(Cappadonna) Yin and the Yang, Sony, 2001.

(Usher) 8701, La Face, 2001.

(B2K) B2K, Epic, 2002.

(Mariah Carey) Charmbracelet, Island, 2002.

(Tyrese) I Wanna Go There, J-Records, 2002.

(Deborah Cox) Morning After, J-Records, 2002.

(Monica) After the Storm, J-Records, 2003.

(Bone Crusher) AttenCHUN!, So So Def, 2003.

(Anthony Hamilton) Comin' from Where I'm From, Arista, 2003.

(Jagged Edge) Hard, Sony, 2003.

(Da Brat) Limelite, Luv & Niteclubz, Arista, 2003.

(Murphy Lee) Murphy's Law, Universal, 2003.

(Usher) Confessions, Arista, 2004.

(Fantasia) Free Yourself, J-Records, 2004.

(J-Kwon) Hood Hop, So So Def, 2004.

(Tamia) More, Elektra, 2004.

(Nelly) Suit, Universal, 2004.

(Shawnna) Worth tha Weight, Def Jam, 2004.

(Brooke Valentine) Chain Letter, Virgin, 2005.

(Mariah Carey) Emancipation of Mimi, Island, 2005.

(Faith Evans) First Lady, Capitol, 2005.

(112) Pleasure & Pain, Def Soul Classics, 2005.

Sources

Periodicals

Atlanta Journal-Constitution, February 7, 2004.

Billboard, December 25, 2004.

Jet, May 21, 2001, p. 38; March 3, 2003, p. 21; February 14, 2005, p. 36.

Mirror, April 2, 2004.

Newsweek, May 8, 1995, p. 64.

R&B Airplay Monitor, June 7, 1996.

Time, July 20, 1998, p. 63.

Vibe, September 1996, p. 136.

Online

"Jermaine Dupri," All Music Guide,http://www.allmusic.com (April 5, 2005).

Additional information for this profile was obtained through an interview with Jermaine Dupri on September 5, 1996, and from publicity materials from So So Def Recordings.

JoanOleckand

RyanAllen

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Dupri, Jermaine 1972–

Jermaine Dupri 1972

Record producer

At a Glance

Selective discography

Sources

In May of 1995, Newsweek reported on four young black record producers it called flashy, streetwise and entrepreneurialyoung men raised on street talk and hip-hop and now working with R&B and rap superstars ranging from Michael Jackson and Bobby Brown to Boyz II Men and Kriss Kross. The four producers, according to the news magazine, were shaping pop music the way the songwriters and producers at Motown and Stax [record labels] did three decades agoand selling plenty of albums, some 70 million among the four of them. Remarkably, not one of the four producers described was over the age of 30. The youngest, then just 23, was Jermaine Dupri.

Although Dupris name may not be readily familiar, his work is: the 1992 Kriss Kross debut multi-platinum Totally Krossed Out, which sold eight million copies; Kriss Kross follow-up platinum LP, DaBomb; the 1994 platinum Funkdafied by Da Brat; and the platinum Hummin Comin atCha by Xscape. Dupri has also been responsible for such individual songs as Mariah Careys Always Be My Baby, TLCs Baby, Baby, Baby, and Toni Braxtons Breathe Again, plus the hit Keep On Keepin On, by MC Lyte, from the Sunset Park movie soundtrack.

As he approached his 24th birthday in September of 1996, Dupri paused in his busy studio schedule to reflect, in a phone interview with Contemporary Black Biography (CBB) from his base in Atlanta, about his fame and considerable fortunethe same month Vibe magazine dubbed him a multimillionaireas well as So So Def Recordings, the record label he acquired in a 1993 deal with Columbia Records. Speaking in the profanity-laden street talk with which he identifies, Dupri described the harsh upbringing his artists have had, and spoke of his own love for rap and appreciation of R&B.

Speaking about his early start in the music business, and vigorously defending gangsta rap, Dupri tried to explain his success. Marketing is his secret. I always watch each market and see what time it isif its time for stuff to change, he said. I think the big major labels, not to dog them out [but] their ears are not to the streets anymore, because all the old-fashioned ways of music have changed. Like, all the underground records are above-ground. And all underground records be big records right now. Snoops [Snoop Doggy Dogg] record Doing It Doggie Style is underground, Tupac [Shakur] same thing. He paused and then remarked, Yo, the streets is where its at right now.

Although Dupri has looked to the streets for his inspiration, his origins are from rather more fortunate circumstances. Born Jermaine Dupri Mauldin in Asheville, North Carolina, on September 23, 1972, he was the only child of Tina (Mosely) Mauldin and Michael Mauldin, a road manager for groups like Brick, the S.O.S. Band, and Cameo. Id go to rehearsals with him. Then Id try to do what they did, Dupri told Vibe.

Dupri received his own drum set at age threethe same year the family relocated to Atlanta for better opportunities. Music was his destiny. Skeptical about reports, which his publicist has confirmed, that he was named for Donny Hathaways guitarist Cornell Dupree,

At a Glance

Born Jermaine Dupri Mauldin on September 23, 1972, son of Tina (Mosely) and Michael (a Columbia Records executive) Mauldin.

Career: So So Def Recordings label, president and CEO, 1993-2003; So So Def Recordings distributed by Columbia Records, 1993-2003; Arista Records, senior vice president, 2003; So So Def Recordings distributed by Arista, 2003.

Awards: American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers, rhythm and soul musics songwriter of the year, 1997, 1999, 2000, and 2001; National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences, Heroes Award, 2003.

Addresses; Officec/o So So Def Recordings, Inc., 685 Lambert Drive, Atlanta, GA 30324-4125.

Pree and for Cal Dupree, a local DJ, Dupri believed that the spelling was changed because it looked more French and his parents thought that was cool. Whatever the reality, he later dropped his surname to differentiate himself from his father, who is in the same business. In fact the professional lives of father and son are closely linked; Michael Mauldinnow executive vice president of Columbia Records Groups black music divisionwould later manage Kriss Kross and Xscape. Although his parents separated when Jermaine was only ten, Michael Mauldin played an active role in his sons upbringing, and the two men remain close.

As a child, Jermaine was a firecracker on the keyboards and drums. He also loved to dance. He was ten years old when he made what might be called his professional debut. He recalled being at a massive Diana Ross concert with his mother: Diana Ross wanted kids to come on stage and perform with her. My mom went to the bathroom; I went on stage. And he was such an unabashed performer he was featured in the morning papers the next day.

At age 12, with his fathers connections, Dupri had a chance to tour as a dancer with the rap bands Whodini and Run-D.M.C. during their New York Fresh Festival. His first nationwide rap and dance tour gave Dupri his own invaluable connections in the business. The Whodini link was especially telling; years later, Dupri would find a way to repay the opportunity they gave him.

Dupri soon dropped out of school, though, where he was already making and selling his own tapes on a do-it-yourself label he called So So Def. He was assigned a tutor, but his schooling ended in the eleventh grade. I was into all musical aspects, more than the hip-hop, more musical aspects. I was taking piano lessons, playing drums. I was more into the musical side of the situation than the rap side. I was heading more towards musicianship.

Determined to be the ultimate Atlanta B-boy, Dupri told Vibe: I was wearing shell toes with no laces, Lees with the crease. His aim, he said, was to be a person thats just totally down with everything about rap, whether it be the graffiti aspect, the popping [dance] aspect, the rapping and DJ. I used to want to do all that. He got his wish, but in a way he had not anticipated when, at age 14, he met a new girl rap group called Silk Tymes Leather.

There were these two girls who were my friends, and they wanted to make a record, and I had this little energy within myself that I could be the person to make these records, Dupri recalled in Vibe. I really had no equipment. I just felt like I had the energy and half the knowledge to go into the studio. In 1987, he produced the album It Aint Where Ya From, which was released in 1990 to modest success; but the teenager had attracted attention, and he was making strong contacts. He managed to get Silk Tymes Leather into Geffen Records, where he himself had been paired with Joe the Butcher Nicolo, who had already produced songs for DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince.

The association with Nicolo served them both well when, in 1989, Dupri made a major addition to his stable of artistsKriss Kross. He had spotted the two 11-year-old boys, Chris Smith and Chris Kelly, leading around a pack of adoring little girls in a local mall and was intrigued. I just saw them, and I just thought they should be doing something that they needed to, and I was the person to make them do something. They had some glow about themselves no other kids had. Nicolo had just started Ruff House Records. Kriss Kross was Dupris housewarming gift. Totally Krossed Out, released in 1992, was written, arranged, and produced by Dupri; it went multiplatinum. Da Bomb, Kriss Kross next album, also went platinum.

Suddenly, at age 19, Dupri was a name in the industry. Audiences loved his ability to marry hip hop to melody. Unlike the gangsta-inclined George Clinton/Roger Troutman boogie that defines Suge Knights electrifying Death Row Records (at least when Dr. Dre was there) or Puffy Combs notoriously smooth aural fashion show, Vibe wrote, Dupris sound is down-home, basically bassy, and lusciouslymarketablybubblegum.

Dupri was anxious to prove himself in R&B as well as rap. At his 19th birthday party, he met his next big group, Xscape, a female group out of traditional R&B. Hummin Comin atCha, the album he produced for the foursome, went double platinum and included the gold single Understanding. In 1993 Columbia offered the 20-year-old Dupri his own label deal.

In an interview with CBB, Dupri described how R&B artists value his rap background. R&B artists always want somebody whos hip to know whats going to do good in the rap world as well as do right for the music they do, he said. Thats why he has worked so well with Mariah Carey, he noted. I keep my head level enough to be able to tell her, If you sing over the top of this beat, my rappers are going to fill it, and If we put this melody here, your audience ought to be able to get with it too.

Still, gangsta rap remains his first love. Thats all I listen to, Dupri told CBB, listing some of his favorite groups: 2Pac, Snoop, Dr. Dre, Notorious B.I.G. I think people dont like gangsta rap because its like the second phase of rap. Its the phase where the rappers realize, Were like news people now. Theyre giving you the news of whats going down in the streets. People in Georgia, where Im from, arent exposed to the things youll see in the ghettos. So, when groups like Wu Tang Clan come out talking about the projects, and Biggie and Snoop came out, all theyre telling you is whats going on, where theyre from. I mean, its stories.

As for raps misogynistic message, Dupri defended the use of the word bitch as a part of scenery of the ghetto and therefore its music. They got to be true to themselves. remarked Dupri during his CBB interview. All they know is this hard lifestyle in the hood, and thats all they can talk about. This was his belief when he met another of his labels major artists at a Kriss Kross concertShawntae Harris, professionally known simply as Da Brat. Her rap sound was rougher than that of previous women rappers.

I saw realism from Da Brat, Dupri told CBB. There are a lot of female MCs out there, and I just felt like it was time. And I felt there wasnt a solo female out there that had had production time put into her. And I think I like challenges, and one of my biggest challenges was to make Brat be the first female rapper to go platinum. Brats 1994 Funkdafied went platinum plus, but Dupri did not seem surprised. Within me and Brat, we built a star. We built someone that once you see her, you never forget her. And thats the same with Kriss Kross.

Although Dupris clients have had some cross-over success Dupri joked to CBB: I think cross-over every once in a while, when I aint had no big records in a long time. But if you sit in the studio and try to put a label on your music, it dont never come out right I try to characterize my stuff as universal, not just for black people. Dupri has enjoyed quiet competition with those three other black producers profiled by News week Sean (Puff Daddy) Combs, Dallas Austin, and Teddy Riley. And he has made two new albumsSix with Whodini, who helped him on his way up, and Anutha Tantrum with Da Brat. Bubblegum rap, he says, is out of the picture; and gangsta is now giving way to a cleaner, cooler rap.

Dupris sense of the music business provides a strong foundation for his success. He concentrates his keen eye on the voids in the music and continues to fill them. He told Jet the You can see the gaps and see where gaps are. Its like being at a football game. Those up in the box seats can see the field better than the coach. Thats what I consider myself, as someone in the box. I can see whats going on. His special talent has been finding young men for black girls to scream for, as he told Jet. After Kriss Kross, he spotted Usher Raymond and produced Ushers hit album My Way, which became one of the best-selling albums of 1997. He then became the mastermind behind teen heartthrob Bow Wow.

But Dupri does not confine himself to the talents of others. He too aspires to the spotlight. He performed with Mariah Carey on 1998s Sweetheart. For his first album as a performer, 1998s Jermaine Duprie Presents Life in 1472 and the albums single, Money Aint a Thang, Dupri earned Grammy nominations. The album went platinum to further establish Dupris dominance in the music industry. He followed these with Instructions in 2001, and Green Light in 2004.

By 2003 Dupri had created the most celebrated teen heartthrobs in the black music industry for a decade, including Jagged Edge, Anthony Hamilton, and J-Won, and produced some of the best talents in the industry, including Mariah Carey, TLC, Aretha Franklin, Ludacris, Alicia Keys and Janet Jackson, to make the So So Def one of the most successful independent music labels in the industry. And the more established record companies took notice. Arista Records made an exclusive production agreement with Dupri, naming him senior vice president. Under the agreement Dupris So So Def label would be distributed by Arista and Dupri would find and develop new talents for Arista. One of the first talents Dupri signed under the new agreement, Bone Crusher, signaled his continued success.

Selective discography

Albums

Jermaine Dupri Presents Life in 1472, So So Def, 1998.

Instructions, So So Def, 2001.

Green Light, Arista, 2004.

Sources

Periodicals

Jet, May 21, 2001, p. 38; March 3, 2003, p. 21.

Newsweek, May 8, 1995, p. 64.

R&B Airplay Monitor, June 7, 1996.

Time, July 20, 1998, p. 63.

Vibe, September 1996, p. 136.

Other

Additional information for this profile was obtained through an interview with Jermaine Dupri on September 5, 1996, and from publicity materials from So So Def Recordings.

Joan Oleck and Sara Pendergast

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Dupri, Jermaine 1972–

Jermaine Dupri 1972

At a Glance

The Little Musician

Became a Name in the Industry

The Second Phase of Rap

Selected discography

Sources

Record producer

In May of 1995,Newsweek reported on four young black record producers it called flashy, streetwise and entrepreneurialyoung men raised on street talk and hip-hop and now working with R&B and rap superstars ranging from Michael Jackson and Bobby Brown to Boyz II Men and Kriss Kross. The four producers, according to the news magazine, were shaping pop music the way the songwriters and producers at Motown and Stax [record labels] did three decades agoand selling plenty of albums, some 70 million among the four of them. Remarkably, not one of the four producers described was over the age of 30. The youngest, then just 23, was Jermaine Dupri.

Although Dupris name may not be readily familiar, his work is: the 1992 Kriss Kross debut multi-platinum Totally Krossed Out, which sold eight million copies; Kriss Kross follow-up platinum LP, DaBomb; the 1994 platinum Funkdafied by Da Brat; and the platinum Hummin Comin atCha by Xscape. Dupri has also been responsible for such individual songs as Mariah Careys Always Be My Baby, TLCs Baby, Baby, Baby, and Toni Braxton sBreathe Again, plus the hit Keep On Keepin On, by MC Lyte, from the Sunset Park movie soundtrack.

As he approached his 24th birthday in September of 1996, Dupri paused in his busy studio schedule to reflect, in a phone interview from his base in Atlanta, about his fame and considerable fortunethe same month Vibe magazine dubbed him a multimillionaireas well as So So Def Recordings, the record label he acquired in a 1993 deal with Columbia Records. Speaking in the profanity-laden street talk with which he identifies, Dupri described the harsh upbringing his artists have had, and spoke of his own love for rap and appreciation of R&B.

Speaking about his early start in the music business, and vigorously defending gangsta rap, Dupri tried to explain his success. Marketing is his secret. I always watch each market and see what time it isif its time for stuff to change, he said. I think the big major labels, not to dog them out [but] their ears are not to the streets anymore, because all the old-fashioned ways of music have changed. Like, all the underground records are above-ground. And all underground records be big records right now. Snoops [Snoop Doggy Dogg] record [Doing It Doggie Style] is underground, Tupac [Shakur] same thing. He

At a Glance

Born Jermaine Dupri Mauldin on September 23, 1972, son of Tina (Mosely) and Michael (a Columbia Records executive) Maludin.

As a teenager, danced with rap groups on tour; coproduced his first record album with rap group Silk Tymes Leather at age 14; produced the multiplatinum rap group Kriss Kross., Signed by Columbia Recordings which offered him his own label, So So Def Recordings, 1993, where he is president and CEO; has worked with such successful rap groups as Xscape and TLC, and such individual R&B and rap artists as Mariah Carey, Bobby Brown, Toni Braxton, The Notorious B.I.G., Da Brat, Gerald Levert, and MC Lyte.

Addresses; Officedo So So Def Recordings, Inc., 685 Lambert Drive, Atlanta, GA 30324-4125.

paused and then remarked, Yo, the streets is where its at right now.

The Little Musician

Although Dupri has looked to the streets for his inspiration, his origins are from rather more fortunate circumstances. Born Jermaine Dupri Mauldin in Asheville, North Carolina, on September 23, 1972, he was the only child of Tina (Mosely) Mauldin and Michael Mauldin, a road manager for groups like Brick, the S.O.S. Band, and Cameo. Id go to rehearsals with him. Then Id try to do what they did, Dupri told Vibe.

Dupri received his own drum set at age threethe same year the family relocated to Atlanta for better opportunities. Music was his destiny. Skeptical about reports, which his publicist has confirmed, that he was named for Donny Hathaways guitarist Cornell Dupree, and for Cal Dupree, a local DJ, Dupri believed that the spelling was changed because it looked more French and his parents thought that was cool. Whatever the reality, he later dropped his surname to differentiate himself from his father, who is in the same business. In fact the professional lives of father and son are closely linked; Michael Mauldinnow executive vice president of Columbia Records Groups black music divisionwould later manage Kriss Kross and Xscape. Although his parents separated when Jermaine was only ten, Michael Mauldin played an active role in his sons upbringing, and the two men remain close.

As a child, Jermaine was a firecracker on the keyboards and drums. He also loved to dance. He was ten years old when he made what might be called his professional debut. He recalled being at a massive Diana Ross concert with his mother: Diana Ross wanted kids to come on stage and perform with her. My mom went to the bathroom; I went on stage. And he was such an unabashed performer he was featured in the morning papers the next day.

At age 12, with his fathers connections, Dupri had a chance to tour as a dancer with the rap bands Whodini and Run-D.M.C. during their New York Fresh Festival. His first nationwide rap and dance tour gave Dupri his own invaluable connections in the business. The Whodini link was especially telling; years later, Dupri would find a way to repay the opportunity they gave him.

Dupri soon dropped out of school, though, where he was already making and selling his own tapes on a do it-yourself label he called So So Def. He was assigned a tutor, but his schooling ended in the eleventh grade. I was into all musical aspects, more than the hip-hop, more musical aspects. I was taking piano lessons, playing drums. I was more into the musical side of the situation than the rap side. I was heading more towards musicianship.

Determined to be the ultimate Atlanta B-boy, Dupri told Vibe: I was wearing shell toes with no laces, Lees with the crease. His aim, he said, was to be a person thats just totally down with everything about rap, whether it be the graffiti aspect, the popping [dance] aspect, the rapping and DJ. I used to want to do all that. He got his wish, but in a way he had not anticipated when, at age 14, he met a new girl rap group called Silk Tymes Leather.

Became a Name in the Industry

There were these two girls who were my friends, and they wanted to make a record, and I had this little energy within myself that I could be the person to make these records, Dupri recalled in Vibe. I really had no equipment. I just felt like I had the energy and half the knowledge to go into the studio. In 1987, he produced the album It Ain t Where Ya From, which was released in 1990 to modest success; but the teenager had attracted attention, and he was making strong contacts. He managed to get Silk Tymes Leather into Geffen Records, where he himself had been paired with Joe the Butcher Nicolo, who had already produced songs for DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince.

The association with Nicolo served them both well when, in 1989, Dupri made a major addition to his stable of artistsKriss Kross. He had spotted the two 11-year-old boys, Chris Smith and Chris Kelly, leading around a pack of adoring little girls in a local mall and was intrigued. I just saw them, and I just thought they should be doing something that they needed to, and I was the person to make them do something. They had some glow about themselves no other kids had. Nicolo had just started Ruff House Records. Kriss Kross was Dupris housewarming gift. Totally Krossed Out, released in 1992, was written, arranged, and produced by Dupri; it went multiplatinum. Da Bomb, Kriss Kross next album, also went platinum.

Suddenly, at age 19, Dupri was a name in the industry. Audiences loved his ability to marry hip hop to melody. Unlike the gangsta-inclined George Clinton/Roger Troutman boogie that defines Suge Knights electrifying Death Row Records (at least when Dr. Dre was there) or Puffy Combs notoriously smooth aural fashion show, Vibe wrote, Dupris sound is down-home, basically bassy, and lusciouslymarketablybubblegum.

Dupri was anxious to prove himself in R&B as well as rap. At his 19th birthday party, he met his next big group, Xscape, a female group out of traditional R&B. Hummin Comin atCha, the album he produced for the foursome, went double platinum and included the gold single Understanding. In 1993 Columbia offered the 20-year-old Dupri his own label deal.

In an interview with CBB, Dupri described how R&B artists value his rap background. R&B artists always want somebody whos hip to know whats going to do good in the rap world as well as do right for the music they do, he said. Thats why he has worked so well with Mariah Carey, he noted. I keep my head level enough to be able to tell her, If you sing over the top of this beat, my rappers are going to fill it, and If we put this melody here, your audience ought to be able to get with it too.

The Second Phase of Rap

Still, gangsta rap remains his first love. Thats all I listen to, Dupri told CBB, listing some of his favorite groups: 2Pac, Snoop, Dr. Dre, Notorious B.I.G. I think people dont like gangsta rap because its like the second phase of rap. Its the phase where the rappers realize, Were like news people now Theyre giving you the news of whats going down in the streets People in Georgia, where Im from, arent exposed to the things youll see in the ghettos. So, when groups like Wu Tang Clan come out talking about the projects, and Biggie and Snoop came out, all theyre telling you is whats going on, where theyre from. I mean, its stories.

As for raps misogynistic message, Dupri defended the use of the word bitch as a part of scenery of the ghetto and therefore its music. They got to be true to themselves remarked Dupri during his CBB interview. All they know is this hard lifestyle in the hood, and thats all they can talk about. This was his belief when he met another of his labels major artists at a Kriss Kross concertShawntae Harris, professionally known simply as Da Brat. Her rap sound was rougher than that of previous women rappers.

I saw realism from Da Brat, Dupri told CBB. There are a lot of female MCs out there, and I just felt like it was time And I felt there wasnt a solo female out there that had had production time put into her. And I think I like challenges, and one of my biggest challenges was to make Brat be the first female rapper to go platinum. Brats 1994 Funkdafied went platinum-plus, but Dupri did not seem surprised. Within me and Brat, we built a star. We built someone that once you see her, you never forget her. And thats the same with Kriss Kross.

Although Dupris clients have had some cross-over success Dupri joked to CBB: I think cross-over every once in a while, when I aint had no big records in a long time. But if you sit in the studio and try to put a label on your music, it dont never come out right I try to characterize my stuff as universal, not just for black people. Dupri has enjoyed quiet competition with those three other black producers profiled by Newsweek Sean (Puff Daddy) Combs, Dallas Austin, and Teddy Riley. And he has made two new albums Six with Whodini, who helped him on his way up, and Anutha Tantrum with Da Brat. Bubblegum rap, he says, is out of the picture; and gangsta is now giving way to a cleaner, cooler rap.

Selected discography

Albums (as producer)

Kris Kross, Totally Krossed Out, Ruffhouse/Columbia Records, 1992.

Xscape, Hummiri Comiri atCha, So So Def/Columbia, 1993.

Da Brat, Funkdafied, So So Def/Columbia, 1994.

Xscape, Off the Hook, So So Def/Columbia, 1995.

Kris Kross,Da Bomb, Ruffhouse/Columbia.

Whodini, Six.

Da Brat, Anutha Tantrum.

Braxtons, High School High.

Singles

Braxton, Toni, Breathe Again, Remix, LaFace Records.

Brown, Bobby, Humpin Around, Remix, MCA Records.

Carey, Mariah, Always Be My Baby, Columbia Records.

Immature, Good Things, Virgin Records.

The Notorious B.I.G., Big Poppa, Remix, Bad Boy Entertainment.

Sources

Periodicals

Newsweek, May 8, 1995, p. 64.

R&B Airplay Monitor, June 7, 1996.

Vibe, September 1996, p. 136.

Other

Additional information for this profile was obtained through a CBB interview with Jermaine Dupri on September 5, 1996, and from publicity materials from So So Def Recordings.

Joan Oleck

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Dupri, Jermaine

Jermaine Dupri

Producer, rap artist

For the Record

Selected discography

Sources

Long before Jermaine Dupri released his debut album in 1998, Jermaine Dupri Presents: Life in 1472, he was the man behind the scenes of a host of R&B chart-toppers. Talents like Usher, Da Brat, MC Lyte, Johnny Gill, Lil Kim, TLC (whose Dupri-produced record Crazy Sexy Cool went ten times platinum) and Mariah Carey, among others, had benefited from his work as a producer on their records. Dupri started in the business at an early age, discovering and promoting the young rap duo Kriss Kross while he was still a teenager himself.

Dupri, whose real last name is Mauldin, was born in North Carolina but raised in Atlanta, Georgia. His father, Michael Mauldin, was an Atlanta talent manager, and coordinated a Diana Ross concert in 1982. Little Jermaine managed to get onstage and dance with her. In the following years, he appeared with Herbie Hancock and Cameo before he got his start dancing on the Fresh Fest rap tour with L.L. Cool J., Whodini, Run-D.M.C., Grandmaster Flash and Slick Rick in 1985. At the age of 14, he started his career as a producer by producing a record for the group Silk Tymes Leather and securing a recording contract for them. Then he discovered Kriss Kross. He saw the child duo performing at a local shopping mall and proceeded to design their image and launch them into momentary stardom. In 1992, Columbia Records took on his record label, So So Def, as a subsidiary. Dupri headquartered So So Def in his hometown of Atlanta, a known hotbed of R&B talent. His success also worked to benefit his familyhis mother, Tina Mauldin, ran his production company and his father became president of black music division at Columbia.

Dupri the producer and label head had a one-track mind. I do [music] 100 percent, he told Time in 1998. Aint nothing else going on in my life. Everybody else got kids, families. Its completely music for me. His home, which he shared with his mother, was tailored to meet all his professional and recreational needs. He had a home studio and often attended So So Def meetings via speakerphone. The gold and platinum records he wrote or produced for the likes of Mariah Carey, TLC and Usher adorned his walls, and he had several full-size video games in his den.

Dupris talent as a producer became somewhat of a burden to him. After a string of successful records, most notably for R&B man Usher, it seemed he had the magic touch, and everyone wanted to be part of it. Speaking of artists who looked to him to give their careers a little boost, Dupri told Rolling Stone, Its almost like they coming to me looking for a magic trick. Itd be stupid for me to believe that what I did with Usher I can do with Joe Blow. Usher got talent that I cant take away from him. I just had to bring it out.

For the Record

Jermaine Dupri, born Jermaine Mauldin, 1972, in NC; son of Tina and Michael Mauldin.

Started as a dancer on the Fresh Fest tour, 1985; discovered rap duo Kriss Kross as a teen; his label So So Def became Columbia Records subsidiary, 1992; produced and/or remixed for Kriss Kross, Immature, TLC, Run DMC, Xscape, Bobby Brown, DaBrat, El Debarge, Shanice, Da Bush Babees, Bad Boys, Mariah Carey, Puff Johnson, So-so Def Bass All-Stars, Braxtons, Aaliyah, MC Lyte, New Edition, Whodini, Richie Rich, Johnny Gill, Lil Kim, Roberto Torres, Michael Bolton, Usher, Mase, LSG, Dru Hill, Aretha Franklin, Monica, Jay Z, Keith Sweat, Caught Up, from 1992-1998; released debut Life in 1472, 1998.

Addresses: Record company So So Def, 685 Lambert Dr. NE, Atlanta, GA 30324-4125.

In 1998, Dupri stepped out from behind the curtain, front and center, to release his own record. Jermaine Dupri Presents: Life in 1472, released on So So Def, was hard-core gangsta rap and it meant somethingDupri had been 14 years in the music business and was born in 1972. The music and lyrics, true to the gangsta rap ethic, were hard-edged. Like so much great urban music these days, Life in 1472 is also a disturbing documenta brash and lurid depiction of the gigolo or jiggy lifestyle, The Village Voice wrote in a review of the album. Time said the record was tainted with misogyny.

Jermaine Dupri Presents: Life in 1472 was likened to Quincy Jones Back on the Block in several reviews in that, for a solo album, it boasted a long list of guest artists. Those included on the record were among the hottest names in hip-hop and R&B, all of whom just happened to be his friends. Mariah Carey, Nas, Jay-Z, Slick Rick, Too Short, Mase, Lil Kim, and Snoop Doggy Dogg all appeared on the release. In an era when no rap album is complete without a cornucopia of guest stars, wrote Rolling Stone in a review of Life in 1472. J.D.s long guest list still stands out. Of Dupris talents as an MC, Rolling Stone said, J.D.s own rhymes smoothly straddle that fine line between healthy braggadocio and low-grade megalomania. That was saying a lot for a hard-core rap artist at the time, as many artists of the genre were notorious for not recognizing that fine line, and more for boldly ignoring it.

As if his influence wasnt spread far enough, Dupri wanted to make an accompanying movie for his record, called Jermaine Dupri Presents: The City of 1472. Dupri said it was like a hip-hop version of The Wizard of Oz, starring himself as the Wizard. He said people would come to his city to make things happen for them in their lives. He likened the city to his real work with artists, his habit for success, and how that seemed to put him in his own world, separate from the rest.

At 26, Dupri maintained that Jermaine Dupri Presents: Life in 1472 would be his first and last release as a performer. Production is where he wanted to stay, but not because he felt his talents as an MC were at all second rate. If I was to let producing go and be a full-fledged rapper, I would be one of the best rappers in the game, he told Rolling Stones Mark Binelli in 1998. I would be one of them rappers that yall keep talking about, like Jay-Z, Method Man, Nas. I would be up in that range. And in an uncharacteristically humble comment to Jet, Dupri said, I dont consider myself a star. I create stars.

Selected discography

Jermaine Dupri Presents: Life in 1472, So So Def/Columbia, 1998.

Sources

Periodicals

Rolling Stone, August 6, 1998; December 24, 1998.

The Village Voice, July 28, 1998.

Time, July 20, 1998.

Jet, July 13, 1998.

Online

Jermaine Dupri, All-Media Guide, http://www.allmusic.com (January 5, 1999).

Additional information was provided by Columbia publicity materials, 1999.

Brenna Sanchez

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Dupri, Jermaine

JERMAINE DUPRI

Born: Atlanta, Georgia, 23 September 1972

Genre: R&B

Best-selling album since 1990: Jermaine Dupri Presents: Life in 1472 (1998)

Hit songs since 1990: "The Party Continues," "Welcome to Atlanta"


Beginning his career in the early 1990s as the driving force behind rap and R&B groups such as Kris Kross and Xscape, Jermaine Dupri quickly built a reputation as one of the most talented, innovative young producers in the music industry, lending his trenchant, hook-laden beats and rhythms to recordings by stars such as Usher, TLC, Mariah Carey, and Aretha Franklin. By the beginning of the twenty-first century Dupri had also established a successful career as a solo artist, releasing two albums that combined his rapping with guest performances by some of the biggest names in R&B. In addition, he became a wealthy music CEO, heading his own label, So So Def, and overseeing its roster of hit-making artists.

The son of an Atlanta-based road manager for touring artists, Dupri began performing by the age of ten, appearing as a dancer in a live concert by pop star Diana Ross in 1982. Spending the next few years dancing onstage with a variety of R&B acts, Dupri moved into production in 1989, overseeing the debut recording of female rap group Silk Tymes Leather. Although the album was a commercial failure, Dupri did not have to wait long for his big break. In 1991 he discovered a pair of thirteen-year-old rappers performing at Atlanta's Greenbriar shopping mall. Dupri named the duo Kris Kross and, displaying an impresario's instinct for gimmick, suggested the young artists wear their clothes backward in public appearances. The subsequent album, Totally Krossed Out (1992), features the number one R&B hits "Jump" and "Warm It Up," both written and produced by nineteen-year-old Dupri. Now one of the hottest producers in R&B, Dupri founded his So So Def label and spearheaded the successful careers of female rapper Da Brat and vocal group Xscape. At the same time, he produced tracks for up-and-coming artists such as R&B crooner Usher, who became a pop star when he recorded Dupri's song, "You Make Me Wanna . . ." (1997).

After producing further hits for Mariah Carey, TLC, rapper Lil' Kim, and others, Dupri turned his attentions to a solo project, Jermaine Dupri Presents: Life in 1472. Although Dupri raps on each of the album's tracks, he surrounds himself with a host of guest artists, including pop stars Carey and Keith Sweat, as well as rappers Jay-Z, Lil' Kim, and Snoop Dogg. Performed in his characteristically nasal, somewhat sleepy-sounding voice, Dupri's raps take the form of boasts concerning money, success, and women. At times his lyrics evince an exaggerated sense of humor, such as on "Fresh," performed with rap legend Slick Rick: "[I can] even make Salvation Army clothes look good / Don't even wear the same underwear two times." "All That's Got to Go," featuring the vocals of Xscape member LaTocha Scott, is one of the album's most enjoyable tracks, using the melodic riff from Aretha Franklin's 1982 hit "Jump to It" as backdrop for a sharp, profane battle of the sexes.

In 2001 Dupri released a follow-up album, Instructions, featuring the tortuous funk groove of the hits, "Welcome to Atlanta" and "Ballin' Out of Control." While Dupri has gained toughness and assurance as a rapper, his lyrical themessummed up in the song title, "Money, Hoes & Power"remain the same. Dupri experienced a personal setback in December 2002, when federal agents seized his cars and furniture due to an alleged $2.5 million owed the Internal Revenue Service. Overcoming this crisis, he soon announced a new distribution deal for So So Def with Arista Records, ending a decade-long arrangement with Columbia Records.

Known for a "bouncy" production style in which sinuous rhythms are punctuated by spoken interjections, Dupri was a trendsetter in 1990s rap and R&B. By the end of the decade, Dupri was releasing guest-laden solo albums graced by his verbal wit and rhythmic drive.

SELECTIVE DISCOGRAPHY:

Jermaine Dupri Presents: Life in 1472 (So So Def, 1998); Instructions (So So Def, 2001).

WEBSITE:

www.jermainedupri.com.

david freeland

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