There aren’t many entrepreneurs that can say they have 20 years of success in their given field, but music mogul Jermaine Dupri just doesn’t fit that mold. Dupri recently celebrated the 20 year success of his record laBEl So So Def last month in Atlanta, and has no plans of letting up anytime soon.
It’s no big secret that Jermaine Dupri is responsible for igniting the careers of Xscape, Da Brat, Kris Kross, Jagged Edge, Bow Wow, J-Kwon, and our cover artist Dondria, with extremely close ties to mega artists Mariah Carey, Nelly, Lil Jon, Usher, and Jay Z. That’s a solid resume on it’s own, but still doesn’t mention the numBEr of artists whose life he’s changed through his musical prowess.
Jermaine Dupri’s legacy is so strong that he’s pretty much synonymous with the city of Atlanta. Millions of ATLiens and tourists alike have BEen greeted by JD’s So So Def Billboard, making it and his laBEl a staple inside the city limits. Jermaine Dupri is also known as the Mayor, which even Atlanta’s actual Mayor Kasim Reed has BEen heard giving JD his just dues and referring to him as the Mayor of Atlanta.
With so many accolades, it’s easy to get it twisted and think that JD’s lived an easy life. “Nothing’s BEen easy, it’s all BEen sort of a struggle each time I put out an artist. It ain’t never BEen easy. I felt all of those pains coming from Atlanta when people wasn’t coming from Atlanta and trying to make people understand that I saw the music scene BEing what the music scene is now and what if BEcame back then when I first started.”
There’s power in a name and JD predicted his success long BEfore it came to fruition. “I was B-Boying at the time when I created So So Def, and the word DEF was thee word at the time to every B-Boy. It’s kind of like when the word swag came out and artists like Soulja Boy was using it and people were getting tired of the word so quick; but when I heard it, I was like this reminds me of the same way def was. Everything was def , everything had to BE def. And then Def Jam came out, and it was just like for me, I put So So in front of it BEcause that meant it was just that much more DEF than anything else.”
Jermaine Dupri clearly has a keen eye for success, when you dissect certain groups like Xscape and look at their individual successes after the group split, it’s clear that JD was on to something by putting them together, and while JD remained humble about it, even he had to admit the real meaning BEhind it. “If people are still doing stuff today, since the time that I signed them back in ’93, that means that I really saw some talent; I really worked with some talented people and it’s just like a confirmation for myself.”
So So Def’s acts are known trendsetters, especially as it pertains to fashion. “At the time, I didn’t even know that we were fusing so many different components. I’m learning that now as I talk to these kids with clothing lines now-a-days, and they tell me that they grew up watching Kris Kross and the inspiration that Kris Kross gave them to do the stuff that they do now, but at the time we was just doing it. There wasn’t a real emphasis on let’s make sure we do it this way; we came up with a style that we liked, and since that style was liked on the first day, everything that we came up with revolving around that style just fell into place.”
Jermaine Dupri’s passionate about music, so much so that he’s made it his motto to always think with the nonBElievers in mind. A lot f his BEst derived from the naysayers and him making it a point to prove them wrong. After looking at JD’s continued success in music, blogging, photography, and BEing a tastemaker, it looks like his plan is working just fine for the motivated mogul.