Jermaine Dupri Mauldin (born September 23, 1972) is an American rapper, songwriter, record producer and record executive. He was born in Asheville, North Carolina and was raised in Atlanta. He has worked with and produced for Kris Kross, Mariah Carey, Usher, Jay-Z, Nelly, Monica, Migos, Da Brat, Xscape, Janet Jackson, TLC, Aretha Franklin, Ludacris, Alicia Keys, and Bow Wow.
Dupri in March 2012
September 23, 1972
|Home town||Atlanta, Georgia, U.S.|
|Net worth||US$5 million (2017)|
|Television||The Rap Game|
|Awards||List of awards and nominations|
Jermaine Dupri Mauldin was born on September 23, 1972, son of Tina (Mosley) and Michael Mauldin, a Columbia Records executive. Dupri's promising musical career began before he was even ten years old. His father, also an Atlanta talent manager, had coordinated a Diana Ross show in 1982; to the delight of concert-goers, Dupri managed to get on-stage and dance along with Ross. Dupri got his start as a dancer for the hip hop group Whodini when he was twelve. He made an appearance in their music video for the song "Freaks Come Out at Night". He began performing around the country, appearing with Herbie Hancock and Cameo before he opened the New York Fresh Festival, with Run-D.M.C., Whodini, and Grandmaster Flash.
1992–1996: Early career
In 1990, he produced his first act, the female hip hop trio Silk Tymes Leather. He later formed the teen duo Kris Kross (Chris Kelly and Chris Smith) after meeting the boys at a local mall in 1991. The group's first album, Totally Krossed Out, was released in 1992 and went multi-platinum due to their singles "Jump" and "Warm It Up", both written and produced by Dupri. He established his own record label called So So Def in 1993. Shortly after, he discovered female R&B group Xscape at a festival in Atlanta and signed them to the label. Their debut album, produced entirely by Dupri, Hummin' Comin' at 'Cha, went platinum with the support of the singles "Understanding", "Love on My Mind", "Tonight" and "Just Kickin' It", with the later peaking at number 2 on the Billboard Hot 100. During the same year, on Yo! MTV Raps he met Da Brat through Kris Kross, signed her to his label So So Def Recordings, and released her debut Funkdafied (1994) which went platinum. So So Def Recordings entered into a distribution partnership with Columbia Records in 1993. In 1995, he collaborated with Mariah Carey for the first time on the number one hit single "Always Be My Baby." He contributed to Lil' Kim's 1996 album, Hard Core on the track "Not Tonight".
1997–2003: Columbia, Arista Records
In 1997, Dupri co-wrote and produced several tracks on Usher's second album, My Way. The lead single, "You Make Me Wanna", reached number-one on the Rhythmic Top 40 and Hot R&B/Hip-Hop chart. The follow up single "Nice & Slow" went to number-one on the Billboard 100 and Hot R&B/Hip-Hop chart, and the last single, "My Way" peaked at number-two on Billboard 100. All three singles have been certified Platinum by Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). A featured guest on the album, Monica, would also later become a protegé of Dupri, with her second album, The Boy Is Mine, dropping in July of that year. Dupri produced the single of the album "The First Night", which peaked atop the U.S. Billboard charts, with the album receiving the triple platinum certification and universal acclaim.
In 1998, Jermaine Dupri was involved in the release of Destiny's Child's eponymous debut album. Dupri renewed the focus on his own music career, which proved successful with release of the singles "Sweetheart" featuring Mariah Carey (US#126), "The Party Continues" featuring Da Brat and Usher (U.S. #26), and "Money Ain't a Thang" featuring Jay-Z (U.S. #56), the lead singles from his debut studio album Life in 1472. Also that year he met soon-to-be frequent collaborator and production partner Bryan-Michael Cox, as well as 11-year-old rapper, known then as Lil' Bow Wow and signed him to So So Def Recordings. The two would later part ways after only 2 albums, but continued to frequently collaborate on later projects. The deal with Columbia was terminated in 2002 and in 2003 Dupri switched to Arista Records. Dupri worked on Tamar Braxton's debut album, Tamar on the track "Get None" as well as with Weezer and Lil Wayne on the song "Can't Stop Partying." He also collaborated with DJ Chuckie to make a vocal version of the song "Let The Bass Kick". He soon released his sophomore studio album Instructions in October 2001.
2004–2009: Confessions and The Emancipation of Mimi
In 2004 Dupri connected again with Usher contributing to Confessions co-writing and co-producing three consecutive singles Billboard Hot 100 number one songs "Burn", "Confessions Part II", and "My Boo". Confessions won Best Contemporary R&B Album and Best R&B Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals. Confessions has been certified diamond by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) and, as of 2012, has sold 10 million copies in the US and over 20 million copies worldwide.
Dupri in early 2005 worked with Mariah Carey on her The Emancipation Of Mimi with the smash hit "We Belong Together". It stayed at number one for fourteen non-consecutive weeks, becoming the second longest running number one song in US chart history, behind Carey's 1996 collaboration with Boyz II Men on "One Sweet Day". We Belong Together" won Grammy's for Best Female R&B Vocal Performance and Best R&B Song. The same year he worked on Wanted with Bow Wow, he co-produced and co-wrote "Let Me Hold You". Later in December, Dupri produced and co-wrote Nelly's single "Grillz", which struck atop the Billboard charts yet again.
In early 2006, Dupri signed both Dem Franchize Boyz and Daz Dillinger to his label So So Def after transferring it from Arista Records to Virgin Records. The latter's album, So So Gangsta, was released in September of that year, while the former's label debut was released the following year with the album On Top of Our Game which topped the US Top Rap Albums with the hit songs "I Think They Like Me" and "Lean wit It, Rock wit It." The group also featured alongside Dupri on Monica's snap single, "Everytime tha Beat Drop" (U.S. #48) off her fifth album, The Makings of Me. In late 2006, Dupri executive produced the album 20 Y.O. by his then-partner, Janet Jackson, along with co-producing and co-writing half the tracklist and all of the singles. He returned for her ninth album, Discipline in 2008, producing the single "Rock With U".
In October 2007, he published his memoir, "Young, Rich and Dangerous: The Making of a Music Mogul" (Atria Books). In November 2007 co-produced and co-wrote with So So Def intern No I.D. this time on Jay-Z's tenth studio album American Gangster. The two contributed to the songs "Success" and "Fallin".
2010–present: The Rap Game
On October 7, 2013, he replaced Randy Jackson as Carey's talent manager. He later parted ways with Carey in August 2014, though they still maintain a professional relationship, as he was a producer on nearly all of her albums since Daydream (1995).
In 2015, Dupri and Queen Latifah created a reality television series, The Rap Game. The eight-episode series premiered on Lifetime on New Year's Day, 2016. It followed five emerging artists, ages 11–16, who were immersed in the Atlanta hip-hop scene in a quest to become a rap star. Dupri was joined by guests including Usher, Ludacris, Da Brat, T.I. and Silentó; they gave the competitors advice on what it takes to be in the industry. Most competitors have released solo work, receiving guidance and instrumentation from Dupri.
In 2018, he was inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame.
In 2018, Jermaine Dupri his So So Def brand celebrated an exhibit at the Grammy Museum in Los Angeles, California called, Jermaine Dupri & So So Def, 25 Years Of Elevating Culture.
From 2002 to 2009, Dupri was involved in a romantic relationship with singer Janet Jackson, which resulted in a brief musical connection.
Awards and nominations
|1999||Life in 1472||Best Rap Album||Nominated|
|1999||"Money Ain't a Thang"||Best Rap Performance by a Duo or Group||Nominated|
|2006||"We Belong Together"||Best R&B Song||Won|
|2006||"We Belong Together"||Song of the Year||Nominated|
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- "Queen Latifah & Jermaine Dupri to Search for Next Hip-Hop Star With Lifetime Series: Exclusive | Billboard". Billboard. Retrieved February 22, 2016.
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- "Songwriters Hall Of Fame Announces 2018 Inductees". Songwriters Hall of Fame.
- "25 Years of Jermaine Dupri and So So Def". Grammymuseum.org. Retrieved December 4, 2019.
- Carl Lamarre, "Jermaine Dupri Encourages Fans to Go Vegan in PETA's Latest Ad: Exclusive," Billboard, August 23, 2018.
- "Rock on the Net". Rockonthenet.com. Retrieved February 4, 2013.
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