Jermaine Dupri talks Regrets and Hopes

Photo credit: The Estelle Show on Apple Music Hits


Jermaine Dupri Talks To Apple Music About Projects He Worked On That He Wished Had Done Better….


I wish that the ‘20 Y.O.’ album would’ve been accepted better than it did, the Janet album. I feel like it was, once again, me pushing the envelope before people was prepared. I made a song with Janet Jackson and Kayah. This was before anybody’s thinking about being ratchet. And I put the most ratchetiest person in the world on a song with the world sweetheart, with Janet Jackson, and people were really like, “Oh, Jermaine don’t know what he doing. Why would he put a song with Janet and Kayah?” Now you look and it’s like this would be the normal thing to do. I will say ‘The Young, Rich & Dangerous’ album by Kris Kross because people… Since the June 27th record, that record got so big in Houston. And for it to be that big and it be my beat from that album, it’s crazy because June 27th, Drake raps over this beat, it becomes a mainstay in Houston. It feels like an underground record that I made, but I made it for a group that was a higher ground, but it’s coming off like, “Jermaine made this underground record for Kris Kross that became a cult classic record in Houston. Travis Scott saw me at Lovers + Friends the first year, and him and Chase B, they both came up to me and they was like, “Man, you are a god.” And I’m like, “What?” And he was like, “You made June 27. Do you know what that beat means to people from Houston?” I was just like, “Damn. Okay.” And when they mention it, now people don’t actually even mention Kris Kross to me. And I think that’s the part where I’m like, “It’s these guys’ records, this is their record. This is their song. I made it for them, but I appreciate it.” That’s one that I wish, like I said, if I could have made do better, especially now that I see the people reacting.


Jermaine Dupri Tells Apple Music About Wanting To Work With Drake….


I think me and Drake have to get in the studio at some point because he makes a lot of R&B records and I feel like he can make a mainstream R&B record and I feel like they comfortable in the space they’re in, they should, he’s had the longest run of anybody, but I feel like if he and I ever got a chance to work, that’s what I would try to make with him, not a rap record. I would try to make a song, an R&B record that people haven’t heard him do that I know he could do. It’s some kind of depth to where I’m thinking about that would put him in a different, “Oh, this one don’t sound like all these other records that he’s made.”


Jermaine Dupri Talks To Apple Music About His Magic City Documentary…


Everything that I do is really based on my life. These documentaries is on real life. The people that I’ve taken in Magic City makes it legendary. I took Quincy Jones in Magic City. I took Janet Jackson to Magic City.  Talib Kweli talks about the first time that he ever came to Atlanta. He went to Magic City with me and Janet. They’re throwing the money in the air and people seeing that, “Make it rain.” I actually was the person who created this because I did this first in Money Ain’t A Thing video, me and Jay-Z are in the car throwing money with throwing money throughout the whole video. That became my thing with that song, that became my thing going into these strip clubs. And I remember going in the club throwing the money. The first time I ever threw the money in the air, I probably threw a thousand dollars on the floor. And the girl at the strip club said, “You want me to get down on the floor and get my money?” She didn’t understand what was happening. I tried this a couple of places where I was out throwing money and people weren’t… It wasn’t a thing for them, they didn’t understand what was happening. And this is just my confirmation of me saying, “I know that I was the first person doing this.” Even that whole teaching of how the money is split on the floor once it falls, whose money it is-


Estelle: There’s a whole routine to that?


Jermaine Dupri: Yeah. All of that strip club etiquette comes from me. All of the documentaries and everything that I do that you see me do outside of music is really just me bottling up what’s happening in my life. 


Jermaine Dupri Teases To Apple Music An Upcoming So So Def Festival…


I’m having So So Def celebration of the 30th anniversary. I’m starting the So So Def Festival this year. If you are a fan of anything that I’ve ever worked on, I want you people to understand, only people that can be on this festival is people that I work with are people that have some kind of connection to So So Def. It’s going to be two nights of festivals. One night is all R&B and the next night is all hip hop. The list of artists that I can choose from to be on my festival is crazy. That’s what we about to do.


Jermaine Dupri Talks To Apple Music About How He Got His Start In The Industry As A Kid And How He Looked Up To His Mom and Dad…


My dad was actually a stage manager to a bunch of different artists, S.O.S. Band, Brick, Cameo, Peabo Bryson, a lot of the artists in Atlanta, basically.

He actually used to take me to their rehearsals and watch them rehearse and I got to see him working and do what he was doing. I feel like a lot of that bled into me wanting to make music and pursuing what I ended up doing. And then, me knowing and feeling like my father was in an area that I didn’t really want to be in or it wasn’t my area, I started asking my father to be the manager of all the artists, so he became the manager Kris Kross, Brat, Xscape initially. And then from there, Columbia, they then asked him to become the president of Black music at Columbia Records. [My Mom] wasn’t really in the business of wanting to be in the music industry. She was actually a nurse taking care of elderly people. That’s the job that she was doing when I was basically trying to create what I was doing. She did work in the business. At one point in time, she was like a receptionist at this record company called Bang Records, which is the record label with Brick and Paul Davis in Atlanta, basically that’s where they was homed. She was just a mom, you know what I mean? Being a mom, very protective, but watching it from afar just to see what’s happening and not really, really getting involved in it. When I went on tour when I was 12, my mother wasn’t there, so it was like she trusted that my dad was going to watch after me. She came to one show in Charlotte, I think because it was right up from Atlanta, she drove to the show. This was back when fireworks weren’t legal and you had to buy fireworks in Tennessee or something like that. And we had went through that city and we bought a whole bunch of fireworks. We was having firework wars and we shoot the fireworks at other people that was on the tour, and bottle rockets and all of these big fireworks by the way. And something happened where the woods caught on fire by the arena. As the fire trucks was coming to try to put out the fire, I saw my mother driving in at the same time and I was just like, “Oh, this might not be good.” Because it was like her first time coming to see what I was doing. I was thinking I could just imagine people saying, “This is what your son has been doing.” So I was actually nervous that I was going to get kicked off or my mother was going to pull me off if they would’ve told her that that was me.


Jermaine Dupri Talks To Apple Music About His Intentions Behind Starting So So Def And Being Inspired By Motown Records…


I was trying to create my own Motown. I always had So So Def before the record company was established. It was like you could get So So Def mixtapes. So I was DJing, making mixtapes for kids in school and people that had Jeeps and systems and all of this. And I always wrote So So Def on a mixtape, that’s what it was. I grew up in an era where fresh was the word at first, and then fresh switched to def, and then everything was def. If everything is def, well, what’s the epitome of def? What’s the deafest thing? You could be, right? And I think LL Cool J had Bigger and Deffer it was like everything was like people was incorporating the word def, “I’m so, so much deffer than that person.” And it really just an egotistical, cocky mindset that so so means more than just def, I’m way past that. It worked for the mix tapes. It was like you could get a Def Jam tape or you could get a So So Def tape, you know what I mean? And they was just def. We was so, so much deffer. Particularly signing Xscape first was to set the tone to make people understand that I didn’t want just a rap label. Trying to be different and coming from Atlanta and then like I said, you had Def Jam already, so what was going to separate So So Def from a Def Jam? What was going to separate me from all these other labels was just like when people thought I was going to follow up Kris Kross with a rap project, I came with an R&B project. And I wanted people to get into that space of knowing that’s who I actually am as a person, I like R&B just as much as I like rap. I rap one month and then I’m making R&B records the next hook. And at the time, you don’t realise that you’re actually at the birth of something. I didn’t realise that what I was doing was something that nobody else had done. I just thought I was just doing what was in me. Right? And 30 years later, 50 years later, you see that, “Oh, wasn’t nobody else doing that. You was the first person to doing this and this that.” It never really thought that it was going to be historical or something legendary or whatever people call it. I just thought it was going to be just like… I just was doing what I felt. Basically the same thing that was happening in Barry Gordy’s house was happening in my house. The studio was downstairs, the artists would come stay at my house, my mother would cook for us, everybody go upstairs and eat, bring food downstairs, make records, go back upstairs. It was the same movement that I learned that was happening inside Barry Gordy’s house at the same time, because I went to Detroit and I went to the house and in the kitchen they show his mother was cooking food and they was bringing the food downstairs to the studio and feeding all the musicians. But at the time, I didn’t know that that was happening. What’s crazy about it is that all the moves that I was making for what I was doing were Motown moves that I didn’t know. People thought I was basically just copying everything that Motown was doing, but I didn’t know it. I put a billboard up in Atlanta, “Atlanta, home of So So Def.” I then later on found out that Barry Gordy put a billboard up in Detroit. I also was too young for it to be anywhere else. Me being young didn’t allow me to get out in the streets and meet people and go to clubs and network. The music industry used to be where you used to go to clubs and meet people and this that and third, there was no social media, nothing. So finding engineers and finding people to work for me was pretty hard because I was young and for me, not asking somebody else to do it, just me, myself trying to have that relationship, I didn’t really have a lot of relationships, so I had to do damn near everything.