One man in music who would not need an introduction is Jermaine Dupri. Whether you directly know him or not, he's played a pivotal role in various genres of music over the years. Some of the acts this Atlanta veteran has been famous for are Kriss Kross, Da Brat, Jagged Edge, Lil Bow Wow, Mariah Carey, Usher, and Destiny's Child. He is a multiplatinum selling artist and producer, as well as a multiple time Grammy nominated, Grammy award-winning individual, that also recently won the ASCAP Golden Note award, given only to composers and songwriters who have achieved huge milestones. He started the world famous So So Def Recordings music label, which is still thriving today. There have not been many people in music who have ever reached the heights Jermaine Durpi has, and despite all these accomplishments, he has been in the studio the last few years still putting in work. Maybe that is the quality about him that has allowed him to flourish for all these years though. He has always pushed himself further and further, and because of that has been able to constantly win. This week I spoke to him to see what he has been up to the past few years, and what we can expect from him moving forward. As expected, I was not surprised to hear that there are big things not far away.
It seemed like after being absolutely everywhere in the media in the 90s and early to mid 2000's that Jermaine Dupri had taken a bit of a hiatus. We were not hearing as much from him in terms of music, production, or his label. Naturally, most would think that this was a sign of him not working anymore, but that could not be further from the truth. I learned that he has been hard at work on a social networking site of his very own for the past few years by the name of Global14. Jermaine understood the power of social media, and also knew that tech was the move that needed to be made to evolve with the changing times so he did just that. And he's done very well with it because Global14 has been steadily expanding very heavily into Europe and Latin America. Speaking on it he said:
"The reality is that if you want to get something done you have to do it yourself. I didn't want to just pay someone to do something that came out not looking like what I wanted. So I dove in headfirst. That's how I am. If I do something I have to give it my all, and really give it everything I have. If that's not how I'm ready to approach anything then I decide not to do it because at that point, to me, it's better just not to do. And I've been very happy with the results so far. We've been growing each day, and will continue to. Once I'm satisfied with it I'll find my next challenge, and move onto the next project."
This past February was the 20th anniversary concert for SoSo Def at Atlanta's Fox Theatre. The All Star studded lineup went more like a family reunion than it did just a concert, and it had all the biggest names imaginable. Some of the performances included Jay Z, Usher, Ludacris, Young Jeezy, Da Brat, Kriss Kross, Jagged Edge, Mariah Carey, Lil Bow Wow, and more. It was an event that made Dupri's legacy clear, but it also got him to thinking that maybe it was time to start delving into music again. Since then he has gotten Jagged Edge back together, who will be releasing their 8th studio album this fall. He has also been heavily pushing a new artist of his by the name of RollsRoyce Rizzy that seems to be ready to take over the airwaves. He also rapped on a track called New Atlanta with Atlanta's finest in Migos, Young Thug, and Rich Homie Quan, as a new version of his the infamous Welcome To Atlanta song from 2001.
For someone with over two decades of experience in the industry and an interest in the tech space I was very curious what he thought about how things have changed because of technology and social media, and on that note he had something very intriguing to say:
"It's gotten easier and harder to be in music. All of the technology has made it much cheaper to do your own music, and it's also made it easier to market yourself. The problem is there's so much noise now. Years ago, you would hear someone tell you they had found the next star, but there wasn't much more than that. Now, everyone thinks they've found the next star so picking has gotten much tougher. But overall, it's still much easier to get into the game, and it's exciting to see where it goes next."
Jermaine Dupri has been an infamous name in music for years now. His list of accomplishments could not be summed up in just a few words. The fact he has been taking the time to get back into the limelight must mean he has something up his sleeve. Though we may not sure exactly what that thing might be, it is exciting to think about the possibilities from a man who has consistently shown us no limits to his potential. Don't say you had no idea because this is fair warning that Jermaine Dupri is back!