Real Name: Jermaine Dupri Maudlin
Born: September 23rd, 1973 Asheville, North Carolina
Label: So So Def Recordings/Island Urban Music
Jermaine Dupri is the founder and head producer for So So Def Recordings and now the Island Urban president. He started as one of the youngest music industry moguls and is now considered as one of the best promoters and record producers in hip-hop. His breakthrough success came with teenage upstart rappers, Kris Kross discovered by Dupri in 1992. He became recognised as one of the most persistent and maintained producers of the 1990s, producing almost all of his entire roster. As a recording artist himself, he has two platinum-received albums and numerous singles with varying chart success. His biggest hit being the Atlanta anthem, "Welcome To Atlanta" off his first studio album, sitting at third on the Hot Rap Tracks.
Jermaine Dupri Mauldin was born in Asheville, North Carolina. He grew up in the College Park community of Atlanta, Georgia. His father is Michael Mauldin, a former president of Columbia Records. Dupri was introduced to the music business at the early age of 6 months by his father, a concert promoter and manager of rap and R&B groups. He dropped his last name as a teenager and started out as a breakdancer for artists such as Diana Ross and Cameo. At the age of eighteen, Dupri became the youngest charting producer in the history of music, with his first chart selling artists being Kris Kross. When he got more familiar with the business, Jermaine produced hits for platinum artists such as TLC, Monica, Jay-Z, Ludacris, Bow Wow, Da Brat, Usher, Chante Moore, Destiny's Child and also helped get Mariah Carey back on top with the top selling album of 2005, The Emancipation of Mimi.
Dupri has pursued a recording career of his own resulting in hits such as "Money Ain't a Thang" (1998, with Jay-Z), "Welcome to Atlanta" (2001, with Ludacris), "It's like That" (2005, with Mariah Carey), and "Gotta Getcha" featuring Johnta Austin. He became involved in a dispute between Eminem and Dr. Dre in 2002.
So So Def, a label specializing in Southern hip hop, R&B, and bass music, was originally distributed through Columbia Records and Sony Music Entertainment. In 2003, Dupri was appointed president of Arista Black Music and moved So So Def and its artists there. In 2004, Dupri was appointed President of Urban Music at Virgin Records and moved So So Def over to Virgin. Meanwhile, Dupri also expanded his business ventures, buying into Chicago-based distillery 3 Vodka and opening his own boutique restaurant, Cafe Dupri.
In 2004 and 2005, Dupri worked with R&B singers Usher and Mariah Carey on their releases, Confessions and The Emancipation of Mimi. He also produced the songs "Burn", "Confessions, Pt. 2" and the remix featuring Kanye West, Shyne, and Twista, and "My Boo" with Usher and "It's like That", "We Belong Together", "Shake It Off", "Get Your Number", and "Don't Forget About Us" with Carey. He produced the track "Radio" for young R&B singer Jarvis, but didn't release the album because his label was in transition with the distributor. He has also produced singles with J-Kwon ("Tipsy") and Dem Franchize Boyz. In addition he has worked with St. Louis rappers, Nelly, Chingy, & St. Lunatics.
Dupri's 2005 single, "Gotta Getcha" featuring Johnta Austin, is featured on the July 2005 release Jermaine Dupri presents...Young, Fly & Flashy, Vol. 1. The album is a compilation of tracks produced by and featuring Dupri. So far, "Gotta Getcha" has peaked at #60 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100. The controversial music video for the song features his girlfriend, singer Janet Jackson, in a x-rated peep show club. On August 9, 2006, Dupri was listed among the top ten richest people in hip hop. He continues to work with artists including Jay-Z ("Money Ain't a Thang"), Ludacris ("Welcome to Atlanta"), and Warren G ("Havin' Thangs"). He has released Daz Dillinger's album, So So Gangsta, in 2006. It includes production by Dupri, Scott Storch, and Daz.
On September 16, 2006, Dupri became the youngest inductee to the Georgia Music Hall of Fame.
Dupri also worked with Jackson on her album titled 20 Y.O., released September 26, 2006, which was not as successful as much as Jackson's previous albums. The album's commercial under-performance led Dupri, who accused Virgin of improperly handling its urban releases, to leave his position at Virgin Urban Music. He became the head of Island Records' urban division instead; So So Def releases are now issued through Island Urban Music. Janet Jackson followed Dupri from Virgin to Island as well. As of March 2008, his So So Def/Island Urban roster includes himself, Jagged Edge, Johnta Austin, and Rocko.
Singer Monica's album, The Makings of Me, features production from Jermaine Dupri with the lead single "Everytime tha Beat Drop". He has also produced multiple tracks on Jay-Z's concept album American Gangster.