Jermaine Dupri: So So Def’s New Spin

By BhuraPublished on: March 4, 2024 Updated on: March 4, 2024
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Jermaine Dupri has seen the music business at its height. Since the inception of his Atlanta based So So Def label, Jemaine has gone through every label and distribution system known to man starting with Sony and most recently Island/Def Jam serving as president of urban music which ended in early 2009. With a new lean and mean approach, Jermaine is taking the indie route by forging a distribution agreement with Memphis Tennessee’s Select-O-Hits which will release YouTube sensation Dondria’s debut album Dondria vs. Phatfffat on August 17th.

It’s clear that the music business model of old has been thrown out the window, that Mr. Dupri was a huge part of. In a attempt to clear up the murky waters of the current state of the music business, Jermaine talks with Creative Loafing – Atlanta (read below).
– C.A.

After nearly two decades partnering with various major labels to develop some of urban music’s best-selling artists (not to mention going platinum himself), Dupri took his label independent last year. Ditching the deluxe working environments he’d long been accustomed to, he moved So So Def into his Southside Studios near Buckhead, and commenced operations with a skeleton staff. “Everything has been micro’d,” he says. “It’s a totally different business than it was three to four years ago. I don’t really have but, like, three people that work for me.”

He’s abolished his street team (Twitter is today’s street team, he contends) and does his own blogging. It may not be very glamorous, but Dupri says it’s worth it. For one thing, he’s finally able to get back to doing what he does best — turning nobodies into stars. Dupri once set the industry standard by developing acts like Kris Kross, Da Brat and Lil Bow Wow; not only did he write and produce many of these young platinum rappers’ hits, he signed them, outfitted them, and crafted their images. “I create artists from scratch,” he says.

But that’s not how things are done anymore. Instead of molding unknowns and putting massive promotional campaigns behind them, major labels are more likely to sign artists with an already-established regional fan base. It’s a cost-cutting measure that has made the traditional role of Artist & Repertoire all but obsolete. “Now, if you’re an A&R in New York, it’s like, let’s go to Atlanta and listen to what’s hot on the radio,” Dupri says.

About Author: Bhura

Bhura is a seasoned celebrity content writer with six years of industry experience. He prioritizes research and authentic information in his writing, garnering widespread recognition for his insightful and engaging content. With a keen eye for detail, Bhura delves into the intricacies of celebrity culture, crafting captivating narratives that resonate with audiences worldwide. His commitment to excellence and unwavering dedication to his craft set him apart as a trusted authority in entertainment journalism.