IN TODAY’S ATLANTA JOURNAL MUSIC
Jermaine Dupri’s 21st Century Rat Pack
By Bo Emerson
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Tuesday, June 09, 2009
Jeans and a T-shirt don’t make it in Vegas, baby.
When you get to be 30 years old, you stop acting like a teenager; you start looking clean and enjoying a grown-up night out. At least that’s the way Atlanta producer/songwriter Jermaine Dupri likes it.
During weekly trips to Las Vegas, Dupri has been headquartered at the Palms, producing Usher’s new record, hitting the nightlife between recording sessions, and doing it with a certain black-tie style. His Atlanta friends (and fellow music stars) Nelly and Johnta Austin started following suit, and Dupri realized that the group was beginning to recall a certain 1960s ensemble that made Vegas hot.
That would be Frankie, Dino, Sammy and the rest of the clan.
“I was attracted to the period, everything they were doing,” Dupri said in a recent phone call from his Buckhead ho me. “I was attracted to their style, their flow, the way they kicked it.”
That’s when the idea for a 21st century Rat Pack took shape. Dupri very quickly wrote some songs, his fellow New Rat Packers jumped in. They posted a mix tape on Dupri’s blog (www.global14.com), shot some videos and formalized the membership of the “Ocean’s 7” group. (The other members include Bow Wow, Brian-Michael Cox and Trey Songz.)
Plans for a stage show and a movie leaped into place. The film, he said, would have a Sidney Poitier/Bill Cosby vibe. Dupri hopes that his amusement will not only make life more fun for him and his crew, but will bring some glitz back to Vegas.
“Vegas hasn’t had a voice since Sinatra,” he said.
Clothes are key. Versace and Tommy Hilfiger wo rk, but the Tom Ford tuxedo, with the $2,500 bow tie, is perfect, said the 36-year old producer. “He’s got it right now, the look we try to keep with the Ocean situation,” Dupri said of Ford.
And just because you’re dressed up, doesn’t mean you can’t have fun.
“When Johnta’s jumping in a swimming pool in a $6,000 tuxedo, if that ain’t fun I don’t know what it is,” said Dupri.
He previews some of the items he likes to wear on his blog, where he also posts his videos. All this love for Las Vegas doesn’t mean Atlanta is the shabby country cousin, Dupri says. “Atlanta is the flava,” he said. “We couldn’t go out there and give Vegas all this=2 0flava if we wasn’t coming from a flavorful city.”