Jermaine Dupri Reflects On 10 Memorable So So Def Hits


Jermaine Dupri Reveals His Xbox Gamer Tag – Intimate Interview




Resident DJ of the Year: Jermaine Dupri, Playhouse Nightclub, Hollywood, CA

Yes!!!!! I won resident DJ of the year

Well deserving clubs, bar, bartenders, DJs and promotional programs earn admiration from industry pros.

The Nightclub & Bar Media Group, a leading provider of information and resource for bars, nightclubs and lounges, is pleased to announce the winners of the 2013 Nightclub & Bar Awards. The Awards program is the premier national nightlife-industry recognition program for applauding excellence in bar and nightclub concept development, operations, promotion, innovation and success.

 “We are truly impressed with the originality and prosperity we saw in the entries,” says Kristen Santoro, Content Director for Nightclub & Bar Media Group. “Our judges reported that it was a tough competition as there were many well-deserving venues that encompass the essential qualities we look for during the awards process.” 

More than 450 entries were submitted into the 26 categories – 9 Bar, 8 Nightclub and 9 Vegas Nightclub – and reviewed by a panel of judges including the nation’s top nightlife and beverage professionals, hospitality journalists, writers, owners and consultants, eager to recognize excellence in on-premise concepts. Judges ranked their favorite entries first, second and third for each category judged, and a standard mathematical calculation identifies the finalists and, ultimately, the winners in each category.

The winners will be profiled on and highlighted in various Nightclub & Bar e-newsletters and other media properties; they also will be invited to walk the red carpet at the Nightclub & Bar Convention and Trade Show in Las Vegas, March 19-21. For more information on the show, visit To view award finalists click HERE.

The winners of the 2013 Nightclub & Bar Awards are:

Bar Awards:
Bartender of the Year: Jeffrey Morgenthaler, Clyde Common, Portland, OR
Beer Bar of the Year: Fatpour Tap Works, Chicago, IL
Cocktail Bar of the Year: Williams & Graham, Denver, CO 
Hotel Bar of the Year: The Bar at the Dream Hotel, New York, NY
Restaurant Bar of the Year: The Tasting Kitchen, Venice, CA
Ongoing Promotion/Party/Event of the Year: Beat the Clock at Bar Anticipation, Lake Como, NJ
Single Promotion/Party/Event of the Year: Zombie Apocalypse at Vertigo Sky Lounge, Chicago, IL
Small Wonder Bar of the Year: Pour Vous, Los Angeles, CA
Sports Bar of the Year Sponsored by Foam Finger Nation: CBS Scene, Foxboro, MA
Nightclub Awards:
Dayclub of the Year: Roof on the Wit, Chicago, IL
Mega-Club of the Year: Lure, Hollywood, CA
New Club of the Year: HQ Nightclub, Atlantic City, NJ
Nightclub of the Year: Amnesia, New York, NY
Ongoing Promotion/Party/Event of the Year: Ritual at FLUXX Nightclub, San Diego, CA 
Resident DJ of the Year: Jermaine Dupri, Playhouse Nightclub, Hollywood, CA
Single Promotion/Party/Event of the Year: World Jetski Finals Pro Party at Kokomo Havasu, Lake Havasu City, AZ 
Small Nightclub of the Year: Harvard & Stone, Los Angeles, CA
Vegas Nightclub Awards:
Dayclub of the Year: Marquee, Cosmopolitan
Mega-Club of the Year: XS, Wynn
New Club of the Year: Hyde, Bellagio
Nightclub of the Year: 1OAK, The Mirage
Ongoing Promotion/Party/Event of the Year: XIV Vegas Sessions at Hyde, Bellagio 
Resident DJ of the Year: Lil Jon, Tryst, Wynn 
Restaurant Bar of the Year: STK, Cosmopolitan
Single Promotion/Party/Event of the Year: Spirit Day at Marquee, Cosmopolitan 
Small Nightclub of the Year: Rockhouse, The Venetian

Jermaine Dupri Hosts Private So So Def 20th Anniversary Dinner In ATL

Jermaine Dupri kicked off the So So Def 20th Anniversary Weekend last night by treating his So So Def roster to an intimate dinner at a top secret location in Atlanta.
Dupri toasted the company’s milestone alongside his artists Bow Wow, Chris Kelly (Kris Kross), Da Brat, Jagged Edge, LaTocha and Tamika Scott (Xscape), Dondria, Bonecrusher, Youngbloodz, Dem Franchize Boyz, and Fresco Kane.
“This is my way of saying thank you for helping me build the So So Def empire,” continued Dupri. “This is a historical moment, so tonight I’m celebrating you. Sit back, relax…I’m gonna serve you. But enjoy it, because that will never happen again!”
The event served as an anniversary dinner, reunion and meet-and-greet for many of the artists. “In all these years, this is the first time that Bow Wow and Chris Kelly have ever met,” announced Dupri during the dinner. “Bow Wow is a product of Kris Kross, so the fact that we can bring everyone together like this means a lot.”
The night’s event served as a precursor for the So So Def 20th Anniversary Concert this Saturday, February 23 at the Fox Theatre Atlanta.


“I just want people to take this concert and this 20 year anniversary serious as far as it being a real black history month,” says So So Def founder and record producer Jermaine Dupri about the southern rap label’s upcoming anniversary bash in Atlanta. “It’s like 15 black artists coming together to do a show for the fans.” Artists like Da Brat, Bow Wow, Xscape and Kris Kross. Dupri also reflects on the time TLC’s late Lisa “Left Eye” Lopes lived in the closet at his mom’s house in an interview with The Booth’s Joe Clair. Hey, everybody’s got to start somewhere.

Jermaine Dupri on How Arrogance Cost Him Success, and His Best Career Decisions

Artist and music producer Jermaine Dupri sat down with BlackEnterprise to talk So So Def reunion, arrogance, and his best business moves.

jermaine dupri in suitJermaine Dupri didn’t become the award-winning, veteran multi-million-dollar-making music producer he is without making some pivotal mistakes.
As the president and CEO of So So Def Recordings for the past twenty years — responsible for launching the careers of such notables as Xscape, Bow Wow and Jagged Edge — he says that despite his mountain of achievements there are a few moments he wishes he could take back.
One of them is his hasty departure from his original music home, Columbia Records.
“Being young and arrogant and getting in a room where I had business with people that I didn’t take seriously enough cost me,” reflects the former rapper, who began his career as as backup dancer for legendary rap group Whodini. “There were times I was pretty arrogant early on, stepping away from situations because I got frustrated. When I left Columbia Records [in 2002] I probably should have stayed there. The relationship that we had was beautiful. The artists that came out were all successful. There was just that one particular point of time that I felt that we weren’t having that same movement and it was frustrating me and I was letting other things influence me,” he says.
“I was going to other labels’ parties and seeing things that I thought Columbia should be doing and I should have just probably not had such an ego and stuck around. Then I probably wouldn’t have had a separation from some of my artists. That’s the biggest setback to me — leaving an artist at one of these labels. It kills the momentum of what you’re building.”
But there are other career decisions that — despite the criticism he got at the time — J.D. says he’d make over again with no problems.
“Becoming the president of Virgin Records’ [Urban Division] was my biggest business success because it was a job a lot of people thought was a death trap for me. A lot of people thought because Virgin Records wasn’t the label that everybody was going to at the time — it wasn’t Universal, Def Jam or Sony — that I was putting myself in a place where I wasn’t going to have success. I felt like everybody was looking at me like, ‘Jermaine, you’re killing yourself. You’re going to a part that’s dark and you ain’t gonna make it light.’ There was so much dirt thrown when I took that job,” said Dupri.
“But that was the first time that I actually chose to be a president like that — to run a company — so it was a big deal for me. I’m pleased with the outcome. I know what my track record was and I know what I did there. [Having been president] you’ll always have that [increased] sense of confidence to make your next move.”
Dupri says he’s learned from total strangers the benefits to being a free thinker.
“[Some of my biggest business mentors] I’ve actually never met,” he admits. “[Virgin Group founder and chairman] Richard Branson is one. He is not afraid to try new things. Then there’s Quincy Jones, Russell Simmons, Diddy — all these guys that are in the same business as me. I listen to them and watch their moves in a lot of different areas and then tailor my own thoughts about what I see them doing, trying to create what my move will be so it’s not the same but it’s got some of the same looks about it,” admitted Dupri.
“One example of this would be Quincy Jones — his work ethic is crazy. He launched Vibe Magazine. He scored the music for ‘Roots.’ He did ‘The Man in the Mirror.’ He’s diverse in every way. I put him on a level above most other people. That’s the person I look up to the most,” he says. “And then Berry Gordy from a record company owner’s standpoint. You put those two guys together and that’s what I’d want to be — those two guys meshed together.”
One way Dupri is already like Gordy is in his creation of the upcoming So So Def 20th Anniversary Party, a musical showcase in Atlanta on February 23rd. Featuring performances by his original roster of artists, it will proceed a 20-song “Best of So So Def” compilation CD that will be released in June.
“This kind of show hasn’t been done since Motown 25,” Dupri says of Berry’s legendary revue. “When I saw [his] I thought, ‘One day I’ll be able to have a concert and all my artists will be able to perform,’” he says of the show with Kris Kross, Da Brat, Anthony Hamilton and others. “Of course in the back of you head you never quite believe that but look it us now,” he says. “Now we’re here.”

Interview: Jermaine Dupri Reflects on his History, Talks 20 Years of So So Def, Devotion to Breaking New Artists

Jermaine Dupri 2
With all of the achievements he’s had over the course of his career,  is celebrating one of his biggest accomplishments, reaching the 20th anniversary of his So So Def imprint in 2013. He’s had a super successful run over the years, releasing multiple platinum albums and helping to launch the careers of artists like Xscape, Jagged Edge, Da Brat, Bow Wow, and Anthony Hamilton. Perhaps more impressive is the fact he found time to run a successful label while still writing hits from everyone from Usher to Mariah Carey to Monica to Alicia Keys. Oh, and did we also mention he’s been the remix king as well? Now as he looks forward to the next 20 years of So So Def, the focus turns back to where it started, breaking artists. YouKnowIGotSoul caught up with Jermaine and discussed his contribution to r&b over the years, artists losing track of what their fans want, building with Usher and Mariah, breaking new acts like Leah LaBelle, his approach to remixes, and much more.
YouKnowIGotSoul: As you celebrate your 20th year of So So Def, what do you feel like has been your contribution to r&b through the label?
Jermaine Dupri: I don’t know what I’d say my contribution is. I give my all to r&b music though. I give quite a bit of a contribution to r&b music. I love r&b and I feel like it don’t get the respect that it’s supposed to. I also feel like it’s not a lot of people that care about it. That’s why they treat it the way they treat it.
YouKnowIGotSoul: You were largely instrumental in crafting the sound of r&b in the 90’s and 00’s. Over the past few years the sound has changed. How has that made you change the way you approach things when creating music now?
Jermaine Dupri: It doesn’t for me. I feel like one thing that people don’t understand about music is that the fans don’t change. Fans ears don’t change, it’s the artists that change. If you study music and watch over the years as a big artist comes out with a great album and then they come out with another album that’s not as good as that last album. The reason they fail is not because of the fans, it’s because they didn’t pay attention to what the fans actually love about them. Artists believe they are supposed to change their sound every time they come out with a record as opposed to sticking to what is already working. I tell people everyday “All of these black artists, they keep making these dance records. Their careers are completely left of what it was when they were making straight r&b music.” They might be doing more shows and they might be doing festivals and other things, but as far as the love for their music and the way you felt it before, it’s completely opposite. I don’t think people completely understand that. The fans never change. That’s why all of these older groups can go on the road and do shows and people continue to keep coming to see them. If you take Frankie Beverly and Maze for example, they’ve been on tour probably as long as I’ve been alive. They’ve been performing the same records. They haven’t put out any new music. It’s basically because the fans don’t change, the fans want to hear it. People believe that the fans change but the fans don’t change, the artists change.
YouKnowIGotSoul: With So So Def you’ve launched the careers of many successful acts over the years. What do you look for in an artist to know that’s someone you want to work with?
Jermaine Dupri: Just somebody that’s hungry and somebody that’s willing to listen. I feel like I got a lot of knowledge in me about what an artist should do in their first album. I got a lot of things I could offer to a lot of artists. If an artist comes and they’re not really willing to absorb my energy, then it’s kinda like it’s a dead situation. That’s why I tell people I’m not really in tune with chasing artists that are established already. Just going into the studio and making a record doesn’t really do too much for me. I like to be a part of the project. I like to talk to the artist and I like for us to build something as opposed to just me contributing to an album.
YouKnowIGotSoul: You’ve had countless memorable remixes over the years. What’s your approach like going into a remix?
Jermaine Dupri: Making it better than the original. A remix is supposed to give the original some legs and be better than the original. It’s supposed to be a version that makes you not even like the original. You’re supposed to listen to the remix and be like “Damn, why they aint bring it out like that in the first place!” That’s my mentality for a remix, I’m trying to figure out how to make a song 10 times better than the original record.
YouKnowIGotSoul: An artist you’ve had a ton of success with over the years is Usher. It started with the breakout success of “You Make Me Wanna…” and just took off from there. What do you remember most about working with him through the years?
Jermaine Dupri: Just how we continued to build. We talked about this in the beginning. It’s interesting when you sit with somebody and you talk about their career and then you build their career the same way you talked about it. We talked about “My Way”, we did the record the way that he wanted it. We did “8701” which was like “U Got it Bad”. When “U Got it Bad” came out, we came back the studio I said “Man that song was so big” but it’s crazy because we only wrote one song like that. With Usher, we never went in the studio and wrote a block of ballads. We’d just write one or two songs. We came back in for “Confessions” and that was a conversation like “We can’t just do one ‘U Got it Bad’, we gotta make 3 or 4 of these records and decide which are the best.” Each time it was a build. Then we came back and I wrote “Burn” and after that we wrote “Confessions”. Part 1 was so crazy of a story that we wrote “Confessions” Part 2 and that story was even crazier than Part 1, so L.A. [Reid] didn’t even put Part 1 on the album, y’all heard Part 2 first. If you talk it into existence and you really plan out things, your life will be better. I think that’s a tip for life in general as well as making music.
YouKnowIGotSoul: Talk about Jagged Edge a little bit. You discovered them back in the day, they were very successful with So So Def and you helped turn them into legends over the years. Talk about helping to build their career.
Jermaine Dupri: Jagged Edge is very interesting because they were a different type of group. That’s probably the only group that I didn’t write the majority of their lyrics; they were the writers. They came with their songs pretty much already prepared and I’d sit with them and really make music that fit the lyrics as opposed to me actually writing lyrics for them. They gave me a breath to breathe, so if I was working with Usher, it was easy to work with Jagged Edge at the same time. They weren’t doing the same thing.
YouKnowIGotSoul: Another artist you’ve had a lot of success with over the years is Mariah Carey. You’ve been in the studio with her almost every album over the past decade or so. What do you feel like sets her apart from all the rest?
Jermaine Dupri: We have a crazy relationship. We have a very interesting working relationship. As Hip Hop as I am, she wants to be double Hip Hop. When we go in the studio, it’s like I turn into the R&B person and she turns into the rapper. It’s a real weird situation. She wants to do everything that all the rappers are doing like everything that’s happening in the club. I’m more like “Yo, can we make this singing song like a beautiful ballad please?” I’m tuned into what I believe the fans want when I work with Mariah. I believe Mariah has been making music for so long that, like I said, as an artist she wants to change her sound and do this and do things differently than what she’s done. As an artist that’s had a long career like hers, you have to respect that. At the same time though, I’m the person that is always there to be like “Listen, the fans want this.” We go round and round, but it’s a really creative process because we find a happy medium.
YouKnowIGotSoul: How’s it been working on this new project with her?
Jermaine Dupri: It’s been the same process. I don’t know what is coming and what ain’t from what we’ve done, but I do know I did do a song with Mariah almost a year ago that y’all haven’t heard yet. I know if it gets on the radio, it’s going to blow up and go crazy. I can tell you that. I don’t know what she’s going to do with the song, but I tell her every day that the song is crazy.
YouKnowIGotSoul: Let’s talk about the next generation of So So Def. You’re collaborating with Pharrell in developing Leah LaBelle. How’s it been working on that?
Jermaine Dupri: It’s been interesting. Breaking a new artist in today’s music world is very different than it used to be. It’s not a whole lot of people doing it. It’s almost like the labels are new to breaking new music. The labels are more into putting out multiple albums on artists that have already been out. They don’t really put a whole lot of interest breaking a new artist. We’ve gotta show them things, we’ve gotta teach them stuff, it’s a lot of work going into breaking Leah. We put out her first single last year and the song lasted the whole year. It was constantly working the whole year. It took a little minute for people to get on it, but once people got on it, it took the song another four months. It’s a different process but it’s definitely the same thing. I’m devoted to making the new artists work.
YouKnowIGotSoul: What’s been your key to the longevitiy? 20 years is a big deal and not many make it this far.
Jermaine Dupri: Just the fact that it’s people that came before me that had less than I have that did more than I’ve done.
YouKnowIGotSoul: What does the next 20 years of So So Def have in store?
Jermaine Dupri: Just to be better. This 20 years marks a blueprint that I can look back on all my mistakes and all my success and try to move forward and be better than I was the last 20 years.
YouKnowIGotSoul: You’ve had a chance to work with so many artists in r&b and hip-hop. Who are some artists you’d like to work with at some point that you haven’t had a chance to yet?
Jermaine Dupri: Nobody. Like I said, my interest is so not established artists. I really don’t even feel like I have a real successful run when I go in the studio with an artist that’s already established. It’s funny to say that, but I really don’t feel like I’m really in tune with their project. They come to me asking for a song like I gave Mariah or a duplicate of records that I’ve given someone else. I don’t usually go in the studio and make music like that. I go in the studio with a clean plate and make something from somewhere completely opposite. When we made “Where the Party At?” for Jagged Edge, that song was out of left field. That had nothing to do with what you’ve heard Jagged Edge doing. It was a completely opposite sound. People gravitated to it because Jagged Edge was a ballad group from “Let’s Get Married” to “Gotta Be” to “Promise”. Then here we came with an uptempo record with Nelly on it. It put them on pop radio. I don’t go in the studio trying to recreate what I’ve already done. When artists come see me, they come with that mentality. When I’m in the studio working with someone that’s already established, I’m starting already almost in an uncomfortable situation since that’s not how I do music. Everybody I’ve got a chance to work with, I don’t take for granted. I’m really cherishing the fact that I got a chance to work with people that nobody today will get a chance to work with like Whitney and Biggie and Aaliyah. I just cherish the fact that I’ve had the opportunity with these incredible people.
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