Jermaine Dupri

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Jermaine Dupri
Dupri in 2012
Jermaine Dupri Mauldin

(1972-09-23) September 23, 1972 (age 51)
Other namesDon Chi Chi
  • Record producer
  • rapper
  • singer
  • songwriter
  • DJ
  • record executive
  • entrepreneur
Years active1984–present
PartnerJanet Jackson (2002–2009)[3]
AwardsFull list
Musical career
OriginAtlanta, Georgia, U.S.
Member of

Jermaine Dupri Mauldin (born September 23, 1972) is an American record producer, rapper, singer, songwriter, DJ, record executive.[4][5] Raised in Atlanta as the son of Columbia Records executive Michael Mauldin, he began his career in music production at the age of nine. He discovered the teen hip hop duo Kris Kross in 1991. Dupri wrote and produced their breakout 1992 single "Jump," which peaked atop the Billboard Hot 100 and was named the 23rd most successful song of that decade. He established his own record label, So So Def Recordings in a joint venture with Columbia the following year.

Dupri has since signed artists including Xscape, Bow Wow, Da Brat, Jagged Edge, Dem Franchize Boyz, YoungBloodZ, and Anthony Hamilton to the label. Meanwhile, he worked with Mariah Carey, Usher, Monica, and Nelly to produce a total of 11 chart-topping singles on the Billboard Hot 100. As a recording artist himself, Dupri's debut studio album, Life in 1472 (1998) peaked at number three on the Billboard 200 and was supported by the top 40 single "The Party Continues" (featuring Usher and Da Brat) and the Grammy Award-nominated "Money Ain't a Thang" (featuring Jay-Z). His second album, Instructions (2001) peaked at number 15 on the Billboard 200 and was led by his second top 40 single, "Welcome to Atlanta" (featuring Ludacris).

In 2013, Dupri replaced Randy Jackson as Mariah Carey's talent manager. He co-created the reality television series, The Rap Game with Queen Latifah in 2015. He has won a Grammy Award from a total of 12 nominations.

Early life[edit]

Jermaine Dupri Mauldin was born on September 23, 1972,[2] the son of Tina (Mosley) and Michael Mauldin, a Columbia Records executive[6] and grew up in College Park (Atlanta metropolitan area).[7] Dupri's artistic career began when he was nine years old. His father, an Atlanta talent manager, had coordinated a Diana Ross show in 1982; to the delight of concert-goers, Dupri managed to get on-stage and dance along with Ross.[8] Dupri got his start as a dancer for the hip hop group Whodini when he was twelve.[2][9] He made an appearance in their music video for the song "Freaks Come Out at Night".[10][11] He began performing around the country, appearing with Herbie Hancock and Cameo before he opened the New York Fresh Festival, with Run-D.M.C., Whodini, and Grandmaster Flash.[8]


1990–1996: Early career and breakthrough[edit]

In 1990, he produced his first act, the female hip hop trio Silk Tymes Leather.[2][12] He later formed the teen duo Kris Kross (Chris Kelly and Chris Smith) after meeting the boys at a local mall in 1991.[13] The group's first album, Totally Krossed Out, was released in 1992 and went multi-platinum due to the success of their singles "Jump" and "Warm It Up", both written and produced by Dupri. He established his own record label called So So Def in 1993. Shortly after, he discovered female R&B group Xscape at a festival in Atlanta and signed them to the label. Their debut album, Hummin' Comin' at 'Cha, produced entirely by Dupri, went platinum with the support of the singles "Understanding", "Love on My Mind", "Tonight" and "Just Kickin' It", with the latter peaking at number 2 on the Billboard Hot 100. During the same year, on Yo! MTV Raps, he met Da Brat through Kris Kross and signed her to his label So So Def Recordings, releasing her debut Funkdafied (1994) which went platinum. So So Def Recordings entered into a distribution partnership with Columbia Records in 1993. In 1995, he collaborated with Mariah Carey for the first time on the number one hit single "Always Be My Baby." He contributed to Lil' Kim's 1996 album, Hard Core on the track "Not Tonight". That same year, he produced and co-wrote singles for MC Lyte ("Keep On, Keepin' On"), The Braxtons ("So Many Ways"), and Whodini ("Keep Running Back"). Also in 1996, Dupri linked up with Kris Kross one last time for their third and final studio album, producing the entire album, as well as its moderately successful singles ("Tonite's tha Night" and "Live and Die for Hip Hop").

1997–2003: Columbia, Arista Records[edit]

In 1997, Dupri co-wrote and produced several tracks on Usher's second album, My Way. The lead single, "You Make Me Wanna", reached number-one on the Rhythmic Top 40 and Hot R&B/Hip-Hop chart. The follow-up single "Nice & Slow" went to number-one on the Billboard Hot 100 and Hot R&B/Hip-Hop chart, and the last single, "My Way" peaked at number-two on Billboard Hot 100. All three singles have been certified Platinum by Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). A featured guest on the album, Monica, would also later become a protégé of Dupri, with her second album, The Boy Is Mine, dropping in July of 1998. Dupri produced the single of the album "The First Night", which peaked atop the U.S. Billboard charts, with the album receiving triple platinum certification and universal acclaim from critics.

In 1998, Jermaine Dupri was involved in the release of Destiny's Child's eponymous debut album, producing and co-writing the track "With Me Part I". Dupri renewed the focus on his own music career, which proved successful with release of the singles "Sweetheart" featuring Mariah Carey (US#126), "The Party Continues" featuring Da Brat and Usher (U.S. #26), and "Money Ain't a Thang" featuring Jay-Z (U.S. #52),[14] the three singles from his debut studio album Life in 1472. The album was certified platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) a month and half after release. Also that year he met soon-to-be frequent collaborator and production partner Bryan-Michael Cox, as well as 11-year-old rapper, known then as Lil' Bow Wow and signed him to So So Def Recordings. The two would later part ways after only 2 albums, but continued to frequently collaborate on later projects. The distribution deal with Columbia was terminated in 2002, with Dupri switching to Arista Records in 2003. Dupri worked on Tamar Braxton's debut album, Tamar on the track "Get None" as well as with Weezer and Lil Wayne on the song "Can't Stop Partying." He also collaborated with DJ Chuckie to make a vocal version of the song "Let The Bass Kick". He soon released his sophomore studio album Instructions in October 2001, featuring the single "Welcome to Atlanta", and containing a myriad of features (similar to his debut).

2004–2009: Confessions and The Emancipation of Mimi[edit]

Dupri in 2005

In 2004, Dupri connected again with Usher contributing to Confessions co-writing and co-producing three consecutive singles Billboard Hot 100 number one songs "Burn", "Confessions Part II", and "My Boo".[15] Confessions won Best Contemporary R&B Album and Best R&B Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals. Confessions has been certified diamond by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) and, as of 2012, has sold 10 million copies in the US and over 20 million copies worldwide.[16]

In early 2005, Dupri reunited with Mariah Carey on her tenth studio album The Emancipation Of Mimi, which features the massive smash hit "We Belong Together". The album also featured the hit singles "It's Like That", "Shake It Off", and "Don't Forget About Us". "We Belong Together" stayed at number one for fourteen non-consecutive weeks, becoming the second longest running number one song in US chart history, behind Carey's 1996 collaboration with Boyz II Men on "One Sweet Day". We Belong Together" won Grammy's for Best Female R&B Vocal Performance and Best R&B Song. Later in 2005, when he worked on Wanted with Bow Wow, he co-produced and co-wrote the Hot 100 top 5 singles "Let Me Hold You" and "Like You". That December, Dupri produced and co-wrote Nelly's single "Grillz", which struck atop the Billboard charts yet again.

In early 2006, Dupri signed both Dem Franchize Boyz and Daz Dillinger to his label So So Def after transferring it from Arista Records to Virgin Records. The latter's album, So So Gangsta, was released in September of that year, while the former's label debut was released the following year with the album On Top of Our Game which topped the US Top Rap Albums with the hit songs "I Think They Like Me" and "Lean wit It, Rock wit It." The group also featured alongside Dupri on Monica's snap single, "Everytime tha Beat Drop" (U.S. #48) off her fifth album, The Makings of Me. In late 2006, Dupri executive produced the album 20 Y.O. by his then-partner, Janet Jackson, co-producing and co-writing half the tracklist and all of the singles. He returned for her ninth album, Discipline in 2008, producing the single "Rock With U".

In 2007, Dupri produced singles for Paul Wall ("I'm Throwed"), Donell Jones ("Better Start Talking"), Bone Thugs-n-Harmony ("Lil' L.O.V.E."), as well as multiple tracks for labelmate Jagged Edge. In October 2007, he published his memoir, "Young, Rich and Dangerous: The Making of a Music Mogul" (via Atria Books). In November 2007, he co-produced and co-wrote with So So Def intern No I.D. on Jay-Z's tenth studio album American Gangster, contributing to the songs "Success" and "Fallin".

In 2008, Dupri reunited with Usher, Mariah Carey, and then-girlfriend Janet Jackson for their respective studio albums (Here I Stand, E=MC2, and Discipline respectively) producing multiple tracks on each. He also produced singles for Ashanti ("Good Good") and Nelly ("Stepped On My J'z").

In 2009, Dupri produced singles for Fabolous ("Money Goes, Honey Stay [When the Money Goes Remix]") and Bow Wow ("Roc The Mic").

Since 2010: The Rap Game[edit]

On October 7, 2013, he replaced Randy Jackson as Mariah Carey's talent manager.[17] He later parted ways with Carey in August 2014,[18] though they still maintain a professional relationship, as he was a producer on nearly all of her albums since Daydream (1995).

In 2014, Dupri produced multiple tracks for Mariah Carey and Jagged Edge on their respective albums (Me. I Am Mariah... The Elusive Chanteuse and J.E. Heartbreak 2).

In 2015, Dupri and Queen Latifah created a reality television series, The Rap Game. The eight-episode series premiered on Lifetime on New Year's Day, 2016. It followed five emerging artists, ages 11–16, who were immersed in the Atlanta hip-hop scene in a quest to become a rap star.[19] Dupri was joined by guests including Usher, Ludacris, Da Brat, T.I. and Silentó; they gave the competitors advice on what it takes to be in the industry.[20]

In 2018, he was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame.[21] This made Dupri the second musician from the hip-hop genre to be inducted, with only Jay-Z being inducted prior.

Also in 2018, Jermaine Dupri and his "So So Def" brand celebrated an exhibit at the Grammy Museum in Los Angeles, California called, Jermaine Dupri & So So Def, 25 Years Of Elevating Culture.[22]

In 2022, Dupri produced "If I Get Caught" with R&B duo Dvsn. On 9 February 2024, Dupri released the single "This Lil' Game We Play", featuring Nelly, Ashanti and Juicy J.[23][24][25]

Personal life[edit]

He has two daughters; his eldest daughter, Shaniah Mauldin, with Pam Sweat, appeared on the reality TV show Growing Up Hip Hop: Atlanta.[26][27][28]

From 2002 to 2009, Dupri was involved in a romantic relationship with singer Janet Jackson, which resulted in a brief musical connection.

Dupri is vegan and promoted the lifestyle through a PETA ad, encouraging fans to "Feel the beets. Lose the meats."[29]


Studio albums

Awards and nominations[edit]

Grammy Awards [30]

Year Nominated work Award Result
1996 Daydream (as producer) Album of the Year Nominated
1999 Life in 1472 Best Rap Album Nominated
"Money Ain't a Thang" Best Rap Performance by a Duo or Group Nominated
2000 FanMail (as producer) Album of the Year Nominated
2005 Confessions (as producer) Nominated
"My Boo" Best R&B Song Nominated
"Burn" Nominated
2006 The Emancipation of Mimi (as producer) Album of the Year Nominated
"We Belong Together" (as producer and songwriter) Record of the Year Nominated
Song of the Year Nominated
Best R&B Song Won
2007 "Don't Forget About Us" Nominated


  1. ^ "10 icons to be inducted into North Carolina Music Hall of Fame". October 21, 2021.
  2. ^ a b c d Miller, Matthew L. "Jermaine Dupri (b. 1972)". New Georgia Encyclopedia. Retrieved January 7, 2015.
  3. ^ "Jermaine Dupri Reveals His Relationship Status With Janet Jackson". Retrieved December 4, 2019.
  4. ^ "Jermaine Dupri Presents Life in 1472 Review | Music Reviews and News". July 31, 1998. Archived from the original on February 2, 2014. Retrieved February 4, 2013.
  5. ^ "Jermaine Dupri : Black Entrepreneurs, Black CEO, Black Executive, Black Billionaires, Entrepreneur Profile". Retrieved February 4, 2013.
  6. ^ "Jermaine Dupri Facts". Retrieved March 31, 2016.
  7. ^ "Jermaine Dupri".
  8. ^ a b "Jermaine Dupri Bio". MTV. Retrieved March 31, 2016.
  9. ^ Wake, Matt (June 19, 2013). "Whodini Q&A: Seminal hip-hop group tells stories behind their rap classics". Retrieved January 7, 2015.
  10. ^ Hess, Mickey (November 25, 2009). Hip Hop in America: A Regional Guide (Paperback ed.). ABC-CLIO. p. 479. ISBN 978-0-313-34321-6. Retrieved January 7, 2015.
  11. ^ Nguyen, Hao. "Hip-Hop Gem: Jermaine Dupri Started Out As A Dancer For Whodini". Stop The Breaks. Retrieved January 7, 2014.
  12. ^ East Vs. West: Biggie & Puffy Break Their Silence (Vibe Magazine page 137). 1996.
  13. ^ Willis, Kiersten (September 24, 2019). "#ABSMyBigBreak: How Jermaine Dupri Made His First Million". Atlanta Black Star.
  14. ^ "The Hot 100". Billboard. January 2, 2013.
  15. ^ "Usher Makes Record-Breaking Debut Atop Albums Chart". MTV. Retrieved February 22, 2016.
  16. ^ "Gold & Platinum". RIAA. Retrieved February 22, 2016.
  17. ^ "Mariah Carey Hires Jermaine Dupri as Manager". BET. October 7, 2013. Retrieved October 8, 2013.
  18. ^ Bobb, Maurice (August 5, 2014). "Mariah Carey Parts Ways With Longtime Manager Jermaine Dupri". MTV. Retrieved August 11, 2014.
  19. ^ "Queen Latifah & Jermaine Dupri to Search for Next Hip-Hop Star With Lifetime Series: Exclusive | Billboard". Billboard. November 4, 2015. Retrieved February 22, 2016.
  20. ^ "Meet the cast of Jermaine Dupri's 'The Rap Game'". Atlanta Daily World. January 9, 2016.
  21. ^ "Songwriters Hall Of Fame Announces 2018 Inductees". Songwriters Hall of Fame.
  22. ^ "25 Years of Jermaine Dupri and So So Def". Archived from the original on December 24, 2019. Retrieved December 4, 2019.
  23. ^ "Jermaine Dupri - This Lil Game We Play feat Nelly, Ashanti & Juicy J". Spotify. February 9, 2024. Retrieved February 21, 2024.
  24. ^ Grant, Shawn (February 9, 2024). "Jermaine Dupri Drops New Single "This Lil Game We Play" ft Nelly, Ashanti & Juicy J". The Source. Retrieved February 21, 2024.
  25. ^ Inman, Demicia (January 4, 2024). "Jermaine Dupri Previews Nelly, Ashanti, And Juicy J Collaboration". Vibe. Retrieved February 21, 2024.
  26. ^ Acevedo, Kai (March 6, 2018). "Jermaine Dupri's daughter Shaniah Mauldin talks reality TV, her clothing line, and inspiring young girls". REVOLT. Retrieved June 20, 2020.
  27. ^ Dupri, Jermaine (December 30, 2008). Young, Rich, and Dangerous: The Making of a Music Mogul. Simon and Schuster. p. 173. ISBN 978-0-7432-9981-7.
  28. ^ "Jermaine Dupri Says He's Learned a Lot From His Daughters". Parents. Retrieved February 25, 2023.
  29. ^ Carl Lamarre, "Jermaine Dupri Encourages Fans to Go Vegan in PETA's Latest Ad: Exclusive," Billboard, August 23, 2018.
  30. ^ "All GRAMMY Awards and Nominations for Jermaine Dupri". Retrieved July 4, 2023.

External links[edit]