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-- By Dontaira Terrell
Jermaine Dupri has been a staple in Atlanta hip hop for nearly three decades. He's produced hits for superstars such as Mariah Carey, Janet Jackson, Usher, Ludacris, JAY-Z, TLC, and many more. In 1993 at just 20 years old, he founded the music label So So Def Recordings, which played a pivotal role in launching the careers of notable acts such as Bow Wow, Da Brat, Xscape, Kris Kross, and Jagged Edge.
His ever-growing list of accolades prove why he is a music legend in the industry. As he continues to propel the culture forward, the Grammy award-winning artist has maintained his staying power in an industry that is either the home of rejection or great acceptance. From his musical endeavors to his philanthropic efforts and hit reality show, "The Rap Game" -- which airs on Lifetime -- Dupri is still making strides and breaking barriers in this new era of hip hop.
As part of "The Pioneers Panel" at this year's REVOLT Summit on Sept. 12 – Sept. 14, the music veteran will be dropping gems for the next wave of rising moguls in the making. Ahead of the three-day event, we're breaking down five reasons why he's a true pioneer who singlehandedly helped put ATL on the map. Check them out below!
Welcome to Atlanta: JD has shaped the careers of many and helped bring A-Town's uniqueness of hip hop culture to the mainstream. The father of two definitely had an influential affect and helped lay the foundation for Atlanta's rap and R&B musical landscape. In an interview with "The Breakfast Club," he stated that he was the bridge between the two worlds of music in New York and Atlanta. During the same interview, when asked by Charlamagne Tha God who had the most dominating influence on Atlanta's hip hop culture when compared between himself and OutKast, naturally, JD chose himself.
Solo Success: Although, Dupri's break came in the early '90s by creating infectious sounds for other artists, he's also had a very successful career of his own. The multi-hyphenated talent has two albums under his belt, a recently released documentary chronicling his personal and professional journey, several creative triumphs, and he previously had an exhibit at the Grammy Museum called "Jermaine Dupri & So So Def, 25 Years of Elevating Culture."
Top of the Charts: Some of Mariah Carey's biggest tunes can be attributed to the creative force of Dupri. His songwriting and producing credits on Carey's comeback album, The Emancipation of Mimi , include some of the LP's chart-topping classics such as "We Belong Together." The song is still one of Carey's longest-running number one singles to date. Dupri also helped pen a few other '90s fan favorite hits such as the songstress' platinum-selling single "Always Be My Baby," Usher's double-platinum song "Make Me Wanna," Xcapes's "Just Kickin' It," Jagged Edge's "Let's Get Married," Da Brat's "Funkdafied," and the list goes on!
History Maker: In 2018, the multi-platinum selling producer was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame. This was a great feat, as he was the second hip hop artist behind JAY-Z to receive the prestigious honor. Back in 2017, he was awarded the '90s Game Changer Award by VH1 during the Hip Hop Honors for So So Def Records' contributions that ushered in an instrumental segment of Atlanta hip hop. He's also received ASCAP's Golden Note award, which according to their website, is only "presented to songwriters, composers, and artists who have achieved extraordinary career milestones." Now, that's major!
Elevating the Culture: A lot has changed since the 46-year-old's intro into the music world, but he has successfully capitalized his stardom to greater heights. He's been able to consistently reinvent his brand to continue staying a dominant force in the industry. With a memoir in the works, a top-rated reality show that is currently on-air, and his partnership with Remy Martin called "Remy Producers," it's clear history is repeating itself as the Atlanta native still has a tenacious zest for developing young hip hop stars.
If you love Atlanta stars and hip hop, you'll definitely want to join us and AT&T in the ATL on Sept. 12- Sept. 14 for our three-day REVOLT Summit, which was created to help rising moguls reach the next level. Head to REVOLTSummit.com for more info and to get your passes now!
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