While it is a popular knowledge that Jermaine Dupri is a multi-hyphenate artist, you might be surprised to discover that he is the brain behind some of your favorite all-time hits. With over two decades in the industry, JD, as he is fondly called, has not just become a household name but has also been globally recognized for his numerous endeavors. However, he did not just stumble upon such a bright future in the music industry as he has been groomed right from his childhood days to be the music icon he is today.
Jermaine Dupri Was Raised In A Musically Inclined Family
Jermaine Dupri Mauldin was born on the 23rd of September 1972. Though his hometown is Asheville, North Carolina, he was basically raised in Atlanta. Dupri didn’t fall far from his tree as he seemingly inherited his father’s business and entrepreneurial genes. He is the son of Tina Mauldin and Michael Mauldin, a music executive back in the ’90s. Dupri’s father can boast of being a successful entrepreneur, talent manager, and music promoter as he had worked with a lot of famous personalities in the music industry including Award-winning singer, Diana Ross.
Michael became very instrumental in shaping his son’s career choice. In fact, thanks to him, Jermaine’s musical career began before he was 10 and he was privileged to perform alongside Diana Ross as a kid in 1982. At age 12, Dupri became part of a hip hop dance group called Whodini. Jermaine’s stint with the dance group had him touring and performing at various events across the country.
Success with his So So Def Music Label
Jermaine made his debut as a producer in the year 1990 with a female hip hop trio called the Silk Tymes Leather. Shortly after, he followed up with his next production for the group Kriss Kross made up of the duo Chris Smith and Chris Kelly.
Dupri had a major breakthrough in the year 1993 when he created his own So So Def label with the help of his father, Micheal. The budding producer’s first act under his new label was the female R&B group, Xscape whose debut album Hummin’ Comin was a huge success as it hit platinum.
During that same period, the Kriss Kross duo introduced him to the female rap artiste, Da Brat whom she signed to his label and produced her song, ‘Funkdafied’ in 1994 which also hit platinum. He also worked with Mariah Carey on her 1995 hit song ‘ Always Be My Baby’.
It is also known that with the establishment of So So Def label, Dupri signed a distribution partnership deal with Columbia Records. However, after a few successful years, the contract was terminated and Dupri moved on to Arista Records in 2003 and then Virgin Records via which he continued to ply his trade as a producer in the subsequent years.
He successfully contributed to the making if Usher’s 2004 album, ‘ Confessions’ which has won several awards and has sold over 20 million copies internationally. He also went on to work with other notable names in the industry in the coming years to produce smashing hits. Some of his top-notch collaborations include his works with Destiny Child, Aretha Franklin, Bow Wow, Jay-Z, Janet Jackson, and Xscape.
In 2015, Dupri and Queen Latifah created The Rap Game, a reality TV series on Lifetime which discovers and coaches new talents in the competitive industry. The show was eventually launched on 1st January 2016 and it follows the quest of 5 upcoming music artistes age 11- 16 who were accustomed to the hip-hop life in Atlanta. The Rap Game ended up as an 8 episode series that had celebrity guests like T.I., Usher, Da Brat, Ludacris, and Silentó who gave the uprising singers advice pertaining to succeeding in the music industry. Dupri has also helped most of the participants of the show in guiding their musical pursuits and some have gone ahead to release solo works over the years.
The Producer Has Been Duly Recognized For His Efforts
Jermaine Dupri’s contributions and hard work in the industry has paid off, earning him several recognitions both locally and across the globe. So far, the rapper has been nominated four times for the prestigious Grammy Awards. His first two nominations came in 1999 for his debut album entitled, Life in 1472′ under the category of Best Rap Album and for his song ‘Money Ain’t a Thang’ in which he featured Jay-Z, he got a nomination for Best Rap Performance by a Duo or Group.
In 2006, Dupri worked with R&B singer Mariah Carey to release the hit song ‘We Belong Together’ which received Grammy Award nominations for Best R&B Song and Song of the Year won the former. More so, in 2008, Jermaine was inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame. Dupri has a published memoir entitled, “Young, Rich and Dangerous: The Making of a Music Mogul”.
The SunTrust Bank Debacle
Although Jermaine Dupri was once known to be one of the wealthiest in the industry, the rapper, record producer, cum songwriter’s current net worth is estimated to be between $2 – $5 million, a rusty figure when compared to his financial value in the early 2000s. His depleted net worth is linked to the lawsuit he had back in 2013 with SunTrust Bank. Dupri reportedly defaulted on a loan agreement and was sued by SunTrust Bank.
He also suffered many more financial hazards including losing his Atlanta home in 2014. Nonetheless, Dupri continues to wax strong in the industry and hopes to have a major financial comeback soon enough.
The Widely Acclaimed Rapper Was In A Longterm Relationship With Music Icon, Janet Jackson
Jermaine Dupri has never been married but has had an interesting dating history. Over the years, the rapper has been in a couple of high profile relationships that have made headlines. His first notable relationship was with Pam Sweat who appeared in Growing Up: Hip Hop Atlanta. Though the ex-lovers never made it down the aisle, they share a child together, a daughter named Shaniah Cymone who was born in 1998. He is also a dad to another daughter he fathered with an Atlanta based lady, Sarai Jones which was confirmed via a DNA test.
Next was Jermaine’s long term relationship with pop singer Janet Jackson. Dupri and Janet were so into each other and even had a collaboration in her 2005 album, 20 Y.O. Their romance later metamorphosed into an engagement at some point but after 8 years together which spanned from 2001 to 2009, they called it quits. However, in the fall of 2017, unconfirmed reports emerged speculating that the former lovers have rekindled their flame but neither of the parties has publicly addressed the speculations.
In a recent revelation, the rapper made it known that he ended his magical dalliance with Jannet because of distance. He loved his base in Atlanta while Janet preferred living in L.A and neither of them wanted to leave their space. Dupri is since yet to be romantically linked with another woman.