Given his zeal for working, chances are the only way you'll see Jermaine Dupri partying is in one of his artists' videos. As the producer/exec puts it in his laid-back Southern drawl, "Ain't no time to waste."
Dupri has only had his new distribution deal and executive position at Arista for a few months, but he's already been making major moves. He's gotten Da Brat out of hibernation and ready to drop an album on June 24, and newly signed So So Def recruit Bone Crusher has a bona fide hit with "Never Scared." His Attenchun! comes out April 29 (see "Bone Crusher Serves 'Scared' Rap Competitors A Steaming Slice Of ATL").
Hot free agent Anthony Hamilton, who sings the choruses for Tupac's "Thugz Mansion" and Nappy Roots' "Po' Folks," has also just signed under the So So Def banner.
"I know what's So So Def," Dupri said about distinguishing which acts to sign to his own label and which talent to bring directly to Arista CEO Antonio "LA" Reid. "I feel what's for my company. Certain artists I feel I should talk to more, I should deal with more and breed a little bit more. I'm helping Arista become more [edgy]. Back in the day Arista would have never signed Bone Crusher. They would have never let an artist like him get in the building. I'm trying to bring that edge to them."
Of the Arista artists not signed to So So Def, Babyface is going to give the comeback trail yet another go, dropping a new album June 24. Face is said to be to focusing on his vintage ballads this time around. Newcomer Red Cafe, who's been making rounds on the mixtapes, is coming out in August, as is former Goodie Mob member Cee-Lo. Later on this year Dupri and Reid are pulling out the big guns with Avril Lavigne's sophomore album, due September 9, and Pink's next project, due November 11.
A few weeks after the hairstyle-changing singer drops her opus, Dupri's main man Usher is hoping to follow up the success of 8701 with a still-untitled LP. Jermaine is once again going to executive produce.
"I just started on his album last week," JD disclosed. "It’s the same [procedure]. It's nothing never different. We been through the sophomore jinx — there is no sophomore jinx. We just making records. We know his mode. I'm gonna [produce] most of the album. He's gonna see Pharrell [of the Neptunes]. Same thing as always. If it ain't broke, don’t fix it."
So says the boss.