Jermaine Dupri has spent the bulk of the year fattening up the roster of Arista Records, where the producer and sometime-MC has held a vice president post since January. Overseeing records by Bone Crusher, Kelis and Outkast is nice, but Dupri's been back in the laboratory doing the thing he loves most: making music.
Dupri's working on his next solo album, Green Light, which is due out in February or March. It'll be his first album since 2001's Instructions, which spawned the hit single "Welcome to Atlanta."
"The definition of Green Light is just go, you know what I mean? I'm not stoppin' for nobody," Dupri said recently. "I'm going extremely hard on this record."
Sticking true to his pop-rap formula, Dupri said he plans to have a slew of hip-hop luminaries join him on this album, including Jay-Z, who teamed up with him once before, for the bling anthem "Money Ain't a Thang."
The rapping producer has already completed the title song for Green Light with Nelly, the album's likely first single. Another song that he'll include on the album is "Live Like Me" with Lil Jon and Pastor Troy, which is featured on the soundtrack to EA Sports' "NBA Live 2004" video game (see "Sean Paul, Chingy, Outkast Lace 'Em Up For 'NBA Live' ").
Dupri is featured on more than just the soundtrack — he's been immortalized as a character in the game itself. Though Dupri isn't nearly as tall as the average b-baller, he knows his distinguishing trait on the virtual court. "Speed," Dupri laughed. "I'm fast on there."
Not all of JD's efforts have been confined to the studio — he's still working the executive room at the label, having recently signed Daz Dillinger and femme fatales 3LW (see "Jermaine Dupri To Sign 3LW, Former Dogg Pound Member Daz").