It looks like Jermaine Dupri is not only going to find a new home for his So So Def Records, but he’s also picking up a new executive position.
On Monday (January 24) Dupri was officially named president of Virgin’s urban music division and it was announced he’s bringing his So So Def imprint with him.
“I gotta get acclimated to all the e-mails, meet the people, see who’s gonna be in there and who ain’t. I gotta do what I gotta do now,” Dupri said of his first day in his new office.
He said he wasn’t swayed to sign on the dotted line by the rumored $20 million (which he wasn’t at liberty to comment on) he snagged or by the fact that girlfriend Janet Jackson happens to be the label’s biggest act.
“Everybody believes I’m over here because of Janet and for the money. It has nothing to do with that,” he insisted. “I feel like today’s market is open for anything. My goal is to get Virgin poppin’ just like Lil Jon did [with TVT]. He made an independent look like a major. I’m at a major that don’t look like a major. I’mma try and make it look major.”
In December Dupri said he was leaving Jive — which had taken over So So Def’s distribution when Arista collapsed in early 2004 — for a situation more compatible with his roster.
“I’m just looking for a nice place to put out records and a place that’s in love with what I do,” the veteran producer of such artists as TLC, Usher and Jay-Z said at the time. “I love to put out records. I make something I believe in.”
Among the acts on the So So Def roster are the Youngbloodz, Da Brat, Daz Dillinger, 3LW and of course Dupri himself.
J.D. contemplated releasing his own Green Light album first once he landed a new home, but he’s decided to try his hand at breaking a new act instead. He’s handing the ball to ATL newcomer T-Waters, who’s been on several mixtapes rapping with the LOX’s D-Block crew. Daz Dillinger will probably bat second.
“People look at Daz and say, ‘He was with Tha Dogg Pound,’ ” Dupri said. “That era in their music has never gone. I’mma see Daz come back and you’ll probably see some of them usual suspects on his album. I think him and Game got a song together, him and Snoop got a record. [Daz's] album will definitely be one of them rap records that from East to West you have to buy.”
Besides the So So Def family, J.D. just finished work on new albums by Mariah Carey and Bow Wow and is going to executive produce a new one from his aforementioned main squeeze (see “Jermaine Dupri: New Janet LP’s ‘Gonna Be Straight ‘Control’ ‘” ).