Earlier this month, Jermaine Dupri demonstrated he's a true showman by bringing out Mariah Carey and Janet Jackson during his set at the Summer Jam radio festival in New Jersey. Now, Dupri is thinking about how to pull the ultimate trump card and get the two legends on the same song.
In April, Carey hinted that she was very open to the collaboration (see "Mariah Down To Work With Janet; Eve's Loss Is Busta's Gain"). "He never talked to me about that, but if Jermaine has a concept, we should go and write something," she told MTV Radio. "I love Janet. I've been a big fan of Janet since 'Con-tro-ol!' "
On Friday, JD said he is, in fact, developing an idea for Carey and his longtime girlfriend to do it up right on a song.
"It's gonna happen on this record," he said about the collaboration. "Please believe that. I got a mean idea, so look for it. We definitely gonna do a repackage on [Janet's 20 Years Old] once it comes out. Hopefully it's successful and people buy into it, then I'm going back in the studio.
What happened was, when I was working with Janet, I got into the zone. This was my first time ever working with her. When I get into my zone with artists, I just want to create and create and create. That's what happened with me and Mariah [on The Emancipation of Mimi]. We don't run outta ideas; we keep coming up with sh--. The closer I get to that idea [for Janet and Mariah], the more I know where it should be at. It's feeling like it's gonna happen."
Dupri also said the Janet and Mariah record — if he pulls it off — could appear on the initial run of 20 Years Old.
"It depends on how quick my mind moves," he said. "We're mixing records for [20 Years Old]. We're not done yet. When I did Usher's My Way album, the last record I created was 'You Make Me Wanna ... .' I'm thinking I might go back in, and I might tamper with it. ... We gotta try to figure it out."
JD hopes to have the Janet and Mariah duet mapped out and recorded before Carey goes on tour this summer. Dupri also said he's accepted Mariah's invite to go out on the road with her. He won't be at every single date, but he promises to pop up here and there and support his homie.
"I'mma go to the hot spots," he said of the tour. "She's going to Miami first. I'm definitely gonna be at that show. I'm definitely gonna be in New York, in Atlanta. That's my partner. Whatever she needs me to do, I'm there."
When he's not onstage, Jermaine already has a full plate of production scheduled for the rest of the year. He's working on a slew of his So So Def artists, including Johnta Austin, Manish Man, T. Waters and Young Capone. Bow Wow's next album is on Dupri's to-do list, as are records from 3LW, JoJo, Ludacris, Young Jeezy, Frankie J, Bone Thugs-N-Harmony, Nelly, Usher ("We gonna start on his record at the end of the year") and Mariah Carey once she gets off tour.
Janet's JD-produced "Call on Me," is the first single from the September 26 release 20 Years Old, and made its official debut Tuesday (June 20).
"It's a duet between her and Nelly," Dupri said. "It's the jump-off. It's really just a record about when you need a friend, somebody you need to talk to, just call on a person. It's a friend record. It ain't really a boyfriend/girlfriend record. The way Nelly and Janet is talking is more girlfriend/boyfriend, but it really goes out to friends."
Nelly being a close friend of JD made him a perfect candidate to rap on the song. Well, that and the fact that Nelly and Dupri have a super-smash under their belts already.
"Nelly, I try to do what I do with my friends," Dupri explained. "Me and him had just come off the success of 'Grillz' at the time I made this record. He was the person on my mind. "Especially since Janet only made records, not to disrespect Q-Tip or Heavy D, but as far as popular rappers in this day and time, Busta Rhymes was the only one. We was trying to go to the radio and not do the typical R&B featured record. I was trying to be more creative and find somebody who can do melody as well as rap on the record. Nelly don't really rap on this song, he's singing. He has that different style. That's kind of what the record is. We see that enough: R&B with a rapper feature. That's why I call this a duet as opposed to a feature."
With new singer/rapper collaborations in abundance, like Beyoncé and Jay-Z's "Deja Vu" and Ciara and Chamillionaire's "Get Up," JD said he really wanted Janet and Nelly to have their own lane.
"I never really pay attention to anybody else's record when I'm doing what I'm doing," he said. "I was just trying to give her the look she hasn't had in a minute. That would be both an incredible look on TV as well as a star moment, as well as a big record on radio. That's all the elements I was putting into making this record. We don't just have a record that's just a Nelly and Janet record. I believe this record is gonna be one of the biggest records on radio this year. Outside of who it is, it's a well-put-together song."