In February, Island Def Jam Chairman L.A. Reid brought Jermaine Dupri over to Island to be president of urban music, and now it looks as if JD’s girlfriend, Janet Jackson, is not too far behind. The longtime Virgin Records artist has been in talks to switch label homes.
“Definitely Janet will end up at Island,” Dupri told MTV News recently. “That’s without a doubt. L.A. always wanted to sign her regardless [of whether] I was there or not. I don’t know where that deal is — I left that in the hands of L.A. and Janet’s people — but more than likely, he’ll get what he wants.”
Whether or not the deal is completed, Jackson will put out a song this summer. Dupri just finished a deal for his company to release the “Rush Hour 3″ soundtrack (the first two soundtracks were released on Island during its old regime).
“Janet will have one of the first singles off the album,” he said. “Bow Wow will be on the soundtrack. A couple usual suspects should pop up on the soundtrack, but I want it to be something unique [to] incorporate the new [Island Def Jam] family I’m with. I’mma see what Luda’s doing, what Jay is doing. I’mma see if I can get some records from people.”
Dupri’s position at Island follows a less-than-eventful run as president of urban music at Virgin (see “Virgin Records Snapping Up Jermaine Dupri And So So Def” ). He blames a lack of corporate support for his departure.
“With me being the president, I bring back the urban side of Island so that Island and Def Jam can be two separate record companies,” he explained. “Jay-Z’s at Def Jam, I’m at Island. L.A. sits in the middle and makes sure we do what we supposed to do as well as pump us up with ideas. I’m a musician, and I’m 100 percent into making music. I’m behind the music, and I like being around people that’s behind the music. Virgin Records is not behind the music. They weren’t when I was there, and I still don’t think they are behind the music. If you’re gonna be in the music business, you should be around people who are about the music.”
A spokesperson for Virgin didn’t respond to requests for comment by press time about Jackson’s status with the label or Dupri’s departure.
Other than the “Rush Hour” soundtrack, Dupri already has a full plate of releases coming out of his company. He’s producing an album of ballads for Jagged Edge and Mariah Carey is in the studio and is expected to put out an LP sometime this year, as is Dupri’s new MC, Hot Dollar.