Jermaine Durpi: An Underrated Musical Genius

by Rafeal Crawford
Jermaine Durpi: An Underrated Musical Genius
Jermaine Durpi: An Underrated Musical Genius

photo credit Complex

JD a true producer and songwriter

When it comes producers, CEO’s, or record labels in the Hip Hop and R&B industry people automatically think of Diddy, Dr.Dre, & Timbaland, or Deathrow, Bad Boy, Aftermath, and Def Jam plus countless others. However, one person and label seems to get left out or overlooked and that person is Jermaine Dupri aka J.D. and his So So Def label.

Dupri is one of many pioneers in Hip Hop and R&B industry and culture. He got started as producer with his first female act Silk Tymes Leather in the early 90’s although they didn’t reach mainstream success, Dupri did strike gold or would it be platinum with the Atlanta based Hip Hop group Kris Kross in 1992. A teenager himself J.D. saw the vision of Kris Kross being teenage mega stars but we’ll focus on Kris Kross on down the road.

The Totally Krossed Out album by Kris Kross went on to sell over 8 million records worldwide along with gold & platinum singles as well, J.D. wrote and produced the whole album in its entirety at the age of 19 years of age, which is unheard of and eventually landed his own label. In 1993 So So Def Recordings was born, having missed out on signing TLC he would sign Xscape an all female quartet R&B group. He produced their debut album Hummin’ Comin’ at ‘Cha that would go on to go platinum.

Atlanta started to emerge as the Motown of the south and Jermaine Dupri was the Hip Hop version of Berry Gordy and the industry started to take notice of the talent down in the A. Although he had major success with Kris Kross from the outside looking in many people didn’t view Kris Kross as a Hip Hop act but more like some teeny bop group that would fade to black, but J.D. would prove them wrong. So, he didn’t sign your predictable male MC from the east or west coast, instead he signed a young female MC from the westside of Chicago named Da Brat.


Not to waste any time they hit the studio to work on her debut album Funkdafied released in the summer of ’94 and Da Brat’s album went platinum making her the first female solo rapper to reach this accomplishment, also was produced solely by him as well. Then I think the industry started to take notice because when it came to platinum plaques he was 3 for 3 in an era where the west was dominating and the east was on the rise and this was before Outkast and the whole Dungeon Family Crew.

Jeramine Dupri was literally a one man band in the ’90’s with the platinum touch and this started his musical relationship with Mariah Carey when he co-wrote her 1995 single ‘Always Be My Baby” off her Daydream album. He then grabbed a young Usher, who had previously worked with Puffy Combs, but had minimal success with his debut album. So, Dupri worked with Usher on his sophomore album My Way being the executive producer also producing and writing countless hits off the album thrusting Usher into the mainstream audience. Mariah and Usher would continue to enlist J.D. on their projects by producing classics such as The Emancipation of MiMi and Confessions.

This Atl native has worked with Mariah Carey, Jay-Z Usher, Nas, Janet Jackson, & Monica just to name a few. His production and writing credit is endless He has had a hit or multiple hits on the charts every year since 1992, so that’s nearly thirty years of consistency.  Music Life Social would like to salute Jermaine Dupri The Underrated Genius in music.

Part II Totally Krossed Out & Funkdafied…


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