Jermaine Dupri is holding nothing back when reminding people he is more than deserving of respect for his music and cultural contributions.
Dupri is well known for helping to launch acts such as Xscape, Da Brat, Usher and Kriss Kross into the stratosphere of stardom throughout the ’90s and well into the 2000s. With his 2018 induction into the Songwriters Hall of Fame, his prowess in creating musical hits reached a new level of undeniable recognition.
But when it comes to influencing fashion trends it is not likely that people think of the So So Def Recordings CEO. “A lot of this stuff would be different, like a lot of people would be like, ‘Damn, Jermaine actually created this, Jermaine actually started this,’” said Dupri while speaking of his trendsetting past for Complex’s Blueprint series.
In particular Dupri stated the trend of artists rocking sports jerseys was something he put on the map with the rapping duo Kriss Kross.
“I’ve been telling people this everyday if you look at that Kriss Kross poster up there, Kriss Kross has on jerseys, this was in 1992. Nobody in hip-hop you can’t think of nobody else in hip-hop in ’92 that was wearing baseball jerseys, so that means after 1992 wearing baseball jerseys, football jerseys, basketball jerseys all of that came from me and Kriss Kross,” said Dupri.
The Atlanta hit-maker discovered the teens, Chris Kelly and Chris Smith, while at southwest Atlanta’s once popular Greenbriar Mall in 1991. By the following year they had a hit record, “Jump,” and a style — clothes worn backwards — that set them apart. (Chris Kelly would pass away at age 34 in 2013.) All of which Dupri helped the duo develop.
“But the industry that we’re in they don’t actually frame it up like that,” he continued. “We don’t get the credit that we’re supposed to, and that’s kind of what Andre 3000 was saying at The Source Awards when he said ‘the South got something to say.’ He felt that same energy that night. I been feeling that same energy my whole life.”
That “energy” has continued well into present day. In September of this year the producer spoke publicly about wanting to go up against fellow music producer Diddy “Love” Combs in a “Verzuz.” However, the Bad Bad Boy Records founder felt Dupri was unqualified to go round-for-round.
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