Jermaine Dupri Discusses His Role With Kris Kross, TLC, & Fresh Fest ’84 (Audio)

Jermaine Dupri hits the Hot 97 studio for an in depth interview with Peter Rosenberg to introduce his new artist Rolls Royce Rizzy in which they discuss his latest single, “Hot Damn,” and his upcoming EP. The interview quickly shifts focus from Rizzy to Jermaine as Rosenberg and his cohorts dive into J.D.’s personal Hip-Hop history.

Jermaine kicks off the discussion by delving into his entrance into Hip-Hop at 12 years old as a dancer for the Fresh Fest concert tour in 1984 that was headlined by the likes of Run DMC, Whodini, Fat Boys, and Kurtis Blow (8:00). It was on the nationwide tour that Dupri would be introduced to the all star line up as well as LL Cool J, Grand Master Flash, and Russell Simmons. JD never looked back.

What Jermaine accomplished in the industry at such a young age is noteworthy to say the least. After his introduction into the music world as a dancer, a 16 year old Jermaine Dupri would go on to create the all female Hip-Hop group, Silk Tymes Leather. The formation eventually led to a chance meeting with Chris Kelly, his mother, and Chris Smith at a local mall. Based solely on looks alone, Jermaine Dupri signed the two and thus, Kris Kross was born (18:30).

The talk rolls deeper, as Jermaine discusses his role in writing and producing Kris Kross’ first album (20:00), working with TLC before they signed to LaFace (28:00), discovering Da Brat (47:00), working with Notorious B.I.G. on the remix to “Big Poppa” (49:00), and his work with Lil’ Bow Wow (45:00) and Jagged Edge (58:00). Take a full listen below.

Related: Can You Feel It: Why 1984 Is Hip-Hop’s Watershed Moment (Food For Thought)