Jermaine Dupri Will Be The 2nd Hip-Hop Artist Inducted Into Songwriters Hall Of Fame
Last February, JAY-Z was announced as the first Hip-Hop artist headed to the Songwriters Hall Of Fame. In mid-June, when the New York City ceremony took place, former President Barack Obama was among those who affirmed and celebrated Jay’s lyrical contributions to music. The major moment was followed by peer praise from Rakim, Andre 3000, Chuck D, and Posdnuos, as well as Scarface crowning Jay “the greatest songwriter of all-time.” Upon joining the elite class, Jay publicly listed Rap peers throughout the eras that he considered influential songwriters.
One year after the JAY-Z announcement, the Songwriters Hall Of Fame reveals it is inducting another Hip-Hop artist: Jermaine Dupri. Billboard reports that the Atlanta, Georgia-based rapper, producer, and So So Def Records founder is headed for the distinction on June 14, 2018.
Although the pair famously made 1998 single “Money Ain’t A Thang” together (belonging to albums from both artists), J.D. has followed a different path to Hall Of Fame status than Jay. Beginning his career as a dancer for Whodini and others, Dupri wrote for his label’s stars, including Kris Kross, Bow Wow, and Da Brat. Kris Kross’ breakout hit “Jump” (released 26 years ago today), written and produced by J.D., would climb to #1.
Last year on Sway In The Morning, Jermaine spoke about building an empire that included writing for others. “I could get a lot of flack if I try to guard that [lyric writing] issue, because I wrote [for] Kris Kross, and I wrote for Bow Wow…I wrote them albums. I even wrote most of Da Brat’s first album [Funkdafied]…People always try to pull stuff up, so I want people to understand: I’ve been there. It was a vision for me to do Kris Kross. It’s a difference when it’s a vision,” Speaking about ongoing debates about Rap artists using other writers, J.D. added, “I think in Hip-Hop, we lose the concept of writing songs. It’s a song. Great songs have been written by multiple people. That’s just it… it’s one thing to say that you want to be a great rapper. But I think a majority of people today, they want to make records to get on the charts and get this #1 accolade. If you want a #1 record, sometimes it’s tough…sometimes you’re not the guy who can write a #1 record. You gotta be in the studio with somebody who can help you write a #1 record.” In addition to “Jump,” Dupri co-wrote and produced Nelly, Paul Wall, Ali, and Big Gipp’s “Grillz.”
Outside of Hip-Hop, Dupri’s pen may be more recognized. He co-wrote and produced Usher’s #1 song “Nice & Slow,” “Burn,” “Confessions Part II,” and “My Boo.” Dupri would achieve the same chart-topping status with Mariah Carey on “We Belong Together” and “Don’t Forget About Us.”
As a solo artist, Dupri has not released in album in 16 years. His 1998 debut, Life In 1472 would go on to achieve platinum status. In recent years, Dupri continues to work with Mariah and Brat. Last year, the onetime Virgin Records executive was saluted on VH1’s Hip Hop Honors.
Other 2018 Songwriters Hall of Fame class inductions include Kool & The Gang and John Mellencamp, among others.
#BonusBeat: This TBD episode examines why ghostwriting may be necessary for Hip-Hop: