Jermaine Dupri and Friends Open So So Def Exhibit at Grammy Museum

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Featuring memorabilia from Kris Kross, Xscape and extra, the celebration of the venerable R&B/hip-hop label’s 25th anniversary will run by way of March 2019

Celebrating its 25thanniversary this yr, So So Def has additionally checked off one other milestone. It's now the primary R&B/hip-hop label to be the main target of an exhibit on the Grammy Museum. 

So proclaimed a rightfully proud Jermaine Dupri, the pioneering Atlanta label’s founder/CEO, because the Los Angeles-based museum formally opened Jermaine Dupri & So So Def: 25 Years of Elevating Culture this week (Sept. 20). Featuring colourful stage outfits, pictures and extra memorabilia from Kris Kross, Xscape and different So So Def stars, the exhibit will run by way of March 2019.

It additionally coincides with the upcoming So So Def 25th anniversary tour, which launches Oct. 14 in Washington, D.C.

To assist kick off the opening, the Grammy Museum hosted a dialog with Dupri. He additionally introduced alongside a number of of his associates, particularly acts from the storied label, to have fun, together with Anthony Hamilton, Da Brat, Jagged Edge and Dem Franchize Boyz. After being introduced with a proclamation despatched by L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti -- and earlier than adjourning to an after-party on the roof -- Dupri sat down with Grammy Museum inventive director Scott Goldman. During a rollicking dialog that boasted colourful anecdotes from Dupri’s comrades, the Grammy Award-winning songwriter/producer and 2018 Songwriters Hall of Fame inductee revisited his profession and So So Def’s pivotal function in Atlanta’s emergence as a cultural and inventive pressure.

Jon Platt, one other longtime pal and business colleague (who might be exiting as chairman/CEO of Warner/Chappell Music Publishing), famous through the Q&A with Dupri that "music is in his system. He simply by no means stops working. It's arduous to match his power and work ethic as a songwriter and producer."

Among the dialog’s different memorable sound bites:

Discovering Kris Kross: "I noticed one thing in Kris Kross that I nonetheless haven’t seen to this present day," stated Dupri. "They have been swag earlier than the phrase was getting used. Their favourite artist was Ice Cube they usually performed his AmeriKKKa’s Most Wanted to dying. I watched them rap lyrics like Ice Cube. As quickly as I noticed that, I assumed, if I can write a tune that they midway like, this may be one thing. I wasn’t going to be glad till I might take a tune and make it theirs." [Kris Kross’ “Jump” spent eight weeks at No. 1 on Billboard’s Hot 100.]

Creating So So Def in Atlanta: "I began the label due to what Russell Simmons did [with Def Jam]," he stated. "Then there was Berry Gordy who created Motown with $800 and signed Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder, Michael Jackson, Smokey Robinson, Rick James and extra. Plus Atlanta simply had one thing completely different; it was a metropolis that didn’t shut. I didn’t care about established artists that a lot. I needed to search out the subsequent one."

Working with Jagged Edge: "Kandi [Xscape member Burruss] introduced a demo of the group to me," he recalled. "Then I invited these church boys to my home. I assumed I might break this male group off this feminine group. When they got here, I used to be making an attempt to have them sing over [The Honey Drippers’] “Impeach the President.” They’re like no, we don’t try this s--t."

Jagged Edge’s Brian Casey added that he remembered Dupri saying, "I see you all as being just like the male Xscape." "We’re like maintain up," he stated. "We’re not likely on the hip-hop factor. But he satisfied us to begin merging hip-hop with R&B as a result of we have been strait-laced R&B, interval."

"They’re like nah, you must hearken to Charlie Wilson and the Gap Band; that was their factor," Dupri chimed in. "So like with Kris Kross, I had to concentrate to what Jagged was about. And as soon as I began that course of, it helped me change my sound as a result of Xscape and Jagged Edge data don’t sound something alike."

Helming Anthony Hamilton’s first platinum album: "I’m a giant Bill Withers fan and I’d needed an artist like that, whose voice you realize regardless of the tune," Dupri continued. "So my dad [Michael Mauldin, former president of Columbia Records’ urban department] despatched me Anthony's demo. And I begin pondering, that is that f--king voice I’m speaking about. This was the primary time I ever took a demo and put it out; I didn’t do something to his document [2003’s Comin' From Where I'm From]. It wasn’t an computerized [success]. But I caught with it. It made me stronger about sticking with issues that you just imagine in."

"Jermaine heard the uncooked expertise and understood it when most labels weren’t listening for one thing they thought they already had," Hamilton stated. "He was like, 'Don’t change the music, don’t shave' … [then Arista chief] L.A. needed me to shave and placed on a go well with [laughs], And JD was like, 'No. This is the imaginative and prescient, I see it. You’re already packaged and we’re going to place this out.' And it was my first platinum album."

Getting funky with Da Brat: "Her power was tremendous bubbly however very aggressive," Dupri stated. "When she got here to Atlanta from Chicago, she caught this demo/beat in my automotive tape deck and it grew to become a live performance. She was going to city with this entire choreographed state of affairs. At that time I grew to become a fan. I noticed her power and the way devoted she was to me being the particular person she was going to signal with."

"But you made me name you want 100 occasions," Da Brat stated. "I might name his assistant after which speak to 50 different folks on the label. Then he lastly calls again. I keep in mind watching In Living Color at my grandmother’s home in Chicago and Kris Kross got here on the display screen. I felt I used to be part of them as a result of I used to put on my pants backwards and minimize holes in my baseball caps to let my ponytail stick by way of. So I needed to know who created this group and it was Jermaine. He informed me that ladies don’t do platinum, that I ought to be blissful if I went gold. I didn’t give a rattling if I went double copper, I simply needed to be part of So So Def. And evidently, I used to be the primary  feminine solo rapper to promote 1,000,000 data [1994 debut album Funkdafied]."