Mariah Carey and Jermaine Dupri
2.15.2017

Exclusive: Jermaine Dupri Talks Mariah Carey Album, Bryson Tiller Collaboration

From “Always Be My Baby” to “We Belong Together,” Jermaine Dupri is responsible for crafting some of Mariah Carey’s biggest hits. Now, the dynamic duo is back at it again with Mimi’s breakup anthem “I Don’t” featuring YG.

In between filming the fourth season of Lifetime’s hit series “The Rap Game,” the So So Def mogul called into Rap-Up to discuss his latest collaboration with the “Mariah’s World” star and what he has in store for her upcoming album.

“We did so many records; it’s just trying to give people something different,” explained J.D. “Something that will be refreshing. I’m not doing every song, but I’m always trying to figure out something that will make the mind spark or say something like, ‘Damn. What made them do that?'”

The new music may include a collaboration with Bryson Tiller, who sampled Mariah’s “Shake It Off” on his 2015 breakout hit “Don’t.”

“He took a piece of ‘Shake It Off’ in his song so therefore I felt it’d be a dope collaboration if they came up with a song like that.,” said J.D.

But don’t expect to see MC do EDM. “Mariah Carey is basically a rapper in a pop diva’s body. That ain’t her flow.”

When did you record “I Don’t”?

The song was recorded a while ago, a couple months back when we was in Italy. We started working on the song back then, so then I finished the song in Vegas. She put YG on there recently in like the last few weeks.

How did the Donnell Jones sample (“Where I Wanna Be”) come about?

Bryson Tiller took the second verse of “Shake It Off” in his song and that kind of gave me the idea to do something like that. I felt it was kind of trendy for singers to do. We did it in “We Belong Together” when she talked about the Babyface song. There are some people who don’t know the song and there are some that do, so that’s what I was pushing for.

It has a ’90s R&B throwback feel.

I played [‘I Don’t’] for Bow Wow. He said, “Man, it don’t even sound like you produced the record.” To some people it sounds like a ’90s throwback, but to some people it just sound like a brand new song of her doing something different than what they’ve heard. A lot of kids out there want Mariah to make EDM music. That’s never gonna happen. I’ve been saying this forever, Mariah Carey is basically a rapper in a pop diva’s body. That ain’t her flow. She don’t listen to EDM. That ain’t her type of music. That poppy-sounding music, she ain’t never made that type of music anyway.

“Mariah Carey is basically a rapper in a pop diva’s body”

Did you produce more for Mariah?

We got way more records. My thing was to get her to do something that don’t sound like a Mariah Carey record. We did so many records; it’s just trying to give people something different. Something that will be refreshing. I’m not doing every song, but I’m always trying to figure out something that will make the mind spark or say something like, “Damn. What made them do that?” That’s the song we’re moving with first and a lot of the songs, they got that same type of element. They might not have samples, but they’re not your typical-sounding Mariah Carey record initially.

Aside from YG, can we expect more collaborations?

I did speak to Bryson Tiller about doing a collaboration with her. He wit’ it. I think it’d be dope. He took a piece of ‘Shake It Off’ in his song [“Don’t”] so therefore I felt it’d be a dope collaboration if they came up with a song like that.

People don’t know that about Mariah, she’s kinda extra ghetto. She be on her own shit when it comes to how she wants people on her records and how she wants her records to sound. She’s probably got more ideas in her head. I’ve got musical ideas. It’s her project so she start dictating what she wanna do.

–DL