Jermaine Dupri

Rap-Up TV: Jermaine Dupri Celebrates 20 Years of So So Def

From Kriss Kross to Bow Wow to Da Brat, So So Def has changed the face of hip-hop and introduced some of its brightest stars. On the 20th anniversary of his label, CEO Jermaine Dupri reflects on its legacy and shares what the future holds including new albums from Jagged Edge, Leah LaBelle, Dondria, and Fresco Kane.

“I just want people to understand that So So Def is probably one of the most musical companies to ever come in the 20th century,” said J.D., whose focus remains on breaking new artists.

On February 23, So So Def’s past and present roster will gather to celebrate with a star-studded concert at Atlanta’s Fox Theatre featuring performances from Kriss Kross, Jagged Edge, Da Brat, Dondria, Fresco Kane, Bow Wow, Bonecrusher, Anthony Hamilton, and more.

“It feels like I did what I set out to do,” said J.D. “To even be able to have this concert and talk about it feels incredible.”

New Music: Jermaine Dupri f/ Jagged Edge, Da Brat, Dondria, Fresco Kane, & Bow Wow – ‘Celebration’


So So Def is back in the building. On the 20th anniversary of his famed label, Jermaine Dupri reunites his all-star roster for a “Celebration.” He remixes Game’s Jesus Piece single with some old and new So So Def artists including Jagged Edge, Da Brat, Dondria, Fresco Kane, and Bow Wow.

J.D. will host a So So Def anniversary concert at Atlanta’s Fox Theatre on February 23. Tickets go on sale Saturday.

Ya’ll know what this is…

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Video: Fresco Kane f/ Jermaine Dupri – ‘Hot’

Jermaine Dupri and Fresco Kane

So So Def is in the building. Jermaine Dupri introduces his artist Fresco Kane in the video for “Hot.” The East St. Louis rapper rides around his city, stopping at a chop shop, and raps in front of the famed Gateway Arch with J.D. in the Juwuan Lee-directed clip.

The street record will appear on Fresco’s upcoming mixtape ESTL, due in mid-December. He is also prepping his debut for release on So So Def/Epic Records.

See how it goes down in the Lou.

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New Music: Mary J. Blige – ‘Everyday People’

Jermaine Dupri, Mary J. Blige, and Bryan-Michael Cox

After wrapping her “Liberation” tour with D’Angelo this month, Mary J. Blige keeps the music coming with a new record. The Queen of Hip-Hop Soul puts a new spin on Arrested Development’s 1992 hit “People Everyday,” produced by Jermaine Dupri and Bryan-Michael Cox.

MJB is in Montreal this week shooting Betty & Coretta. She plays Malcolm X’s wife Betty Shabazz alongside Angela Bassett (Coretta Scott King) in the Lifetime biopic.

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New Music: Fresco Kane – ‘Fresco Kane’

Fresco Kane

Hip-hop freshman Fresco Kane feeds the streets with the self-titled track off his upcoming mixtape Whatz My Name, dropping next week. Jermaine Dupri signed the St. Louis MC to So So Def/Epic Records after hearing his song “They Do.”

The rapper-producer, who cites Kriss Kross as one of his inspirations, is currently working on his debut. “When you listen to the album, you’ll feel you know me,” he tells the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. “It’ll be 100 percent me. I was raised in the hood, but I’ve seen much more than the hood. I don’t claim to be nothing I’m not.”

Check out the heavy-hitting record below and listen to his collaboration with Busta Rhymes, “Hump Wit It.”

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Jermaine Dupri Hopes Frank Ocean Can Save R&B

Jermaine Dupri and Frank Ocean

Frank Ocean is winning praise from critics with his major-label debut channel ORANGE. But Jermaine Dupri hopes the album’s success has a larger impact on the entire genre of R&B. The So So Def CEO wrote a letter on his site Global 14 lauding the album and hoping that it sells 200,000 copies (HITS Daily Double estimates sales of 125-135,000 in its first week based on iTunes only).

According to the hitmaker, R&B is in a state of emergency and Ocean may just be the person to save it. “The record companies don’t believe in it, radio won’t play it if it don’t have a rapper, and a majority of the artist that are labeled RnB are confused and lost,” writes J.D.

He hopes channel ORANGE‘s success will send a wake-up call to label executives and get radio to play more R&B records.

Do you agree with J.D.? Read his open letter below.

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Rap-Up TV: Leah LaBelle Gets Props from Jay-Z, Inspiration from Lauryn Hill

Pharrell discovered her on YouTube. Jermaine Dupri co-signed her. And now Leah LaBelle is gearing up for the release of her i am OTHER/So So Def/Epic Records debut, due later this year. The Seattle songstress sat down with Rap-Up TV in Beverly Hills to chat about her album, love for Lauryn Hill, and her encounter with Jay-Z.

“The album is just a really good, feel-good album,” said the “Sexify” singer, who got her first taste of stardom on “American Idol.” “It makes you happy, it makes you want to dance. It’s gonna remind you of the good times.”

The project was produced entirely by her superstar mentors, who both rap on the J.D.-produced “100%.” “It’s a real talk song, a lady talking about I’m gonna love you and I’m down for you,” explained Leah, who cites Lauryn Hill as her “biggest inspiration.”

“She really set the road for me for who I wanted to be as an artist,” said Leah of the Fugees frontwoman. “Even to this day, I’m still Lauryn Hill all day.”

While she doesn’t get starstruck easily, she was in awe while meeting Jay-Z during his studio session with Pharrell. She witnessed the hip-hop icon record a song and even got his feedback on her music. “He shook my hand and he was like, ‘Congratulations, this is some good stuff.’”