Exclusive Interview

Jermaine Dupri Talks So So Def's 20th Anniversary Concert

The label head also discusses Lil Jon, Kris Kross's legacy and how New York and Los Angeles bit Atlanta's style
February 21, 2013

So So Def honcho Jermaine Dupri will celebrate the 20th anniversary of his label Saturday night with an all-star concert featuring Da Brat, Lil Jon, Jagged Edge, Bow Wow, Bone Crusher, J-Kwon, Dem Franchize Boyz, The YoungBloodZ, Anthony Hamilton and, perhaps most exciting, a Kris Kross reunion. We caught up with Dupri before the show to discuss the concert, Lil Jon and the evolution of hip hop.

On So So Def's 20th Anniversary Concert
This concert can’t be copied. You can’t duplicate what I’m about to do. Since Motown 25, this has been a thought in my mind that I wish I could have a label that could possibly do a concert that will commemorate the years that they put in and all the success that happened on the label. I felt like, 'All my artists are alive and healthy and still working' and it just felt like it was time.

On the Evolution of Hip Hop
In '93, when I brought Kris Kross out, rap wasn’t in Atlanta. People were judging what we did as country and like we didn’t know what was going on. Nobody was looking for music coming from the South. Now, New York sounds like Atlanta. Los Angeles looks like Atlanta. I basically was dominating the radio out here with Bone Crusher , The YoungBloodZ and Lil Jon. Where New York radio and club scene is now, it’s funny because I basically was the beginning of that.

On Lil Jon
He learned the business from me. When I first went to Lil Jon and told him I wanted him to be A&R, he didn’t even know what A&R meant. I didn’t really need an A&R but it sounded right. I wanted to be connected to a DJ that was in Atlanta that had a connection to the streets and Lil Jon was that person.

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