Congrats to JD on the wonderful news!
Back in February, Jermaine Dupri’s induction comes a year after Jay-Z became the first rapper to make it into the Hall. Dupri has co-written No. 1 hits like Mariah Carey’s “We Belong Together” and “Always Be My Baby,” Usher’s “Burn” and Monica’s “The First Night.” He has released his own hip-hop albums and became a popular songwriter and producer in Atlanta when he launched the record label So So Def, building careers for Jagged Edge, Kriss Kross, Bow Wow, Xscape and more.
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On Thursday night in New York City, some of music’s top singers showed up to pay tribute to the people who put the words in their mouth: the songwriters.
At the annual Songwriters Hall of Fame Induction Gala, hitmaking group Kool & the Gang, songwriter, producer and label boss Jermaine Dupri were among the honorees, while Usher, Mariah Carey, Fantasia, Leon Bridges and The Weeknd were some of the stars who showed up to pay tribute to them.
At the show, Usher and Mariah inducted Dupri, who created hits for them as well as for the likes of TLC, Da Brat, Kriss Kross, Janet Jackson, Alicia Keys, Bow Wow, Nelly, Monica, Xscape and many others. Accepting the honor, Dupri said it was “a win for any kid who believes he can do it…even when people tell you no.” He also performed a medley of the songs “Live and Die for Hip Hop” and “Jump.”
The music mogul reacts to the news…
“To be mentioned in the same breath as people I admire means everything to me,” Dupri says, citing Motown Records founder Berry Gordy Jr. as source of inspiration.
According to Dupri, the key to writing a hit song is to focus on the hook as the driving force. That’s what he did when penning his first big record, Kriss Kross’s 1992 breakout single “Jump.” Dupri says he wrote the song in 30 minutes.
“It’s a thing that happens where you start writing a song, it’s a burning feeling that you have to finish it. Once I had the first verse, you don’t want to hear the song incomplete,” he explains. “I’ve written other songs just as fast, but that was the first time I had that feeling.”
For Dupri, this Hall of Fame honor is special because it highlights a talent he feels he doesn’t get enough credit for. He remembers being at a pool in Mexico and watching a pool full of people sing Usher’s “You Make Me Wanna…” never realizing he wrote it.