What do Mariah Carey, Jay Z, and Janet Jackson Have in Common?

The answer is one man: Jermaine Dupri.

By Serena Brahney

He's a producer, artist, and entrepreneur who bears an unparalleled list of accomplishments in music:

* He's one of only a few producers in music history to hold four positions in the top 10 on Billboard's Hot 100 chart at the same time

* Mariah Carey's "We Belong Together" – written and produced by Jermaine – is the ninth most popular song of all time. Billboard fittingly named it "Song of the Decade."

* Jermaine is the recipient of the ASCAP Golden Note award for his achievements as a songwriter

* His production and songwriting on Usher's "Confessions" album led to the second best-selling album of the 2000s, with more than 10 millions copies sold in the US.

And yet most people know Jermaine Dupri first, foremost, and sometimes solely as Janet Jackson's ex-boyfriend. Which, as he explains in the episode, isn't necessarily a bad thing. "That's an award nobody else will have," JD quips – but it diminishes the work he's done.
If you listened to the radio at any point during the past 25 years, chances are Jermaine Dupri has touched your life in some way. I am, admittedly, a fan: I can't think of another producer who so deeply influenced the music I listened to while growing up and thus, albeit indirectly, the person I've become. Kriss Kross was the first CD I ever owned. I know nearly every word to every 90s TLC song. Mariah's 'Always be my Baby' is, unabashedly, one of my favorite records of all time. And that's to say nothing of the effect JD had on Jay Z's career.

Jermaine: "I introduced [Jay Z ] to a lot of people that weren't really familiar... He's probably one of the smartest people I know."

As a person, JD is refreshingly grounded, an antidote to those in the industry caught in their own hype. and he continues to innovate: to write and produce hits, break new talent, help artists become better versions of themselves.

Larry: "Can a producer make an artist better?"
Jermaine: "100%. Yeah."
LK: "And a bad producer can hurt an artist?"
JD: "Yes. Totally."

Larry's interview with Jermaine is a rare, behind-the-scenes pass into the inner workings of the music industry from a man who's broken records across multiple genres. You can check out the episode here:

And to Jermaine: thanks for everything.

The views and opinions expressed herein are those of the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of Ora Media, LLC, its affiliates, or its employees.

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