Jermaine Dupri Talks Hip-Hop Legacy And TIDAL Collabs Partnership

By Desjah Altvater | November 6, 2023

JD_(Photog_Steven_Eloiseau)jpg.jpgJermaine Dupri photo by Steven Eloiseau

When TIDAL decided to partner with a music industry veteran to mentor rising stars, it was evident why they chose Jermaine Dupri. As a Grammy award-winning producer, writer, artist, and music executive, Dupri is now the host of the new interactive challenge, TIDAL Collabs Spotlight. “Finding artists and producers to collaborate with isn’t easy, so TIDAL Collabs is a game-changer,” said Jermaine Dupri. “A great collab brings different fan groups together to connect over something fresh.” With TIDAL Collabs, artists will save time and energy by connecting with recommended collaborators, thus jumpstarting the creative process.

Artistic collaborations play an instrumental role in helping artists get inspired, engage their fanbase, and unite audiences together. Though an overwhelming majority of fans value seeing their favorite artists collaborate, finding the right collaborators is a significant effort for all. On a mission to be the bridge between collaboration and talent, TIDAL Collabs plans to will help reduce the time and stress it often takes for artists to search for, identify, and explore quality.

To celebrate the launch, TIDAL is partnering with Jermaine Dupri for the TIDAL Collabs Spotlight contest, where one winner will receive in-studio time with Dupri, advice and insights into the collaborative process. In addition to in-studio mentorship, winners will receive marketing support for their collaborative track from the TIDAL Collabs Spotlight contest.

Below, Dupri speaks to EDITION about his new venture and his impact on rap history.

I noticed that on your social media, you are always looking for young talent. Can you please share why you are committed to finding and mentoring the next generation of artists?

I am committed because [the music industry] is dead out here. It's an empty space. From a music standpoint, the saddest thing about that is [we want to help]. I’m [looking for] young, male artists [everywhere]. I haven't found them yet. Everybody thinks [they’re] special. That's what's happening.

With the TIDAL Collabs Challenge, one winner will get the chance to be mentored by you. Though anyone would love to be mentored by you, I want to know what role mentorship has played in your life and in your career.?

I was mentored from afar. I don't think that I got an opportunity to actually be in the same room, or even have a conversation, with the people that I believe mentored me. I feel like a person should really take advantage of this, because I'm going to actually be there and I'm actually going to talk to them. I feel like mentoring other people has been a thing that I see as a successful situation.

[For example] Bow Wow, Da Brat, [and] any of my artists that I've ever mentored from a young age to now. They needed that person in their life. [Mentorship] is like [the] quarterback on a football team. It's the person that's calling the plays. You can argue about the play. You can fight the play, but at the same time, you still need somebody to throw. That’s usually who I am.

You are really good at finding talent and have been since the beginning of your career. What are you looking for in this competition, not only in a winner, but in a star?

I don't look for it. A star [will] show it without me even [asking]. You know, all I have to do is [say that] I'm looking for young singers. I didn't say stars, I said young singers, right? So, the person that's the star, they're gonna show up. And, I will know they’re a star when they show up.

A lot of times, that's how I look for it. You can't [search for it] because it's very interesting. With the TIDAL Collabs Spotlight, I allow myself [and] the artist, a space to collaborate. That's basically what this contest is. It’s an opportunity for people to get on this platform and be their own star.

A lot of artists that have that “thing” [star potential], also need it to be nurtured. [They] need to practice and be shown a couple of other things to [accentuate] what they have. And, I feel like that's the beauty of this contest and collaboration.

As a producer, writer, artist, and executive in music, you've collaborated with so many amazing people. Why do you think collaboration is a powerful tool when it comes to the music industry?

Collaboration is an untalked about tool that we all use. To name a few: Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis. There’s L.A. Reid and Babyface. Jermaine Dupri and Brian Michael Cox. Jermaine Dupri and Manuel Seal. Jermaine Dupri and Dr. Dre. The list can go on and on. There’s a collaborator somewhere in every project that we've all loved. And, that's the one thing that people need to understand. From being as young as I was when I started, I understand that [process] but you don't always know the importance of [collaborating] when you're young.

We recently celebrated the 50th anniversary of hip hop. As someone who's played a role in making many iconic hip-hop songs, what's your favorite hip-hop song?

My favorite hip- hop song, Jesus Christ. I don't know if I have a favorite hip- hop song. It's too many. But, if I had to choose one of them, I think “Children's Story” by Slick Rick is one of my favorite rap songs.

You're known for being a genius in the music industry. What is the legacy that you would like to leave behind?

I just hope that I could just leave a legacy that sits somewhere in between those that are really, really great. We live in a world now where everybody thinks they're great and everybody thinks they're legendary. But [there’s] only a few of those people. And, I pray that I can do what I need to do to fit in with the ones that really, really are that, as opposed to just saying it.

Photography by: Steven Eloiseau