Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Jermaine Dupri: The Little Big Man in Hip Hop & R&B Music

If people measured Jermaine Dupri Mauldin a.k.a Jermaine Dupri less by his height, his bling, and of course mega superstar girlfriend and more by his contribution to the world of music then his stature would be immeasurable. To many in the industry he is mentioned in the same breath with music giants Berry Gordy and Quincy Jones. Even No I.D., successful Chi-town music producer for ground-breaking acts like Common and Kanye West, recognizes Dupri's exceptional talents and is learning from them.

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In his new book Young, Rich, and Dangerous, co-authored by Samantha Marshall, Dupri shares with readers the foundation of his musical genius. Pass the velvet rope, beyond the V.I.P curtain, and literally into the dressing room of his life we see a different side of the former breakdancer turned music producer. Notice the book cover pictures him leaning on a dressing room doorway, head down, with hands folded behind his back. Gone is the familiar "party like a rap star" Jermaine showcasing his unique swagger in Hip Hop videos and magazines. Pictured instead is a man, a business man, that appears reflective on what brought him to that room in the first place. "What's my purpose here?" he may be asking, and "Why do I keep coming back?" Turn the book over and now the often "slept on" music producer takes a needed rest, but only briefly because he knows the phone on his lap will ring soon with an important call.

Filled with stories, lessons, and pictures from childhood to adulthood Young, Rich, and Dangerous reads like your favorite Right On or Vibe magazine article. It's very conversational and loaded with recognizable names--Diana Ross, Kriss Kross, Usher, and Mariah Carey to name a few. But it's Dupri's insight about his peers and his experiences with them that makes it interesting. And surprisingly he gets quite personal opening up about his relationship with his daughter and how he became the man Janet is proud to call her lover. Haters read your hearts out!

Despite the book's title there's is nothing dangerous to young or old readers. It's Dupri's discerning ear for what's hot on the streets and keen eye for undiscovered raw talent that makes him a danger, but only to the old guard in the music business--those that run the industry based on Powerpoint presentations instead of what's making booty shake at the club and cars rattle with bass in the hood. But cold starched suits can't keep a creative talent down because Dupri is young, black, and gifted to paraphrase Lorraine Hansberry. And with this book he'll hopefully inspire others to be the same. So now the next time I hear his signature voice shouting, "Y'all know who dis is!" I feel like I can honestly say, I do.

To purchase Young, Rich, and Dangerous click the book cover to the right. And to learn more about the book or J.D. visit SoSoDef's Myspace page by clicking HERE and visit by clicking the link under My Favorite Hollywood Links.

I attended the book signing here in LA at Eso Won Books in Leimert Park, the historic black art district, and actually got a chance to talk briefly to JD. My book was signed, but my request for an interview turned down. Am I mad? No. Disappointed? Yes. But such is life of a not-so-famous entertainment blogger--at least for now. There will be other opportunities, I'm sure of it. So in the meantime here's the next best thing, an interview conducted at a New York signing found on YouTube.

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