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"I will catapult Virgin into a young, hip label with chart-topping success in both R&B and rap music. I also hope to change the whole look of the company so when up-and-coming R&B and hip hop artists are looking for a home, Virgin will be the first stop."
——Jermaine Dupri, President Virgin Records Urban Music
DUPRI TO HEAD VIRGIN
URBAN MUSIC
Veteran Producer/Artist Brings His So So Def Label into Fold
Another producer has nabbed a top executive slot at Virgin Records.

Urban music hitmaker and exec Jermaine Dupri, producer of three #1 hits from Usher's Confessions, has been appointed President of Virgin Records Urban Music, a new division at the label, it was announced by label Chairman/CEO Matt Serletic

As part of the arrangement, Dupri will bring the So So Def label into the Virgin family, and will oversee Virgin's entire Urban music operation. In addition, he will record as a solo act and produce artists on the Virgin roster, as well as provide his production services to the entire EMI family of labels. Maybe even produce a couple of tracks for his main gal Janet.

Dupri will report directly to Serletic and COO/GM Larry Mestel on operational matters. He will also work closely on a day-to-day basis with label EVP Urban Music Lionel Ridenour. He'll be based in Atlanta and New York.

Serletic said: "Jermaine Dupri's outstanding work has extended in every direction since the mid-Nineties: as a producer and songwriter, as an entrepreneur, as a label executive and as a recording artist. All of us at Virgin are thrilled to welcome Jermaine to the company. We know that his remarkable ability to identify and develop talent will continue to build great careers in the years to come, while bringing innovative and refreshing ideas to well-established acts. And I can't wait to get him started on a Collective Soul remix."

Dupri commented: "I am happy to join the Virgin Records family, and look forward to working with Matt, Larry, Lionel and the whole Virgin Records team.  As the new President of Urban Music for Virgin Records, I'm up for the challenge.  My strengths as a producer and hit-maker were magnified this year with the success of my work with Usher. By joining So So Def and Virgin, I plan to do for Virgin what Russell Simmons did 10 years ago, when he moved Def Jam to Island Records. I will catapult Virgin into a young, hip label with chart-topping success in both R&B and rap music.  I also hope to change the whole look of the company so when up-and-coming R&B and hip hop artists are looking for a home, Virgin will be the first stop."

"Jermaine Dupri is such a unique talent," added Mestel. "He is a rare blend of artist, talent magnet, creative visionary and businessman. We are very lucky to have the opportunity to add someone of Jermaine's stature in the creative community to our senior management team. I feel very fortunate to work with Jermaine again."

Dupri was 19 when he produced his first #1 record, Kris Kross' 1992 smash, "Jump" from the "Ruffhouse/Columbia album Totally Krossed Out led to the 1993 establishment of the So So Def label, which fetured hit acts like Xscape, Da Brat, Jagged Edge and rapper Bow Wow. The label turned in two of 2004's signature party jams, J-Kwon's "Tipsy" and the Youngbloodz's "Damn!" featuring Lil Jon. Five-time Grammy nominee Anthony Hamilton's breakout success helped to continue So So Def's string of breakout acts.

Dupri produced LaFace/Arista artist Usher's 1997 hits "My Way," "You Make Me Wanna..." and the #1 "Nice & Slow." He also produced and co-wrote the #1 pop smash "U Got It Bad" from Usher's 8701 album.

In 2004, a succession of three Dupri-produced hits ("Burn," "Confessions Part II" and "My Boo," a duet with Alicia Keys) helped drive over eight million sales of Usher's Confessions album, making it the best-selling album of the year. A six-time Grammy nominee, Dupri is twice-nominated this year for the Best R&B Song Grammy, for co-writing "Burn" and "My Boo," and he shares the nomination for Album of the Year for his production and engineering/mixing work on Confessions.

Dupri has also produced, executive-produced, remixed or recorded with such artists as TLC, Whitney Houston, Aretha Franklin, Aaliyah, Jay-Z, Chingy, Ludacris and Toni Braxton, and he produced and co-wrote the chart-topping "Always Be My Baby" by Mariah Carey and "The First Night" by Monica.

 

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