You might expect Jermaine Dupri to be a little off his game when he performs at LIV this Friday.
The legendary music producer and rapper is an Atlanta native and a longtime Falcons fan. He was even onstage for a halftime performance with Ludacris and Jeezy during the NFC Championship Game between the Falcons and the Green Bay Packers. So the Falcons' Super Bowl loss to the New England Patriots probably didn't go over too well at the Dupri house. But the man still has plenty of Atlanta pride; after all, it's where he's helped shape the sound of hip-hop and pop over the past couple of decades.
Perhaps it was in his genes. His father, Michael Mauldin, was in the music biz, managing acts such as Earth, Wind & Fire and Luther Vandross. As a teenager in Atlanta, Dupri quickly found his first two stars. Hanging out in an Atlanta mall, he discovered two 12-year-olds named Chris. He dubbed them Kris Kross, and with his production help and a catchy little song telling listeners to "Jump," they became so much of a phenomenon that even their trademark of wearing their clothes backward became a trend. Over the next two decades, Dupri alternated between discovering new protégés such as Bow Wow and producing established superstars such as Mariah Carey, Usher, and Janet Jackson.
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Interspersed between all of his masterminding, Dupri also put out a couple of enormously successful solo albums. His debut, Life in 1472, released in 1998, quickly shot into the top five and was nominated for a Grammy for best rap album based on strong beats and heavy-hitting guest MCs such as Nas, Slick Rick, and Jay Z. 2001's Instructions followed the same formula. But since then, Dupri has preferred to remain in the shadows. His production discography has ebbed and flowed over those years, with his most recent credit coming with the Fifth Harmony song "Like Mariah."
The past couple of years have seen Dupri get back to the roots of how he became a household name, by looking for the next rap superstar. He produced the Lifetime reality series The Rap Game. The show, which began its second season in January, features young wannabe big-time rappers being immersed in the Atlanta hip-hop world as they compete for a chance to be taken under Dupri's wing.
Whether reality shows or football, the man seems to like his games.