There must be something in the water—or even in the Ciroc—that has so many people speaking disrespectfully on the musical significance, legacy and potency of one Jermaine Dupri Mauldin AKA Jermaine Dupri aka JD aka Don Chi Chi. What started out as understandable bravado from Sean “Diddy” Combs (I still call the man Puffy; his mama named him Puff, I’m gon’ call him Puff) about JD’s alleged inability to compete (at all) against him in a Verzuz battle, has transformed into a pure travashamockery. Steve Stoute even allegedly told JD that though he respects his catalog, JD’s catalog has had no impact.
What in the entire fuck is going on with you motherfuckers?
Listen, if you are somebody who believes that Diddy would beat JD in a Verzuz, that’s fine. I don’t think it’s a reasonable matchup considering that Diddy is basically using his entire Bad Boy catalog—which is amazing—where he didn’t write or produce a single thing. I don’t care whose name is in the credits on any song. It’s an open secret, if it’s even that, that Puffy would show up and breathe in the studio and add his name to the production credits. He didn’t write shit or produce shit. Diddy’s talent is knowing talent and getting the most out of it—in that he is legendary. Be that as it may, I, too, think that Diddy would win.
But if you’re a person who thinks that JD doesn’t belong in the convo in the first place because his catalog isn’t sufficient or isn’t legendary or isn’t worthy of note, your opinion on music is literally useless. And I mean that with my whole heart so let me say it again.
If you are a person who doesn’t think JD’s name belongs in a musical legend conversation than your musical opinion is literally useless. And that can include legends in the game. I’m looking at you Steve Stoute.
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Honestly, I don’t understand how we even got here. It’s one thing to have preferences, or even pick sides in a discussion about Verzuz. I get it. I’ve been wrong more than I’ve been right about who “wins” them, such that any score is being kept. But to belittle a man’s career, and one who has been successful longer than most people even realize is bonkers. Jermaine Dupri has literally been the man behind the boards (and usually the pen or co-pen) of over 30 top 40 hits. He has 11 NO. 1 POP CHART RECORDS. And those songs ain’t even pop songs, they’re just good songs that went number 1 because they’re good. From Kris Kross’s “Jump,” to Mariah Carey’s “We Belong Together,” and Usher, Xscape, Da Brat in between, the man knows how to make hits. And not just hits that mattered in the time they were created, he has crafted songs that will outlive cockroaches.
But even more importantly and why I think it’s INSANE for anybody, especially somebody of Steve Stoute’s stature, to say that JD’s music has had no impact, JD is the architect behind the last album anybody compared to Michael Jackson’s Thriller—Usher’s Confessions, an album that actually went diamond (10 million sold). Jermaine Dupri is responsible for three #1 songs on that album alone. How is that not impactful? GTFOH.
He wrote and produced “Always Be My Baby” with Mariah Carey. I mean, good googly moogly.
And Xscape. I mean, come on. “Just Kickin’ It” (Remix) is still as good today as it was back then, but their entire catalog—largely written and produced by or with Jermaine Dupri is amazing and you’re smoking rocks if you think otherwise.
Now let’s talk about Bow Wow and impact. Bow Wow, whose catalog is largely written with and produced by Jermaine Dupri, can still do arena tours. Most artists ain’t able to do that. Bow Wow is a headliner. In 2021. Come on. Just because it ain’t hardcore hip-hop doesn’t mean the catalog and accomplishments aren’t as legit as ever. JD makes stars out of folks and did so over a tremendous amount of time as a producer and songwriter. In fact, JD Jay-Z, Missy Elliot and Dallas Austin are the only ones in there of the hip-hop generation. That’s nothing to sneeze at. How is that for impact?
As an artist, Jermaine Dupri might not be as astounding as he is as a songwriter and producer. But “Money Ain’t a Thing” with Jay-Z did happen as did “Welcome to Atlanta.” “Welcome to Atlanta” was an anthem in the city. Just because it didn’t resonate in certain other areas doesn’t make it less significant. JD was on hits, and Life in 1472 was a good enough album, but I actually agree that JD as an artist probably can’t compete with Diddy as the feature artist. But Diddy realeased many albums and relied heavily on his roster to get him over the hump. But Diddy has hits. I can’t take that from him, nor would I want to. I think all of our amazing artists need their flowers. I just can’t determine why anybody would want to take them from Jermaine Dupri, who is as vital to the Atlanta landscape as any; the same Atlanta that has been running the music game for what feels like decades now.
I hate to regionalize this, but the South almost always gets short shrift in these discussions so it makes sense that so many folks from up North (especially) wouldn’t view those accomplishments as large as they may be, but to take anything from Jermaine Dupri’s catalog and career is insane. He’s sold too many records and produced too many actual hit singles.
You don’t think JD could beat Diddy? That’s fine. But don’t pretend he can’t compete, because real talk, if you required Diddy to use any song he actually wrote or produced...
...JD wins 20-0.