Virgin Records Chairman
and CEO Matt Serletic announced today that hip-hop mogul Jermaine Dupri has
been hired on as President of their new Urban Music Division.
Dupri will oversee the entire
division as well as produce for the EMI family of record labels. Under terms
of the new deal, Jermaine will also bring his So So Def label over to Virgin.
"As the new
President of Urban Music for Virgin Records, I’m up for the challenge,"
Dupri said. "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."
Based in Atlanta and New
York, Dupri will report to Virgin Chairman Serletic and COO/GM Larry Mestel.
Most recently, Jermaine
Dupri received two Grammy nominations for his co-writing credits on Usher’s
chart topping hits "Burn" and "My Boo."
"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,"
Matt Serletic said. "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."
Dupri established his So
So Def label in 1993, after scoring a five-million-plus seller with Kris Kross’
album, Totally Krossed Out.
Dupri had massive success
with such acts as Da Brat, Jagged Edge, Bow Wow, J-Kwon and others.
He has produced for a who’s-who
in music, including Mariah Carey, Usher, Alicia Keys , Whitney Houston, Jay-Z,
Chingy, Ludacris, Toni Braxton and many others.
Sources told AllHipHop.com
that a contributing factor in Dupri taking the helm at Virgin was because of
his girlfriend, Janet Jackson. Jackson is also an artist on the Virgin label.
"L.A. Reid and Jermaine
Dupri obviously go way back," a source close to the deal told AllHipHop.com.
"Jermaine and L.A. are both from Atlanta. L.A. wanted Jermaine to stay
within the Universal fold, but J.D. wanted to go run the Virgin division and
help guide the career of Janet Jackson."
Other artists on Virgin
include Lenny Kravitz, N.E.R.D., Ben Harper, Gorillaz, Guerilla Black and others.