Jermaine Dupri is celebrating the 30th anniversary of So So Def Recordings this year, the label he started when he was barely out of his teens. Late last month, he was welcomed to Atlanta’s Black Music & Entertainment Walk of Fame and now, he’s partnered with TIDAL on a new product called TIDAL Collabs. The idea is to help emerging artists discover and connect with recommended collaborators in an effort to jumpstart the collaboration process, something Dupri truly believes in.
After all, the reputable producer has been instrumental in establishing Atlanta’s Hip-Hop and R&B community with artists like Kriss Kross, Xscape and Da Brat. His subsequent work with Mariah Carey, Usher, Monica, Bow Wow and Destiny’s Child further established his reputation both a gifted songwriter and executive. But he knows without collaboration, he wouldn’t be where he is today.
“This is a new way for artists to collaborate, which seems to be something that has a been a little harder in the past, so TIDAL is creating a way for artists to connect much easier,” Dupri tells AllHipHop. “And a lot of artists today need a collaborator. A lot of artists don’t understand that they need that extra piece to probably just open their mind up a little bit more than what they’ve done in the space they normally in.
“I feel like I’m probably one of the best creative collaborators in music. I’ve been collaborating with people since I started. I have collaborated with someone since the Xscape album, and I also was a guy that was weary about even doing it. So I know the space of a young songwriter-producer not wanting to do it, and then I also know the space of the young songwriter-producer doing it.”
Without Dupri’s willingness to pair up with another creative, Kriss Kross might not have become No. 1 Billboard artists or had the monster 1992 hit, “Jump.” And he understands why an artist might be hesitant to work with another creative. As he explains, “You want all the credit and you want people to know you are as talented as you believe that you are. So in the beginning, somebody’s asking you to create with someone or collaborate with someone, you don’t actually see the reason for that. Let me rewind.
“Since the beginning with Xscape, I actually had to collaborate with Joe The Butcher for Kriss Kross because I was so young when I got in the game. So that’s another thing. It’s like there may be a young producer, songwriter that really has the skills, but don’t have all that information to make his music sound or make her music sound the way it’s supposed to. And that’s the person. That’s who I was. Right? So I’ve been every one of these people.”
TIDAL is partnering with Dupri for the TIDAL Collabs Spotlight contest. Artists based in the U.S. who match through TIDAL Collabs can win in-studio time with him, where they’ll get advice and insights into the collaborative process. Winners will also receive marketing support for their collaborative track from the TIDAL Collabs Spotlight contest. The deadline is January 17. To access TIDAL Collabs, artists can log in or sign up for TIDAL Artist Home. Learn more about TIDAL Collabs here and watch the promo video below.