25 Videos That Define So So Def Recordings
“Y’all know what this is…”
As soon as you hear those words on a record, you know it’s a Jermaine Dupri joint. This year, the proud Atlanta native celebrates 25 years of So Def Recordings. Although the label was formally created in 1993, the former Whodini background break dancer already had a wealth of knowledge, artist development, and song production under his belt. He was already producing multi-platinum singles for Chris “Mac Daddy” Kelly and Chris “Daddy Mac” Smith, better known as Kriss Kross.
Since starting the label 25 years ago, JD has gone on to sign, write and produce hits for so many artists. He introduced the world to fellow Atlanta natives Xscape, Da Brat, Jagged Edge and so many more. He even gave the girls a new heartthrob to scream and fall out for when Bow Wow hit the scene, and he’s not taking his foot off of the music industry’s neck anytime soon.
Rightfully so, JD has celebrated this milestone So So Def anniversary all year. He was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame, developed the So So Def 25 playlist and threw a much-talked-about party with past and present So So Def artists during the BET Awards weekend in L.A.
But he’s ending the year off with the most significant celebration, the So So Def 25th Anniversary Cultural Curren$y tour featuring Xscape, Bow Wow, Da Brat and many more of our favorite artists from the '90s and 2000s. To prep you for that tour, here’s a look at 25 videos that define So So Def.
Whether JD made a cameo, dropped his signature line at the beginning or supplied a dope beat or verse, we will always associate these videos with So So Def. This list also solidifies JD’s place as one of, if not THE, remix king.
- Kriss Kross “Jump” – 1992
After a chance meeting at the age of 19 with the two Chris’ at a local Atlanta mall, Dupri went on to form the group we now know as Kriss Kross in 1991. That next year, the world wasn’t ready when the JD wrote and produced track “Jump” hit the airwaves and then the small screen. Outside of the song's catchiness, the young teenagers caught everyone’s attention by wearing their baggy clothes backward, in a move that would go on to be their trademark look. In January 2013, the late Chris Kelly told Hip Hop Media Training that it was a “collective idea” to wear their pants backward. According to the Mac Daddy, he continued wearing his pants backward for 21 years, until his death. That fashion statement introduced the world to Kriss Kross and this young producer named Jermaine Dupri.
- Xscape “Just Kickin’ It” – 1993
Kandi, Tiny, LaTocha, and Tamika were already making a name for themselves in the Atlanta area, but their career took off after being signed to Jermaine Dupri’s brand new label So So Def.
This song was Xscape’s first single from their debut album and had everyone bobbing their heads, singing along while also admiring their tight harmony. Dupri made sure their voices were the primary focus, as he encouraged them to wear baggy clothes for this video and all other videos and appearances for Hummin’ Comin’ at ‘Cha.
- Da Brat “Give It 2 You (Remix)” – 1995
Clearly, baggy clothes were a thing for So So Def artists in the early '90s. West Side of Chicago native Da Brat burst on the scene with her signature hairstyle and oversized clothing with her debut album Funkdafied in 1994. After the album went platinum, Da Brat became the first solo female rapper to earn such an honor. What better way to celebrate than with the third and final single from that debut album, “Give it 2 You.”
The video featured a house party like none other with cameos from MC Lyte, The Notorious B.I.G., Diddy, Mary J. Blige, T-Boz of TLC and so many more. This was the party to attend, even if it was just a video set.
- Mariah Carey feat. Da Brat & Xscape “Always Be My Baby (Remix)” – 1996
Longtime friends Mariah Carey and Jermaine Dupri penned a classic with this song. The remix gave us the same lyrics with that So So Def feel.
The video was no different with cameos, verses and vocals from Carey’s bestie Da Brat and Xscape. The black and white visuals and studio session were simplistic yet a welcome and refreshing change from the original video.
- Ghost Town DJ’s “My Boo” – 1996
Dance challenges are all the craze now. However, a few years ago, two student-athletes revamped this hit due to a remixed running man challenge. And just like magic, this classic hit was back on the charts again after 20 years.
Although the Ghost Town DJ’s proved to be a one-hit wonder, this track was a legit bop. Everyone wanted to throw on their bikinis and trunks to hit the pool party in the video. The So So Def elements sprinkled throughout the video were subtle yet made you pay attention to who was behind the song.
- MC Lyte feat. Xscape “Keep On Keepin’ On” – 1996
Sexy, sexy, sexy! This song was produced by Jermaine Dupri and featured on the Sunset Park soundtrack. Not only had Xscape broken out of their tomboy phase with the release of their second album a year earlier, but MC Lyte was also giving us grown woman Lyte.
They even carried the sexy from the video to a performance on Moesha. Talk about a throwback!
- Dru Hill feat. Jermaine Dupri & Da Brat “In My Bed (Remix)” – 1997
Who can forget this classic remix? JD starts out by declaring “You wanna dance? I’ma make you dance. You wanna move? I’ma make you move.” And that, he did. Dru Hill had already shocked us with the conclusion to the video for the original version of the song.
However, the So So Def remix did not disappoint in making us dance and taking the song to a new level. The clothes were classic '90s swag. The moves were what we loved about Dru Hill. And JD and Da Brat did what they always do!
- Usher “You Make Me Wanna…” – 1997
Usher was never officially a member of the So So Def roster, but you would never know it based on his musical chemistry and collaborations with Jermaine Dupri.
“You Make Me Wanna…” was one of those dope collaborations, and the video made us love the song even more. Usher made sure we all knew he was all grown up by showcasing his chiseled abs, toned arms and sensual moves.
Although Usher was the focal point in the video, JD made sure we got a glimpse of him having a good time in the background at the end….because why not?
- Monica “The First Night” – 1998
Jermaine Dupri was one of the writers for this second single from Monica’s second album The Boy is Mine. Although So So Def’s leader didn’t appear in the video, his presence was felt and heard. Outside of Monica’s strong vocals, you can also hear additional vocals from JD.
This Joseph Kahn directed music video gave us everything that we expected from a young '90s R&B singer’s video, cute clothes, a dance break and a storyline that matched the song. Monica made sure her love interest knew it wasn’t going down that night by ending the video the rolling of her eye and a simple rejection. Miss Thang at her best!
- Jermaine Dupri feat. Jay-Z “Money Ain’t A Thang” – 1998
Flashy, fast cars, big houses, and poolside with (natural bodied) models. This video was and still remains a hip-hop staple.
JD let his Atlanta roots shine through while Jay-Z came through repping Brooklyn to the fullest. And “The Real Housewives of Atlanta” star Kenya Moore will never let us forget that she was a lead video girl. Can’t say we blame her because this was a video worthy of bragging about, even if it is 20 years later.
- Lil’ Bow Wow feat. Xscape “Bounce with Me” – 2000
Although he’s all grown up now, Lil’ Bow Wow first made the young girls scream with this video.
Bow Wow was initially “discovered” by Snoop Dogg in 1993 and give his stage name. Then, in 1998, he met Jermaine, and the rest is history. Everyone loved this cute little rapper from Columbus, OH.
Bow Wow came through showed up and showed out for his official debut to the world. The song was featured on the Big Momma’s House soundtrack and included clips from the film.
The pint-sized rapper gave us many hair looks and outfit changes. He showed off his basketball and low-key dance moves. Besides JD naturally being on the song and throughout the video, their So So Def fam Da Brat and Jagged Edge also made a cameo chilling on a porch with the youngest addition to the roster.
- Jagged Edge feat. Rev. Run “Let’s Get Married (Remix)” – 2000
The original version of this hood marriage anthem was slow and more endearing, more so meant for the actual wedding ceremony.
Then this remix video dropped and turned the wedding into a lit reception featuring Rev. Run with an appearance from Carl Thomas as the groom. However, JD serves as the reception’s DJ set the party off just right.
- Jagged Edge feat. Jermaine Dupri, Da Brat, R.O.C., Lil’ Bow Wow and Tigah “Where the Party At (Remix)” – 2001
We knew the song and video would be dope when JD started off the song rapping and telling us to get to the dance floor.
Multiple members of the roster came through rocking their So So Def jerseys just having a good time, including Lil’ Bow Wow. He may not have been legally old enough to party with his So So Def family, but they sure did so on the video. It was a serious case of crew love.
Thanks to the hot rap verses and the dance vibe, we totally forgot that Jagged Edge’s verses were cut. The chorus was enough for us because we just needed to know “where the party at?”
- Jermaine Dupri feat. Ludacris “Welcome to Atlanta” – 2002
If Atlanta wasn’t already on someone’s list of places to visit, this video sure encouraged them to add this Dirty South city.
From downtown Atlanta to College Park, Decatur, S.W.A.T., and Buckhead, we felt like we were on the Atlanta sightseeing bus with JD and Luda enjoying the Atlanta sights. We learned what to do for every day of the week when in Atlanta and saw some of our favorite ATL natives and residents. The video featured our girl Monica, crunkmaster Lil’ Jon and the Ying Yang Twins, in addition to many more artists and entertainers.
This song and video was the precursor to a remix with other artists like Diddy putting on for their city, but nothing will ever compare to this original.
- Bone Crusher feat. Killer Mike and T.I. “Never Scared” – 2003
AttenCHUN!!!! When the beat dropped, we made sure to pay close attention while bobbing our head with a stank face.
In 2003, So So Def’s newest recruit Bone Crusher came through this video stomping (literally) with his ATL brethren Killer Mike and a young T.I. Bone Crusher’s larger than life personality and stature shined through from beginning to end.
- YoungBloodZ “Damn” – 2003
This video was ATL to the core, East Side to be exact. This gritty video featured the signature A-Town stomp we all knew and loved, our favorite yelling hype man Lil’ Jon and a cameo from the unofficial Mayor of Atlanta Jermaine Dupri.
Although the So So Def remix featuring Ludacris, Bone Crusher, JD and Lil’ Jon doesn’t have an official video, we can only imagine it would’ve been a little something like this one. ATL to the core!
- Usher “Burn” – 2004
The Jermaine Dupri/Usher hits continued with this iconic break-up song. JD’s writing and production skills, along with longtime collaborator, Bryan-Michael Cox came through loud and clear while Usher’s vocals poured heart and soul into this song.
The video gave us random fiery scenes because what else would one expect from a song named “Burn”?
- J-Kwon “Tipsy” – 2004
Although most of us were too young to be happily discussing getting tipsy, we still recited the chorus with heart while hitting the chicken head extra hard like the girls on this video.
J-Kwon let us know how they got down in the Lou on this hit that peaked at No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 100. Some forget that the St. Louis rapper was associated with So So Def, but the little dose of ATL with JD delivering a pizza on the video was a good reminder.
Diddy and JD may be neck and neck for coming through and making their presence known on their artists’ videos, and we love them for it.
- Usher “Confessions Part II” – 2004
Before this video even dropped, the song was already the talk of the town. We assumed that Usher had not only cheated on Chilli but also had a side baby. Juicy! However, little did we know this story was about JD, one of the song’s writers. Plot twist!
Since the buzz surrounding the song gave the album by the same name and this single more than enough promo, it was only right that the video was nice and straightforward. Usher, his abs, leading ladies and a black screen were the main elements. And just like that, it was a winner.
- Bow Wow feat. Ciara “Like You” – 2005
Jermaine’s prodigy Bow Wow let us know he wasn’t so little anymore and had a girlfriend now, ATL’s Princess of Crunk & B Ciara. They had us all losing our breath trying to make it through the song’s chorus. Talk about breath control!
The world was able to see them put their coupledom and height difference on full display in this whimsical video. Bow Wow even thought it was a good idea for his little bird chest should make an appearance. He may have been the little brother to everyone at So So Def before, but now he was a young man who grew up right before our eyes.
- Dem Franchize Boyz feat. Jermaine Dupri, Da Brat & Bow Wow “I Think They Like Me (So So Def Remix)” – 2005
The So So Def mascot opened this black and white remix video talking to JD. From there, we went right into full blow snap music mode. The So So Def family came through shining and put us in a young and fly mood. We were leaning, rocking and snapping along to the beat.
- Mariah Carey feat. Jermaine Dupri & Fatman Scoop “It’s Like That” – 2005
Directed by Brett Ratner, everyone’s favorite shady queen and lover of all things fab Mariah Carey came through and shut the party down on this Jermaine Dupri collab. What many may not know is this video was a two-part story to go along with her song “We Belong Together.”
Mariah entered her bachelorette party like a real boss while the party guests were on the dance floor living it up. This was a bachelorette party unlike any other. Where else will we see Fatman Scoop doing his best hype man duties live from a Blackjack Table except on a Mariah and JD video?
- Dem Franchize Boyz “Lean Wit It, Rock Wit It” – 2006
Leaning. Rocking. Snapping. Dem Franchize Boyz had the whole hood doing just that in real life and on the video. We saw just how easy it was to lean and rock with it from the block to the club. Group member Jizzal Man let us know on the last verse “This dance is fo' da killas da dillas da cutthroats. You already know the chillrin the grown folk!”
This song and subsequent video solidified So So Def’s boyz as the unofficial kings of snap music.
- Chingy feat. Tyrese “Pullin’ Me Back” – 2006
Jermaine gave us a bonafide hit from another St. Louis rapper with “Pullin’ Me Back.” The girls were swooning over Chingy’s good looks and country twang while Tyrese delivered his signature R&B vocals. Shout out to model and actress Yaya DaCosta who served as Chingy’s leading lady.
- Monica feat. Dem Franchize Boyz “Everytime Tha Beat Drop” – 2006
Miss Thang and the undisputed queen of Atlanta put her dance moves and city on display while serving looks. She and JD effortlessly infused snap music into her R&B roots as she rocked out with the fellas. Adding Dem Franchize Boyz gave us that Dirty South feel while we did our best to emulate their moves. I dare you to stay still while this song is on.