Jermaine Dupri New Frank Sinatra? Producer Talks ‘Ocean’s 7′ Supergroup
Fresh off his former job at Island Def Jam Records super-producer Jermaine hasn’t missed a beat. The Atlanta native recently hooked up with his friends Usher, Nelly, and Trey Songz to form the hip-hop/r&b supergroup Ocean’s 7. Alongside singer/songwriter Johnta Austin, Brian Michael Cox, and Dupri’s assistant Tyrone Davis, the group is looking to break a fresh mixture of music that the industry is lacking.
“[The] idea came from me,” Dupri told The BoomBox. “As far as the name of the group it was something that we just accidentally [started] doing by hanging out and working together. We were all in [Las] Vegas working on the Usher album and we just started going out, dressed up. We started noticing that restaurants [were] treating us differently. We were already people that they knew but [they were] treating us differently because we were dressed up.”
It didn’t hurt that women started to take notice. “Ladies started coming up more…. it just was a different type of atmosphere with the suits on and we kept doing it. One day we [were] doing the vlog and I said, ‘we should be called the Oceans.’ We never had a number, it was the Ocean’s five [in] the beginning.”We never said we were [going to] make music until we came [back] to Atlanta. I’m more on the executive record side [so] I looked at the marketing of it and I’m like ‘wow this really looks like something! We need a soundtrack, we need our own music.’ I just said let’s make a mixtape because I know that is something that’s getting really popular. Mixtapes to me seem a little more exciting than albums right now.”
Using Dupri’s Global 14 website, Ocean’s 7 released their entire mixtape for free download (which initially didn’t sit well with the other group members). The group also only record songs with whoever is in the studio each night, as opposed to setting up a recording schedule. “We made one song, one song turned into the next song. Whoever showed up in the studio was who got on the songs. A lot of people [are] saying ‘why isn’t this person on this song,’ or ‘why isn’t that person on that song,’ you know? Usher’s not on the mixtape because he started going through his divorce at that point in time so we let him do what he had to do.”
Of the original members Dupri sees himself being the most like Sinatra but also wants to tap into his “Sammie Davis Jr.” side by testing his singing abilities, a talent that he says the public doesn’t know about.
Complete with three piece suits, and bowties reminiscent of Sinatra and the original Ocean’s 11 members, Dupri and his crew are prepping a tour, a feature film and an accompanying soundtrack. “We plan on doing a movie called ‘I’m a Hustler Baby,’ which is a movie we that shows us basically re-doing the Ocean’s 11 movie mixed with the Bill Cosby Sydney Portier [film] ‘Let’s Do It Again.’
“Right now [we want] to make sure that everybody around the world knows exactly what this is. It’s never been a group this powerful to come together so we want to make sure that we don’t miss [any]body, we want to make sure that everybody knows about this.”