Jermaine Dupri Responds to Termination, Calls Label ‘Stagnant’
One week after the story broke of his firing, Jermaine Dupri is speaking out about his departure from Island Records. In a recent interview, the rapper/producer cleared up some of the rumors that have been swirling about his position as president of the label’s urban music division.
“It was a situation where it felt very stagnant to me,” he said. “As a person who is used to putting out new records and continuing to do that, it just wasn’t turning over as being that place to me where I should stick to it and see if it was going to turn around.”
Some have said that Dupri stopped working at the label after the low sales of longtime girlfriend Janet Jackson‘s ‘Discipline’ album but still held on to his executive title. However Dupri claims that his shelved projects were one of his main issues.
“Island [Def Jam Records] is going to say what makes them look good. They are not going to tell the truth,” said Dupri. “If you don’t put out my records, that’s all I have as a person. I give you a record and you don’t put it out, then basically you’re showing me that it’s really no business. I never got a chance to put the records out.” While in his position at the label Dupri was set to release projects from R&B songstress Dondria (who gained a following when unreleased songs hit the ‘net), as well as songwriter Johnta Austin and producer 9th Ward.
Dupri went on to cite his age and status in the music industry as a factor when it comes to those who may not respect his hard work. “My biggest problem is that I’m still the youngest president to have this kind of success. Music is my life. I’m a person who continues to carve out my own way. Instead of watching things happen, I make them happen.”
As for his relationship with Def Jam chairman Antonio “L.A.” the two haven’t spoken in three months. “If L.A. [Reid] gets fired at Def Jam (he’s 20 years older than me) where is he going to go? Many of the people at the label; if their bosses were to fire them today, they don’t have anything else to do. Their lives are over. I’m not that dude. Life [isn't] over for me.”
An Atlanta native, Dupri is one of the music industry’s biggest names. Though very well known for his own success, Dupri’s popularity sky-rocketed after hooking up with Jackson. Despite dozens of break-up rumors the two are still together and plan to one day have a family.