Days after it was announced that Jermaine Dupri was fired from his position at Island Records, the Atlanta producer/music exec has spoke to Essence magazine to tell his side of the story.
JD, who served as the president of urban music at the label for the last two years, said he just wasn’t happy there anymore. “It was a situation where it felt very stagnant to me,” he told Essence. “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.”
Known for heading his own So So Def record company and crafting hit records for Jay-Z, Da Brat, Bow Wow and Mariah Carey, among others, the industry vet revealed that he was very disappointed with the way business was handled at Island Def Jam. “It wasn’t giving me the open door that I thought it was going to,” he continued. “It wasn’t aggressive enough and it was a big letdown for me. I thought I was going to a place that understood the times we were in as a music business and how aggressive we needed to be with putting out new projects and records.”
Hired by Def Jam chairman L.A. Reid, who created the unique Island Records position for him, it seems as if the two are no longer on speaking terms. “I haven’t spoken to L.A. in three months. I don’t know if it’s amicable [considering] that they claim they put me out. I feel like it’s not amicable. Don’t lie, be real about the situation.”
JD says the reason he no longer works for the label has nothing to do with Janet Jackson or Jagged Edge’s poor sales figures as many have been lead to believe. “Island [Def Jam Records] is going to say what makes them look good,” he explained. “They are not going to tell the truth and say, ‘He just stopped dealing with us on a daily basis.’“
As far as Dupri’s situation with TAG Records, a label he launched in conjunction with IDJ and Proctor and Gamble, the deal is still up in the air: “I don’t know what’s going to happen and that’s the saddest part in dealing with these situations.” - Elan Mancini