Jermaine Dupri wants us to give credit where credit is due. On the 25th anniversary of So So Def, Dupri spoke with Rolling Stone about his label’s staple sound and his apparent invention of our beloved trap R&B sub-genre.
“I posted something the other day about the Monica record ‘Everytime tha Beat Drop’ with Dem Franchize Boyz,” Dupri began. “None of her records — like ‘Angel of Mine’ and ‘The Boy is Mine’ and all of these songs was in the pattern of this old R&B, what people thought R&B was, but Monica was an artist to me that was dripping with the sauce of Atlanta. And everything she did was hood, shit, go in the hood-club and partying and loving this hood type of music. So I took this chance to try to make her a record that felt like where she would go partying, felt like the things that she actually loved, right?
“And this happened in 2006. I posted two days ago, I asked a question: Who else from Atlanta was making R&B music like this? The sounds of that R&B that you hear now, I mean people don’t give me credit for it, but I was ahead of the curve. I won’t say I created it, but I guess I should, because I did."
Pressed to say whether he was the catalyst behind the modern fusion of rap and R&B that we commonly hear today, Dupri doubled down:
"In terms of fusing R&B with that trap type of mentality we found. What you hear from like, the Weekend and 6lack and PartyNextDoor, those type of records weren’t being created when I created Xscape, when I did the Monica record in 2006. Even in 2006, nobody was making R&B records like that.”
While the party-ready club knock of Monica's "Everytime tha Beat Drop" might sound like a far cry from the moody, alternative sounds with which The Weeknd and 6LACK rose to prominence, Jermaine Dupri is right in that contemporary R&B is heavily influenced by hip-hop and trap music.
Next time you hear Bryson Tiller's "Don't," just remember that Jermaine Dupri expects his credit. Remember, he won't say he created it, but he should, because he did.
Jokes aside, though, we cannot deny Dupri's influence on hip-hop culture. Are he and Monica a part of R&B-rap history? Absolutely. Is he missing a few crucial threads—Drake, for one—to complete his narrative? Also, yes.
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