ESSENCE.com caught up with Jermaine Dupri to find out the truth about his abrupt departure from Island Def Jam records, his relationship with L.A. Reid and support from Janet Jackson. The Über-producer sets the record straight on his recent exit from Island Def jam Records as president of urban music. Here's what JD had to say about Why he left the label and the biggest problem with it:
It was a situation where it felt very stagnant to me. 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. It wasn't giving me the open door that I thought it was going to. 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. This is the reason I'm speaking out; not because I'm bitter, but because I owe it to my fans that see me every day on the Internet. I wanted to let them know because they've left a lot of comments on my YouTube saying, "JD, you talk about everything else; why aren't you talking about this [label] situation?"
I haven't spoken to L.A. [Reid] 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. It goes back to their having the attitude of let's try and do something that's going to hurt this person, because if it hurts us we have nowhere to go after this, but he does and has at least another 20 more years in this business. Again, if L.A. [Reid] gets fired, there will be at least another ten people who will also get fired and we'll never see them again. Def Jam is like one big clique.
I don't know. I saw a side of him that I had never seen before and that to me was a jealous side. I don't know if I should be around people who are jealous of me. Mariah Carey sold more records in that entire Def Jam building and all of that was through my singles; so I'm looking like the golden boy. I only started thinking about it after I left.
We don't get down like that. She's Janet Jackson without Jermaine Dupri and vice versa. That's how we met doing our own thing. I talk to her about some things but it is what it is. I have to stay in my own lane—that's where Bobby Brown messed up.