Legendary producer Jermaine Dupri has expressed concern over the current state of hip-hop, arguing that it “needs reviving.” Dupri, who was speaking during an interview with VIBE, was responding to a question regarding his recent foray into R&B.
Having worked on such hits as Jay Z’s ‘Money Ain’t a Thang’ and ‘Nice and Slow’ by Usher, Dupri knows a thing or two about what makes an enduring hip-hop record. “I feel like hip-hop is definitely hurting and needs reviving,” he told VIBE. “I have to go ahead and say this: For the last 20 years, Atlanta’s always had at least five to six top rappers at one time. Right now, Atlanta’s dropped down to two top artists: Lil Baby and Future.”
The rapper and producer continued: “There’s a lot of talent in the city still. I don’t want anybody to screw what I’m saying, but that top tier where you have Ludacris, Jeezy, 2 Chainz, Migos, Future, Lil Baby – I mean, at one point, all of this was Atlanta. This was where all the top-tier rap artists came from.”
He went on to clarify: “I’m not talking about artists that just make records, but No. 1 songs. Artists that people feel like define the game. Rap to me became a little stale, but I’ve never stopped making rap records. As a producer, people continue to want me to produce R&B records.”
This isn’t the first time JD has expressed anxiety about the state of Black music. In a video clip shared by the producer following Chris Brown’s controversial Michael Jackson tribute at the American Music Awards, he said: “If the American Music Awards cancelled the Chris Brown performance,” then that means they cancelled the 40th anniversary of Thriller. Which means they cancelled the Michael Jackson tribute. Black Music, we in trouble.”
“Remember I told you,” he wrote in the caption. However, it’s not all doom and gloom. JD is still looking ahead to a potential collaboration with Drake. During that same interview with VIBE, he said: “I feel like Drake has yet to make the R&B record that he actually wants to make. I think he makes amazing music. If I had an opportunity to collaborate with him, I do believe that we could offer Drake something that he hasn’t stepped into that might make him do something that we haven’t seen as well.”