Dupri to head Island Records

Producer-performer new president of label

Jermaine Dupri, the producer-songwriter-performer who ran Virgin’s short-lived urban music department, has been appointed president of the newly created Island Records Urban Music.

Dupri will oversee Island’s entire urban music operation, produce artists on the IDJ roster and provide production services to all artists on Universal Music Group labels.

He will report directly to Antonio “L.A.” Reid, chairman of the Island Def Jam Music Group, and to Steve Bartels, president of Island Records and chief operating officer of Island Def Jam Music Group, on operational matters. Dupri will be based in Atlanta and New York.

Dupri’s last run as a label executive ended in October after 22 months as president of Urban Music at Virgin Records. He ankled that job after Janet Jackson’s “20 Y.O.” opened to tepid sales. Jackson is Dupri’s girlfriend.

Upon his departure, there was a plan for Dupri to head a label within the Virgin fold, but that plan was scuttled during the EMI management shakeup. Prior to Virgin, he held a post at Arista.

Dupri’s credits as a producer date back to 1992 when, at the age of 19, he produced Kris Kross’ “Jump.” He has produced many tracks for Usher and hits for Mariah Carey, Jay-Z, Whitney Houston, Alicia Keys and others. Dupri and Reid worked together at Arista on Usher projects and at Island Def Jam on Carey’s comeback disc, “The Emancipation of Mimi.”

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