Jermaine Dupri set the internet ablaze in July 2019 after an interview with People Magazine went viral. During the conversation, he answered a question about mainstream female rappers and essentially compared artists such as Cardi B and Nicki Minaj to “strippers rapping.”
“They all rapping about the same thing,” he said. “I don’t think they’re showing us who’s the best rapper. For me, it’s like strippers rapping. As far as rap goes, I’m not getting ‘who is the best rapper.’ I’m getting, like, ‘Oh OK, you got a story about you dancing in the club, YOU got a story about you dancing in the club, you got a story…OK. Who’s gonna be the rapper?”
But during a recent interview with HipHopDX, the So So Def mastermind made it clear his comments were misunderstood and used a quote from Cardi B to illustrate his point.
“I still feel like people misconstrued what was said and what was asked to me,” he tells DX. “The rappers that are trying to push lyrical content — I think people are missing that part of the conversation and understanding that if that’s what you’re looking for, that’s not what you’re hearing. If that’s what you’re looking for then …
“Cardi B said it best — ‘the fans don’t seem to want to hear this.’ It’s not about the industry. The fans, the people. Just like with Cardi B’s record [‘WAP’] going No. 1, the fans put that shit at No. 1, the people. The industry don’t have nothing to do with that. The fans put it at No. 1. So she said it best.
“If the fans want to hear females rap, they’ll make it that way. They’ll make that happen. But as for right now, that’s not what they want. That’s not what they want to hear. They want to hear what they’re hearing. So it is what it is.”
And what it is are songs such as Cardi and Megan Thee Stallion’s “WAP,” which are breaking streaming records and owning the Billboard Hot 100 chart. Dupri stresses it’s up to the consumers to change the mainstream rap landscape.
“Y’all not being loud enough if that’s not what you y’all want to hear,” he adds. “I saw many conversations about that Cardi record. I saw a lot of people saying if you don’t like the song then you don’t like rap music, because we dealt with the 2 Live Crew and we did this or we did that.
“Like I said, Cardi B said it the best. She said she put out a record that the fans didn’t really react to. And she put out this record and look what happened — it went gold and it was No. 1 as soon as it went out. So, I totally agree with what she’s saying. It’s on the fans. If the fans want to hear different rap, they will definitely say it and they’ll make it where the artists have to make that type of music. But for right now, they want to hear what they hear, and they have spoken.”
Dupri recently took on the role of Creative Director at The Beet, an online publication dedicated to plant-based living. Read more about it in Part I of the DX interview here and find Part II here.