This weekend, Jermaine Dupri celebrated the 20th Anniversary of So-So Def Music, and his collaboration with other artist, such as Jay-Z, Monica and Mariah Carey. This occasion was a monumental milestone in music history as Dupri stated “this kind of show hasn’t been done since Motown 25 (www.blackenterprise.com).” Unequivocally, Jermaine Dupri can be considered as the Berry Gordy of today, “stating that he wants people to know that we’re doing a show that nobody else in the music industry can do. Not Bad Boy, not Death Row, not Cash Money not Def Jam” (www.allhiphop.com). Only Motown Records has been able to celebrate such a monumental occasion.
Berry Gordy blazed the path for Motown Records in 1959, writing hits for a plethora of artist such as Martha and the Vandellas, Smokey Robinson and the Miracles and the Temptations, The Jackson 5, Marvin Gay, Stevie Wonder and Diana Ross just to name a few, it has been stated that Berry Gordy, “produced as many hit songs in Detroit as the big three auto industries, Ford, GM and Chrysler produced automobiles.
Gordy’s musical dreams became a reality when he borrowed 800 dollars from his father to create Hitsville U.S.A, a house located on 2648 West Grand Boulevard in Detroit, MI, that was turned into a record company, that to this day is standing as a historical possession of America’s “model of black capitalism, pride and self-expression and a repository for some of the greatest talent ever assembling at once, (www.thehistorymakers.com).
In the beginning Berry Gordy was a boxer and auto plant worker, and a record store manager with a huge imagination to “reach across the racial divide with music that could touch all people, regardless of the color of their skin” (www.thehistorymakers.com). Motown was the only record operational company that gave “White America something they could not get enough of-joyous, sad, romantic, mad, groovin’,movin’ music, (www.time.com)”.
Thirty-four years later, a young producer that once danced for the music group Whodini turned “producer/record label owner, Dupri set out on an amazing task, Just as Berry Gordy once did to break racial barriers, Dupri’s goal was to prove that the South had just as much musical talent as Detroit, New York and California “he brought southern Hip-Hop to a worldwide audience 20 years before anyone realized that the future of rap music was in the south” ( www.allhiphop.com).
Dupri helped to bridge the Northern, Southern disconnect that once separated the two cultures, just as Berry Gordy’s Motown sound made Southern America migrate to the North in hopes of better opportunities and record deals, Dupri made Northern America migrate to the south by flooding radio stations with music that embraced Atlanta’s distinctive culture, opportunities and of course record deals.
One can perceive that Dupri has set out to blaze the same path that Gordy blazed for Motown he quotes, “Quincy Jones, That’s the person I look up to the most, “And then Berry Gordy from a record company owner’s standpoint. You put those two guys together and that’s what I’d want to be — those two guys meshed together (www.blackenterprise.com)”.
The So-So Def 20th Anniversary celebration took place on Saturday, February 23 at the Fox in Atlatna, Ga. and brought out big celebrity acts such as Jay-Z, Ludacris, T-Pain, Monica, Usher, Mariah Carey, Anthony Hamilton, Nelly and Jagged Edge, Kris Kross, Bow Wow, Da Brat and Escape. Jermaine Dupri has even record album’s for Destiny’s Child, and Lil Wayne. Dupri paid homage to the Motown roots, by playing Motown hits, during the intermission of the concert.
The impact of the So-So Def Anniversary Concert, has a rather interesting psychology behind the motivation and the imagination that you have to break in not only the music industry but also in life that coincidentally also connect the achievements of Berry Gordy and Jermaine Dupri that have also allowed the musical torch to be passed from Detroit to Atlanta.
This psychology is known as “standing on the shoulders of giants” “the more that you learn from people that are more knowledgeable than you are, the less fear and doubt will be able to prevent you from growing into a giant of your own, (www.psychologytoday.com).
Jermaine whom is not very large in stature, understands the success that comes from standing on the shoulders of giants, and he humbly recognizes that he is now a giant himself in the music industry, Dupri states if you elevate yourself and get to a certain standing in life, you are that person until someone breaks that barrier, I’m chasing after those producers that came before me and I still haven’t caught them. That’s how I play the game…(www.allhiphop.com). ”