Two decades ago, Jermaine Dupri debuted So So Def Recordings and first exposed the country to Xscape, the female R&B group who quickly ascended the charts with “Just Kickin’ It” and “Understanding.”
Who would have ever thought that one of its members – Kandi Burruss – would one day be infamous not so much for her legitimate music talents, but for starring in a top-rated reality show?
Now, 20 years later, Burruss is a household name, while thousands of music fans still groove to the sounds of So So Def’s laundry list of artists – Da Brat, Jagged Edge, Bow Wow, Bonecrusher, Anthony Hamilton, J-Kwon, Dem Franchise Boyz and more.
Part of the crew was on hand Tuesday afternoon at Atlanta City Hall for the announcement of an “All-Star Anniversary Concert” to celebrate the label’s 20th anniversary. The show will take place at 8 p.m. Feb. 23 at the Fox Theatre and, according to Dupri, include performances from the entire roster of So So Def artists.
Tickets are on sale Jan. 19 through FoxATLtix.com or 1-855-ATL-TIXX. Tickets prices are TBA.
A 20-song “Best of So So Def” compilation CD is also in the works for a June release.
Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed took the podium first to recognize Dupri and fellow record mogul L.A. Reid for “birthing what Atlanta has become in music and entertainment” and encouraged fans to come to the show to “celebrate the So So family” next month.
Reed then jokingly introduced Dupri as “the mayor of Atlanta.”
In shades and a flannel shirt, Dupri called out the members of Kriss Kross, Chris Kelly and Chris Smith, to acknowledge the start of his career (an 18-year-old Dupri discovered the “Jump” duo in a shopping mall, as the story goes) and also thanked his father, former Columbia Records president Michael Mauldin (also in attendance), for “helping us put this whole situation together,” presumably referring to the record label, which was established as a joint venture with Sony Music and Columbia.
While the show will be held on Feb. 23, Dupri plans to celebrate the label’s anniversary all weekend.
“It’s only right we take over the city. You only get one time to do this,” he said, adding that he’ll host a VIP party for the label roster on Feb. 21 and an “incredible party” on Feb. 22.
“This concert means the world to me,” Dupri said. “I don’t feel any other label has every artist still alive and still kicking…It’s not just Atlanta history, but music history.”
After the press conference, Dupri chatted for a few minutes about the state of the Atlanta music industry, saying he didn’t think it was quite as creative as it once was, but “it’s got legs to go in that direction.”
“Now people come to Atlanta with a different mentality,” Dupri said. “In the ‘90s, kids thought it was a dream, but now they come here almost expecting success. But we’re still the frontrunners. 2Chainz, Future, Jeezy, Luda, T.I., all of those guys…I travel all around the world and what I see are people who still look at Atlanta as [being at] the forefront of music.”
By Melissa Ruggieri, Atlanta Music Scene