One of the most successful producers and songwriters in the music business pens a by-the-numbers memoir.
Dupri launched his career by discovering rap duo Kriss Kross, who went on to sell four-million copies of their debut album. He has since worked with such artists as Xscape, Da Brat, TLC, Mariah Carey, Lil Jon, Lil’ Bow Wow, Usher and Janet Jackson (now his girlfriend). He became interested in music at a young age, he writes, after his musician father gave him a drum set; he could pound out beats before he could speak. Dupri began a popular mixtape enterprise in 1986, started an independent label a year later, discovered Kriss Kross at a shopping center a year after that and used the success of their first album to sign a $10 million deal with Columbia—while still in his teens. It’s an impressive success story but not a particularly compelling read. Dupri describes a few arguments with collaborative or competing artists, some difficulties he had with various record labels and a raid by the IRS over money the government said it was owed. None of these episodes are very dramatic—even the IRS raid was resolved by Dupri handing over a check for $2.5 million. It’s commendable that he’s no gangsta, unlike so many hip-hop celebrities, but the man he does reveal just isn’t that interesting. Dupri goes to great pains to describe how wealthy he is, dropping names of designers, labels and car manufacturers, enumerating the houses he has purchased and the jewelry he wears. His memoir reads more like a (very expensive) grocery list than a meaningful account of his life.
Young and rich, for sure. Dangerous? Hardly.