He's one of the most successful hip-hop performers, songwriters, musicians and producers in the world—and now he's giving fans a look at how he got to the top in his new book, Young, Rich, and Dangerous: The Making of a Music Mogul. Gayle talks with Jermaine Dupri about his book as well as his longtime relationship with singer/actress Janet Jackson.
As Jermaine's book title suggests, the hip-hop artist earned his fortune at a young age. He got his first big break in the music business when he discovered the rap duo Kriss Kross at a mall in Atlanta. Jermaine went on to produce a number of hits for artists including Mariah Carey, Usher, Lil Jon, TLC, Jay-Z and Ludacris.
Jermaine has also been the hit-maker behind girlfriend Janet Jackson, with whom he says he shares a special connection. Having both grown up in the music industry, Jermaine says he and Janet have experienced similar highs and lows, which helps them relate. "A lot of the stuff that we have to go through that's troublesome—it's all the same troubles," he says.
What may not be so clear to readers is the "dangerous" aspect of his career. Jermaine explains that with fame and fortune come certain responsibilities. For instance, family members and friends often depended on him financially. He says he also took certain risks without fully understanding the consequences, such as spending huge sums of money and driving fast cars. "You can't have the good without having the bad," he says.
While Jermaine says he was often regarded as a threat by older executives in the business, he's also had many mentors and role models that have helped guide him in his career, including legendary producer Quincy Jones. Though successful in his own right, Jermaine says he won't be content until his accomplishments match those of his successors. "I'm going to keep pushing myself and I have those dudes in front of me," he says.