Late last week, Jermaine Dupri left Island Def Jam as the head of urban music after a public fight with L.A. Reid over how the company should be run, and after Dupri had all but disappeared from the offices for three months. Essence.com caught up with Dupri for an engagin interview about the split. Here’s a sampling:
Matter of fact, I never see these people out anywhere because they are still living off the old times. When you have a 10- to 20-year gap, that’s a big difference, and that’s a lot of what I’m dealing with. Bow Wow is 21 years old, which means he’s 30 years younger than a lot of the chairmen of these labels.
I wasn’t calling L.A. because I wasn’t jockin’ for the position. My nickname is Anakin Sky Walker because I always felt like I was the next person to be one of the front-runners in the business. Then I saw "Star Wars" and saw exactly what had turned Dark Vader into who he is. He became who he is because they were supposed to turn him into a powerful Jedi, but they told him it wasn’t time yet. I think that’s what L.A. did with me. He showed me that I was only playing a role because [he didn’t believe] it was time for me to be a Jedi. I was working in a place where they didn’t want to give that role to a younger person.
I haven’t spoken to L.A. [Reid] in three months. I don’t know if it’s amicable [considering] that they claim they put me out. I feel like it’s not amicable. Don’t lie, be real about the situation. It goes back to their having the attitude of let’s try and do something that’s going to hurt this person, because if it hurts us we have nowhere to go after this, but he does and has at least another 20 more years in this business. Again, if L.A. [Reid] gets fired, there will be at least another ten people who will also get fired and we’ll never see them again. Def Jam is like one big clique.