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Jermaine Dupri says it feels “amazing” to be the youngest inductee into the Songwriters Hall of Fame


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At a gala event Thursday night in New York City, Jermaine Dupri, 45, became the youngest member of the Songwriters Hall of Fame, and he says he’s humbled by the honor.

“That feels amazing,” he tells Billboard. “It really echoes my career and how I started my career. I was the youngest producer to have a #1 record when Kris Kross first came out, and that was a record I held for I don’t know how long.” 

The So So Def CEO is also the second hip-hop artist to be inducted after JAY-Z, who became a member of the Songwriters Hall of Fame last year.

Kool & the Gang was also inducted into the Hall of Fame last night, and Dupri says he has an unusual connection to the Grammy Award-winning group from Jersey City, New Jersey.

As he tells Billboard, when Dupri was 16, he wanted to attend the Jack the Rapper urban music industry convention in Atlanta, his hometown. Dupri wasn’t registered for the event, but was able to attend after meeting a member of the Kool & the Gang family.

“I told him my story, that I was a producer, and we started talking and kicking it and he asked, ‘You got a badge?’ He had a badge on, and I said, ‘Can you take me in and let me hang out with you?’ He was like, ‘Yeah, come on.’”

“Long story short,” Dupri continues, “It was Kool’s son, Hakeem Bell, who took me into Jack the Rapper. He and I became friends that day and we’ve been friends ever since.” 

In addition to his Songwriters Hall of Fame honor, Dupri’s also celebrating the 25th anniversary of his So So Def Recordings, and he will perform on the label anniversary tour that kicks off in October.

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