Jermaine Dupri Mauldin was born on September 23, 1972, son of Tina (Mosley) and Michael Mauldin, a Columbia Records executive. Dupri's promising musical career began before he was even ten years old. His father, also an Atlanta talent manager, had coordinated a Diana Ross show in 1982; to the delight of concert-goers, Dupri managed to get on-stage and dance along with Ross. Dupri got his start as a dancer for the hip hop group Whodini when he was twelve. He made an appearance in their music video for the song "Freaks Come Out At Night". He began performing around the country, appearing with Herbie Hancock and Cameo before he opened the New York Fresh Festival, with Run-D.M.C., Whodini, and Grandmaster Flash.
In 1990, he produced his first act- the female hip hop trio Silk Tymes Leather. He later formed the teen duo Kris Kross (Chris Kelly and Chris Smith) after meeting the boys at a local mall in 1991. The group's first album, Totally Krossed Out, was released in 1992 and went multi-platinum due to their singles "Jump" and "Warm It Up". He established his own record label called So So Def Recordings in 1993. Shortly after, he discovered female R&B group Xscape at a festival in Atlanta and signed them to the label. Their first album, Hummin' Comin' at 'Cha, went platinum. During the same year, on Yo! MTV Raps he met Da Brat through Kris Kross, signed her to his label So So Def Recordings, and released her debut Funkdafied (1994) which went platinum. So So Def Recordings entered into a distribution partnership with Columbia Records in 1993. In 1995, he collaborated with Mariah Carey for the first time on the number one hit single "Always Be My Baby." He contributed to Lil' Kim's 1996 album, Hard Core on the track "Not Tonight".
In 1997 Jermaine Dupri co-wrote and produced several tracks on Usher's second album, My Way. The lead single, "You Make Me Wanna", reached number-one on the Rhythmic Top 40 and Hot R&B/Hip-Hop chart. The follow up single "Nice & Slow" went to number-one on the Billboard 100 and Hot R&B/Hip-Hop chart, and the last single, "My Way" peaked at number-two on Billboard 100. All three singles have been certified Platinum by Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA).
In 1998, Jermaine Dupri was involved in the release of Destiny's Child's eponymous debut album. Dupri renewed the focus on his own music career and released The Party Continues, the lead single from his debut studio album Jermaine Dupri Presents Life In 1472: The Original Soundtrack. Also that year he met Lil Bow Wow and signed him to So So Def Recordings. The two would later part ways but continued to collaborate on later projects. The deal with Columbia was terminated in 2002 and in 2003 Dupri switched to Arista Records. Jermaine worked on Mariah Carey's Christmas album, Merry Christmas II You, as well as with Weezer and Lil Wayne on the song "Can't Stop Partying." He also collaborated with DJ Chuckie to make a vocal version of the song "Let The Bass Kick".
In 2004 Dupri connected again with Usher contributing to Confessions co-writing and co-producing three consecutive singles Billboard Hot 100 number one songs "Burn", "Confessions Part II", and "My Boo". Confessions won Best Contemporary R&B Album and Best R&B Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals. Confessions has been certified diamond by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) and, as of 2012, has sold 10 million copies in the US and over 20 million copies worldwide.
Dupri in 2005 worked with Mariah Carey on her The Emancipation Of Mimi with the smash hit "We Belong Together". It stayed at number one for fourteen non-consecutive weeks, becoming the second longest running number one song in US chart history, behind Carey's 1996 collaboration with Boyz II Men on "One Sweet Day". We Belong Together" won Grammy's for Best Female R&B Vocal Performance and Best R&B Song. The same year he worked on Wanted with Bow Wow, he co-produced and co-wrote "Let Me Hold You". In 2006, record producer Jermaine Dupri signed Dem Franchize Boyz to his label So So Def after transferring it from Arista Records to Virgin Records. The following year the group released On Top of Our Game which topped the US Top Rap Albums with the hit songs "I Think They Like Me" and "Lean wit It, Rock wit it".
In October 2007, he published his memoir, "Young, Rich and Dangerous: The Making of a Music Mogul" (Atria Books). In November 2007 co-prouduced and co-wrote with No I.D. this time on Jay-Z's tenth studio album American Gangster. The two contributed to the songs "Success" and "Fallin".
On October 7, 2013, he replaced Randy Jackson as Carey's talent manager. He later parted ways with Carey in August 2014, though they still maintain a professional relationship, as he was a producer on her album.
In 2015, Dupri and Queen Latifah created a reality television series, The Rap Game. The eight-episode series premiered on Lifetime on New Year's Day, 2016. It followed five emerging artists, ages 11–16, who were immersed in the Atlanta hip-hop scene in a quest to become a rap star. Dupri was joined by guests including Usher, Ludacris, Da Brat, T.I. and Silentó; they gave the competitors advice on what it takes to be in the industry.Life in 1472 (1998)