Jermaine Dupri and So So Def marked a significant milestone, celebrating the label’s 30th anniversary with an unforgettable medley of their greatest hits at the 2023 BET Hip-Hop Awards. So So Def, founded in 1993, emerged as one of the most prominent record labels of its era, not just in the south. Initially propelled by Dupri’s success with the multi-platinum rap duo Kris Kross, the label went on to produce legendary acts such as Xscape, Jagged Edge, Bow Wow, and the first female soloist in rap to achieve Platinum status, Da Brat. Continuing its legacy into the 2000s, So So Def expanded its roster to include artists like the soulful crooner Anthony Hamilton and Atlanta-based rap groups like Bone Crusher, YoungBloodz, Dem Franchise Boyz, and many more.
The performance began with Jermaine Dupri paying tribute to Kris Kross and their 1992 hit “Jump.” Wearing a backwards Atlanta Braves jersey as a nod to the iconic duo, Dupri took the audience on a nostalgic journey back to the birth of the So So Def era. He shared, “Back in 1991, I was sitting in my room, and I wrote this song,” before performing the opening verse and chorus. Ludacris then joined Dupri on stage for their 2002 anthem, “Welcome 2 Atlanta,” both donning Atlanta sports jerseys that electrified the audience. last year when Jermaine Dupri sat down with complex, he revealed that he was the youngest producer at that time to have a number one record and even was listed in the Guinness World Records.
The set continued with Lil Jon taking the stage and thrilling the crowd with YoungBloodz’s 2003 track, “Damn!” followed by his own hit, “Snap Yo Fingers.” Bone Crusher brought his thunderous party starter, “Neva Scared,” to the performance, and Nelly made a surprise appearance, teaming up with JD for their 2005 chart-topping hit, “Grillz.”
Throughout the performance, dancers dressed in Atlanta Braves jerseys and So So Def shirts added to the festive atmosphere as Dupri and his collaborators delved into their treasure trove of anthems. Dupri himself performed his breakout hit, “Money Ain’t a Thang,” and the mood shifted to a more intimate setting when Tyrese and Chingy joined him for “Pullin Me Back.” Dupri, 50 years old, proudly declared, “I write the songs that the whole world sings,” highlighting his extensive catalog and enduring career and how the songs he wrote still make us move to this day. The So So Def reunion wouldn’t be complete without the presence of Bow Wow and Da Brat, both of whom joined Dupri and Dem Franchize Boyz for a spirited rendition of the “I Think They Like Me” remix, concluding the performance on a joyous and nostalgic note. Babyface once told Jermaine Dupri that in order to make history, he would have to make magic in the studio consistently after the success of Kris Kross, needless to say 30 years later we are still dancing and celebrating all of So So Def’s hit records.
“Jermaine Dupri Celebrates 30 years of so so def with star-studded Medley at 2023 BET Hip Hop Awards”. www.billboard.com. October 10, 2023. October 11, 2023.
“Hip Hop Awards 2023: so so Def’s 30th Anniversary Performance Was a Trip Down Memory Lane”. www.bet.com. October 10, 2023. October 11, 2023.