Jermaine Dupri and Mariah Carey are both legendary in their own right in the music and entertainment industry. They first worked together on her 1996 hit single “Always Be My Baby”, and would continue to collaborate on all of her future albums. Songs like “It’s Like That” and “We Belong Together” would take over the charts for weeks and the pair’s chemistry seemed undisputed.
Prior to the release of Carey’s 2014 album Me. I Am Mariah… The Elusive Chanteuse, their relationship graduated from producer-artist to manager-artist when Mariah hired Dupri to take the reins of her career. “A multi-talented artist of Mariah’s caliber should be doing everything imaginable,” said the super-producer in a statement. “I’m sure others have said this but not the way I intend to do it. For me, it’s about the execution.” Mariah shared excitement for their partnership due to the potential of the innovative ideas they would potentially bring to fruition, thanks to their “bond that surpasses music”.
The two would shortly make the decision to part ways, however, a year later after the albums lackluster sales. “I’m a very hands-on person when it comes to my work,” said Dupri to Billboard in a statement. “I put my all into every project. But when I’m not allowed to do what I do, then I know it’s time for me to move on. Mariah and I enjoy working together and will continue to make great music together in the future.”
While Mariah has had moments where she was praised within the media, there were also times that she received immense negative press, as comes with the territory for many artists of her caliber. Such was the case during The Elusive Chanteuse era, and in an interview with Hip Hollywood, Dupri shared his reasons as to why he feels Carey had become the target for negative press from the media.
“From both sides I think it’s like you in the business you have to pay attention to everything,” explained her frequent collaborator. “There’s some artists out there that aren’t as serious as they are supposed to be and I think sometimes Mariah doesn’t take it as seriously as she should and that’s where the criticism comes from.”
After sharing his beliefs that he feels she may not be as passionate as she once was, he admits that the media can be a bit harsh on the legendary artist. “People expect you to put it at a level that they’re not even supposed to be able to touch and sometimes when you don’t do it, that’s where the criticism comes from,” he stated. “Sometimes I think the media is a little too hard on Mariah, but at the same time I think sometimes she has to pay attention to that and say ‘I’m going to be one hundred times more serious than I feel like being right now.’”
He added, “When you been in it [the music industry] this long, yeah, you wake up some mornings you don’t feel like putting your all into something and you feel like just because you got a name people are going to go with the flow. But the way the world is now, people got something to say about everything. You just have to be on your p’s and q’s at all times.”
Although they severed that portion of their relationship, they continued to work together. On her 2018 album Caution, Dupri shares production credit on two songs, as well as her latest single “Save The Day” which features Ms. Lauryn Hill that appears on the album The Rarities.