Jermaine Durpri is a Songwriters Hall of Famer and We Have the Playlist to Prove It

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Inductee Jermaine Dupri at the Songwriters Hall of Fame 49th Annual Induction and Awards Dinner on June 14, 2018 in New York City. (Gary Gershoff/Getty Images)

Jermaine Dupri is a hip-hop and R&B hitmaker. His songs have sold millions of copies, topped music charts throughout the 1990s and early 2000s and helped launch the careers of Kriss Kross, Usher, Mariah Carey and many others. Now, the 30-year music veteran has been inducted into The Songwriters Hall of Fame. Dupri is only the second hip-hop artist to be so honored. (Jay-Z was inducted last year.) "To be mentioned in the same breath as people I admire means everything to me," Dupri says, citing Motown Records founder Berry Gordy Jr. as source of inspiration.

According to Dupri, the key to writing a hit song is to focus on the hook as the driving force. That's what he did when penning his first big record, Kriss Kross's 1992 breakout single "Jump." Dupri says he wrote the song in 30 minutes.

"It's a thing that happens where you start writing a song, it's a burning feeling that you have to finish it. Once I had the first verse, you don't want to hear the song incomplete," he explains. "I've written other songs just as fast, but that was the first time I had that feeling."

For Dupri, this Hall of Fame honor is special because it highlights a talent he feels he doesn't get enough credit for. He remembers being at a pool in Mexico and watching a pool full of people sing Usher's "You Make Me Wanna..." never realizing he wrote it.


"Some people see Jermaine Dupri as a producer and they don't really know what the songwriting skills are," he says. "That's why I'm so proud about this induction because it makes you pay attention to me writing songs and sitting down and thinking of these stories that people fall in love with."

In honor of his induction, enjoy a NPR Music playlist of Jermaine Dupri's hits from the '90s until now.

Web editor Sidney Madden contributed to this story.

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