In a bonus clip from the latest installment of KXNG Crooked’s series Crook’s Corner, iconic producer Jermaine Dupri reflected one of his past dealings with Columbia Records.
The industry veteran discussed the pushback his label gave when he tried to release “Money Ain’t a Thang” as the second single from his platinum-selling debut album Jermaine Dupri Presents – Life In 1472.
“At this time, I think Columbia was paying attention to the success of Jermaine Dupri. So when you start paying attention to success, you’re looking at how can you continue this,” Dupri says of the climate at the label following the album’s first single, “The Party Continues” featuring Da Brat and Usher. “At that time continuing success [to Columbia] meant to grab onto a bigger name.”
Dupri explains that while he and the label both knew that his song “Sweetheart” featuring Mariah Carey was a surefire hit, he wanted his album to viewed by the masses as a rap record. In his mind, that was something he could achieve by going with “Money Ain’t A Thang” featuring JAY-Z.
He notes, the label didn’t quite see his vision. “You got 50 percent of the room asking, ‘Who is JAY-Z?’ The other 50 percent in the room were saying, ‘Man, JAY-Z — he’s dope,’” Dupri says. “You got the [label] head like, ‘You want us to spend this money on your record and you want to do it with an artist that is not as big as Mariah Carey — and you have a record with Mariah Carey? Why would you do this?”
Dupri ultimately feels the label’s confusion with his decision factored into its commercial results. “That would have been a number one record if they understood it … that’s my biggest non-number one record, by the way,” he notes.
“Money Ain’t a Thang” peaked at No. 10 on Billboard’s Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Singles & Tracks. It was nominated for Best Rap Performance by a Duo or Group at the 41st Grammy Awards in 1999, ultimately losing out to Beastie Boys’ “Intergalactic.” However, the song appeared on JAY-Z’s Vol. 2… Hard Knock Life album, which picked up Best Rap Album that same night (beating out Life In 1472).
Watch JD on Crook’s Corner below.