Jermaine Dupri and Michael Mauldin: Celebrating So So Def’s 20th anniversary
Story by Stereo Williams
Images by DeWayne Rogers
The Father, The Son and The Family Business
In 1993, Bill Clinton was sworn in as the 42nd president of the United States, Jurassic Park was breaking records at the box office, and an urban music label founded in Atlanta would go on to shape the sound of the 1990s.
So So Def Recordings would be largely instrumental in turning the “ATL” into a hotbed of hip-hop and R&B talent over the next several years and at the center of its success and vision was Jermaine Dupri, a musical wunderkind who was producing chart-topping acts before he was old enough to vote. By his side was his father, music industry veteran Michael Mauldin, serving as his sounding board and steadying hand as the former COO of So So Def.
Together, these two men have watched a remarkable journey unfold over the past 20 years. And now, they have a chance to celebrate what they’ve accomplished together and what the label has been able to do over two decades.
“I was always impressed with Jermaine because he started out so young,” Mauldin shares. “I was already in the music business, so I was supportive of [his ambition] from day one. He’s been around music his whole life; so for me, it was always a push — not beating him up, but [being] somewhat of a guiding hand for him to go in the direction he did.”