ATLANTA — Looking resplendent in a presidential-like tailored suit and eloquent in his soliloquy about his newest industry venture, music maven and producer Jermaine Dupri was unabashed in proclaiming his attempt to replicate the spectacular feats once accomplished by the legendary Barry Gordy, the Motown mogul who once groomed kid acts into Hall of Fame phenomenons, most particularly Stevie Wonder and The Jackson 5 (especially Michael Jackson).
Boasting an illustrious track record of churning out youth talent himself with such acts as Kris Kross (“Jump”), Bow Wow (“Bounce With Me”), TLC (their first two albums) and Usher, JD is seeking nurture and cultivate another child star into a cultural juggernaut, this time using the vast platform of reality TV as his medium in which to unveil this new act via “The Rap Game” on the Lifetime channel. The show airs every Friday at 10 p.m. ET/PT.
The private viewing party to commemorate the premiere of “The Rap Game” took place at the Suite Lounge in Atlanta on New Year’s Day included Dupri’s father Michael Mauldin, Bryan Michael Cox, Johnta Austin, Greg Street, D. Woods, Jacob Latimore, Bryan Barber, John John Da Don, Vedo, Cyrene Tankard, Final Draft, 2-Crucial, Nue Era and Phresh Ali. “The Rap Game” cast member Miss Mulatto along with her parents Shayne and Misti Pitts were on hand and DJ Jelly kept the second floor quaking by opening the vast vault of Dupri’s 90s hits.
As the rapt audience looked on large flat screens, “The Rap Game” commences with Dupri training and grooming five kids who come from around the country, ranging in ages from 11-17, over an eight-week period, and honing their rap skills and deciding which one of the five will be signed to his label So So Def.
Dupri co-produced the show with rap legend-turned-actress and talk show host Queen Latifah. Each week, Dupri ranks their performance on a “hit list.” JD enlists the help of former protégé Usher along with rap impresario T.I. and prolific producer Bryan Michael Cox to help harness the burgeoning talents of these prepubescent and adolescent acts.
At the end of the eight weeks, only one of these talented kids will be able to come away with a contract with the iconic child producer Jermaine Dupri and his So So Def label.
Take a look at photographic highlights from “The Rap Game” viewing party at the Suite Lounge in downtown Atlanta.