ATLANTA — People really do believe Jermaine Dupri can groom a new millennial child progeny into a rap and (subsequent) cultural phenom. It’s not just because the prolific producer has done it before, making stars out of kids such as Kris Kross, Bow Wow, Xscape and Usher in the 1990’s despite the fact gangsta rap had hijacked the charts and most the national conversation.
It’s also because Dupri himself was just a adolescent when he consciously removed his last name (Mauldin) so that he could forge his own identity from his famous father, producer and promoter Michael Mauldin. He was still a teenager when he bunkered himself in his bedroom and wrote the intoxicating national club anthem “Jump” that served as a triple threat — launching So So Def Recordings, Dupri’s reputation as a hitmaker and idol maker, and made stars out of an obscure but talented duo that made up Kris Kross, Christopher “Mac Daddy” Kelly and Christopher “Daddy Mac” Smith.
And much like Dupri’s idol, Berry Gordy, he believes today that he can find another hip hop version of Stevie Wonder or Michael Jackson. Creating child stars is what he does. It’s in his DNA.
TV is the perfect medium, because music fans get to see up close what happened behind closed doors 20 years ago. Five emerging young hip hop artists, ages 12 to 16 years old, are given the opportunity to rhyme and flow with Dupri in the all-new unscripted series, “The Rap Game” (#TheRapGame).
These young rappers will be immersed in the Atlanta hip hop scene with Dupri at the helm as their mentor. Queen Latifah and her partner Shakim Compere will executive produce under the Flavor Unit umbrella along with Dupri on the series that will air Fridays at 10 PM ET/PT. Each week, special guests such as Usher, Ludacris, Da Brat, T.I. and Silentó will join Dupri to help mold the kids into the next big, young rap star.
Let’s meet the five aspiring young rappers, all vying for that coveted contract that could launch them into stardom.