Jermaine Dupri Tells All: The Stories Behind His Classic Records (Part 1)

Jagged Edge "I Gotta Be" (1997)

Producer: Jermaine Dupri
Album: A Jagged Era
Label: So So Def/columbia

"Kandi from Xscape actually brought Jagged Edge to my house. She was like, 'This group is good, you should check them out.' At first I didn't really have no idea what I was going to do with them. In my mind, I was like, 'I'm going to make this a male version of Xscape.'

"So the first time we started going to the studio and started doing stuff like that, that didn't really work. We had to find their thing, just go in the studio and work out what their niche was. Find out what was special about Jagged Edge, and what was the thing that I could get out of their project that was going to be different. I found their sound.

"When we started making ballads I found out that Jagged Edge was basically the definition of 'thug love,' because they were guys that looked like rappers, but they were singing songs that were like the nicest records in the world. Being super nice to women. Girls were looking at them like, 'this is the guy that I want.' They're thuggish, they got tattoos, they were wearing braids. They were doing everything that looked like they weren't supposed to be, they didn't look like they were supposed to be singing these songs. But that was defined by them as opposed to me defining it."

Tags: jagged_edge
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