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

Xscape "Who Can I Run To" (1995)

Producer: Jermaine Dupri
Album: Off the Hook
Label: So So Def/Columbia

"I was just trying to make sure these kids had a place in music. I felt like we had to keep making the biggest records possible. I never felt like it was a challenge as far as to top what we did. I was just trying to get to a place within the industry to make people say, 'Okay, I'm paying attention.' That's all I was trying to do.

"It was more or less anything to just come back with music, and make bigger records. I think we started at a small spot with them as a smaller group, and then we continued to keep making bigger records to grab more radio space too. That was the thing with them, to get them on every station. With that, Xscape was becoming more famous for vocals, but at the same time we felt like we had dominated r&b. So it was like, what's next? What can we do to keep making them bigger? So we were like, let's get a Diane Warren song, because at this time big songs were like the thing for r&b groups.

"I remember that was the first single. That was to try to spread their wings and get bigger, because they wanted to be on like national anthem type of stuff. Like the stuff you see Alicia [Keys] doing now, we wanted to try to take them to that place. The only way to do that was to get a bigger record and break them into bigger audiences, as opposed to just being a straight R&B group. I was just trying to do things that would elevate that group to another level.

"Still, out of that album, the big records became like 'Who Can I Run To' and 'My Little Secret,' R&B records. I never changed my path as far as...I kept thinking about, what would Quincy do? That's always my thing. 'Who Can I Run To' was a remake. Like you said, I don't think people even knew I did that song. That doesn't sound like no other record I've ever did. Because it was a remake, I had to make it sound as close to the original as possible, but it still was reproduced. The producers I was paying attention to were so far ahead of me and they were killing it. That's all I was paying attention to, the fact that they were way out there ahead of me and I had to make up for a lot of work and just catch them."

Tags: xscape
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