Jermaine Dupri is having hoop dreams. The super producer, who will take part in Converse Takeover’s Band of Ballers this Saturday in his hometown of Atlanta, says his So So Def team is ready to take on all challengers.
"I’m expecting some good games, but I think we are going to win,” Dupri proclaims to VIBE of the popular 5-on-5 basketball tournament, which includes music artist-heavy teams headed up by Harlem, New York representative Jim Jones, heralded New Orleans MC Jay Electronica and Atlanta rap natives Shawty Lo and OJ Da Juiceman.
“At the end of the day somebody is going to claim that we cheated because I have a basketball court in my studio [laughs],” a competitive Dupri continues. “Jim Jones and his team have to go down to the end of the street in New York and wait for some dudes to finish playing their game of basketball. We play basketball everyday in my gym and not just for this Converse shit. I’m talking about full court, everyday…we are in shape. There’s a bunch of young dudes on my team. And mind you, I’m sure I’m younger than Jim Jones and those dudes he has playing with him. This aint the Rucker. You are not going to get too many lobs, fastbreaks or anyone cherry picking the rim.”
Dupri also had some good-natured ribbing for his fellow ATL contingent. “As far as the other people from Atlanta, I don’t think Shawty Lo can play basketball. The other dudes that’s playing against us are just rappers… but we play ball for real It’s about speed, quickness and who’s not going to run out of energy. We are kind of on top of that.”
The multi-platinum Dupri, who lost to Timbaland in VIBE’s Greatest Hip Hop Producer Of All Time contest, recently went independent with his So So Def imprint. The label’s first release was the Why Did I Get Married Too soundtrack.—Keith Murphy