“Jump” propelled the album Totally Krossed Out to sell 8 million records.
Mauldin: It was the fastest-climbing pop single to go to the top 10 on the Billboard chart in 15 years. Nothing like that had happened since the mid-’70s, so people were just blown away. We just started marketing [Dupri] as the youngest, most successful producer in the game.
Dupri: I met Xscape through a guy named Ian Burke. He came over to my house for my 19th birthday party and brought them along. Ian Burke is like the guru behind that whole Atlanta music scene. He was the guy who was damn near at the head of almost every group that came out of Atlanta in the beginning. He was a talent finder.
LaTocha Scott of Xscape: Our manager [Burke] was like, “Yo, this kid’s going to be big and he’s already got some groups he’s getting ready to sign.” We were like, “OK.” We just wanted to get a deal. We really wanted to become famous. So when we went to his 19th birthday party, we sang “Happy Birthday” to him and he was like, “You girls have remarkable voices. I love your harmony. I already have Kris Kross I’m working with, and as soon as I’m done putting them on the map I’m going to come back for you guys.” At first we were kind of apprehensive. Everybody had been telling us, “We wanna work with you guys,” and we didn’t take it seriously.
Mauldin: Their harmonies were crazy, so Jermaine immediately started working with them. I remember taking a demo of them to New York City. We got a deal because of the success of Kris Kross and other stuff. Columbia gave us a deal for Jermaine; that started So So Def Recordings as a record company.
Scott: When we met Jermaine, we were real street. We were from College Park; Kandi [Burruss] was from East Point. But all of us had this street edge to us. And he would always say, “You guys [are] so ghetto.” He was like, “Y’all can sing, y’all like the ghetto En Vogue.” We were kinda like, “OK, ghetto En Vogue? Cool.” We were also compared to Jodeci cause we had the rugged look. We kinda just brought who we were to the table and Jermaine added that hip-hop flavor to the music. It was just a good mesh.
Mauldin: We immediately put out Xscape’s “Just Kickin’ It” [in 1993]. It wasn’t quite as powerful as “Jump,” because it was really an urban radio record. But it blew up and ended up making a platinum album for Xscape.
Scott: We were very naïve when we came into the game. It was crazy because I remember when “Just Kickin’ It” was on the radio and we were screaming in the car. It wasn’t even like a month later and we were called to be on “The Arsenio Hall Show.” Things kinda took off for us and then Jermaine sat us
down and was like, “Y’all went platinum.” We didn’t know what platinum was. We were like, “OK, is that good?” he was like, “Y’all sold a million records!”
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