Dupri (center) confirmed the news on October 4, shortly after the two were snapped alongside Nas at the studio. They, along with producers Rodney Jenkins and Mike WiLL Made It, were helping to finish Carey’s long-delayed 14th album, The Art of Letting Go.
Dupri has worked with Carey since her 1996 single “Always Be My Baby,” later nominated for a Grammy for Best Female R&B Vocal Performance. Via Sony boss (and then-husband) Tommy Mottola, Carey reached out to the Atlanta music mogul because she wanted to shift her approach to music.
“Even though Mariah always considered herself to be first and foremost a black woman, everyone at the label was scared of her being too urban,” Dupri has said. “She’s far from some ‘hood rat, but she’s definitely a lil’ ghetto and she was tired of being called the ‘ballad queen.’”
Dupri went on to produce Carey’s “Don’t Forget About Us,” “Shake It Off” and “We Belong Together,” 2006 Grammy winner for Best R&B song. In the years thereafter, Carey had hired another longtime collaborator to be her manager: American Idol‘s Randy Jackson. Jackson started working with Carey in the ’90s, when he worked in A&R at Columbia Records, but was dropped as her manager last spring.