Some cars aren’t meant to be driven. Take the blue Mercedes-Benz S500 Jermaine Dupri keeps parked at his recording studio. “It’s there for me to listen in the car at the studio,” he explains of the four-wheeled mobile studio with $50,000 worth of sound modules buried inside. It’s fit for a super producer and artist of Dupri’s caliber. “The system in the car is up to speed the way it needs to be; it’s the most intricate system ... If I listen in the car and it sounds right in that car, it tells me exactly what’s going on.”
While the car is stationary, Dupri rarely is, always staying on top of what’s going on. He’s conducting the interview on a train from New York City to Boston—knocking out every bit of business he can while staying in constant motion. However, when you’re the head of Virgin Records’ urban division, a multi-platinum producer and virtual hit machine, this type of work ethic gives you the ability to invest in hot cars that you don’t even drive. Of course, he has plenty of other super-fly whips that he takes to the streets in his native Atlanta. Dupri keeps about seven cars in his fleet at a time, but he gives each equal attention for their attributes. “...My car is probably the biggest office I go to.”
Dupri—who is affectionately known as JD—takes his car purchases seriously. There’s his Mercedes-Benz G 500, a Ferrari 355, an Aston Martin Vanquish, a Range Rover and then there are his snowed-out rides... a BMW 645Ci, a Rolls Royce Phantom and a Hummer H2 that he calls “J2.” Dupri carefully selects his cars depending on his missions. “The Hummer was straight when I was 16. I wanted people hear me two blocks away. People can’t even sit in the back because it’s so loud,” he says. “If I have to drive further than 20 minutes, I like to be in my Range Rover. If it’s hot and the streets are dry, then it’s the Vanquish—the Vanquish is my favorite. It’s so quick and easy to get in and get out.”
He also admits that he’s happiest when he’s speeding down Atlanta roadways. “I’m a sports car fanatic,” he confesses. “I turn the highway into a track.”
Nevertheless, it wasn’t always snazzy sports cars growing up in Atlanta.