Fresh from commemorating 30 years of So So Def Recordings last year, Jermaine Dupri begins this year with a fresh start for the storied label. The music mogul has inked a new deal between So So Def and Create Music Group, bringing all of the imprint’s recordings, publishing and back catalog with him. This partnership is already bearing musical fruit with the release of the first single since the deal was announced earlier this week, “This Lil’ Game We Play” featuring Ashanti, Nelly and Juicy J.
If the title sounds vaguely familiar, that’s because the song reimagines the 1994 slow jam of the same name by teen acts Subway and 702. For this updated production, JD takes the song on a sexy detour down South to Atlanta. Dupri samples the original track and interpolates its memorable hook into a bass-heavy funk fest that’s perfect for newly reunited, real-life couple Ashanti and Nelly to engage in some sexy flirtation on the dance floor.
After a quick shout out to the infamous strip club Magic City by Juicy J and a “Y’all know what this is” from Jermaine, Nelly kicks off the song with his good singing. “Girl, I want you to stay so we can play this little game we play,” he croons to his boo thang. Ashanti responds in kind, sweetly singing, “Boy, I really want to stay, so we can play this little game we play / Where you go hide and I will seek, let me be the one to make you weak.”
From there, the two lovebirds trade new lyrics and sing to each other as they coordinate a rendezvous. “I’m on my way when I get off / What you want I’m tryna see / I think I want the same thing / I hope you’re ready for me,” Ashanti teases her man, her man, her man.
Juicy J returns a little later with a fiery, freaky verse. “You the finest thing in the club / Baby, all eyes on you / And I got a long a** list of nasty s**t that I wanna try on you,” he raps, ready to get it poppin’.
“This Lil’ Game We Play” is firing on all cylinders and giving what it needs to give for an Atlanta bass record. It’s nostalgic yet it sounds fresh, this brand-new pairing of social media’s current favorite couple (and possible parents-to-be) is brilliant and we can shake a little something on the dance floor to it. If JD is coming this strong with new music on So So Def, we can’t wait to hear what else he’s got in his bag.
Listen to Jermaine Dupri, Ashanti, Nelly and Juicy J’s hot take on “This Lil’ Game We Play” below, and visit your favorite digital music services to add this banger to your playlists.