Jermaine Dupri Reacts to Ashanti and Nelly's Baby News, Talks Drake and Kendrick Lamar's Rap Beef (Exclusive)

ET chats with Jermaine Dupri about Ashanti and Nelly's baby news and the latest on Drake's beef with Kendrick Lamar at the BET Awards.

Whether you're Team Drake or Team Kendrick Lamar, Jermaine Dupri says there's no denying that the rappers' months-long feud has brought "life back to hip-hop."

Dupri chatted with ET's Deidre Behar on the red carpet of the 2024 BET Awards, where the 51-year-old mega-producer weighed in on the public beef that's played out across multiple diss tracks, a moment in pop culture that Dupri said pushed back against the idea that hip-hop was "dying."

"It just brought life back to hip-hop," he opined. "People saying that hip-hop was dying and it was a dying genre at the time and I think it just brought a lot of light back into it, made people start talking about rap again."

The public feud seemingly all began with Drake and J. Cole's October 2023 release of "First Person Shooter" -- in which Cole called him, Drake and Lamar the "Big 3" of rap -- and Lamar's response in "Like That" is what seemingly ignited the lyrical war against Drake.

At one point, even actress Uma Thurman got in on the action, offering support to the GRAMMY winner while he was facing off against several of his hip-hop peers.

Most recently, Lamar, 37, threw a star-studded one-off concert, "The Pop Out -- Ken and Friends," to celebrate Juneteenth, during which he gave his first live performance of his viral Drake diss tracks, "Euphoria" and "Not Like Us." The Juneteenth concert, presented by pgLang and Free Lunch, featured a long lineup of iconic artists, mostly from Los Angeles and California, who performed in Lamar's hometown at the Kia Forum.

The way Lamar's concert went viral is a sign of Dupri's declaration that the rappers' feud "put a lot of fire back in there."

"Hopefully, other people come with records that's just as hot as those records that was made in that period and we can keep the genre where it's supposed to be at," he added.

While Dupri preferred not to choose a side when it comes between Drake, 37, and Lamar -- his daughter, Jalynn, said she was proudly Team Kendrick -- the producer wasn't shy to admit that he decided to attend Sunday night's award show after it was announced that Will Smith will take the stage to perform his new song.

Jermaine Dupri and his daughter Jalynn Jones arrive for the 2024 BET Awards at the Peacock theatre in Los Angeles, June 30, 2024 - MICHAEL TRAN/AFP via Getty Images

The recently released single, "You Can Make It," is a notable departure from the rapper's classic dance hits.

"I think it's really exciting. That was one of the things that made me really want to come," he shared with ET. "I started seeing that type of stuff and I thought, 'Okay, that might be something to go to."

Dupri is also looking forward to watching Usher be honored with this year's prestigious Lifetime Achievement BET Award, which is presented to gamechangers and industry pioneers who have left a lasting impact on the culture and entertainment. The 45-year-old will join a list of previous Lifetime Achievement BET Award recipients, including Whitney Houston, Prince, Queen Latifah, Anita Baker, Mary J. Blige, Samuel Jackson, Lionel Richie, New Edition and Busta Rhymes.

"He put the work in, it's been a long dirty journey for him and he's still at the highest level of his game," Dupri said of the recent headliner for the Apple Music Super Bowl LVIII Halftime Show. "He can go on and on, so it's like he's that artist, he just deserves this award."

Meanwhile, Dupri's longtime friends and collaborators, Ashanti and Nelly, recently announced that they're expecting their first child together

Ashanti, 43, and Nelly, 49, who rekindled their longtime, on-again, off-again romance last year after calling it quits in 2013, have become inseparable since they sent the R&B world into a frenzy after being spotted together for the first time last year. 

The baby will be Ashanti's first and Nelly's third child. The "Hot in Herre" rapper is the father of adult children, Chanelle, 29, and Cornell Haynes III, 24, from a previous relationship. Nelly also adopted his sister, Jackie Donahue's, kids -- Shawn and Sydney Thomas -- after she died from leukemia in 2005.

After months of rumors and speculation, Ashanti officially announced her pregnancy with an Instagram video in April. The video showed the singer getting ready for a performance. After one of her handlers checks in on her, Ashanti's mom, Tina Douglas, checks in a second time, asking the singer how much time she needs until she's ready. Ashanti emerges -- dressed to the nines -- and responds, "I'm gonna need about nine months," prompting Douglas to express shock at the pregnancy news.

Then, on June 19, it was discovered that despite announcing their engagement in April, Ashanti and Nelly are already married -- and they have been for six months, according to public records in Missouri. 

The marriage date is listed as Dec. 27, 2023 in Nelly's hometown of St. Louis County, Missouri. 

"They love each other. They always loved each other since day one and you know you could see it from day one," Dupri told ET of the happy couple. "You could really see it 100 percent."

The 2024 BET Awards, hosted by Taraji P. Henson, airs live on the BET channel from the Peacock Theater in Los Angeles on Sunday, June 30, at 8 p.m. ET/PT. Check out the complete winners list here.