Chucky Thompson, hit producer, dead at 53

“My mind is always on ‘Record’,” producer Chucky Thompson once told an interviewer, explaining how he was able to bring such a wide rang...


“My mind is always on ‘Record’,” producer Chucky Thompson once told an interviewer, explaining how he was able to bring such a wide range of musical influences to the hits he helped create for Mary J. Blige, the Notorious BIG, Nas and other stars.

For any particular track, he can draw inspiration from the soulful records his parents played, or his time as a conga player in Chuck Brown’s go-go band, or some other style in his mental records, as he sought to realize the performer’s vision was after, or perhaps take him in a completely different direction.

Mr. Thompson helped forge the hip-hop and R&B sound of the 1990s when he was in his mid-twenties. He showed his versatility with his work on Ms. Blige’s second album, “My Life,” and Notorious BIG’s debut album, “Ready to Die,” both released in 1994. The following year he was a producer on almost all of Faith’s songs. Evans’ debut, “Faith”, another hit.

During this time, he worked for Bad Boy Entertainment, the influential Sean “Diddy” Combs label founded in 1993, as part of the production team known as The Hitmen. But he continued to produce for a range of artists after the Hitmen disbanded later in the 1990s. If he – unlike other producers of those years – defied categorization, it was on purpose.

“In my brain, as a producer, I never wanted any sound,” he said in a Video interview 2013 with Rahaman Kilpatrick. “That’s why you hear me on so many different records. “

Mr. Thompson died Aug. 9 at a Los Angeles area hospital. He was 53 years old.

Its publicist, Tamar Juda, said the cause was Covid-19.

Mr. Thompson was different from many of his contemporaries in that he was a multi-instrumentalist, often contributing guitar, piano, trombone or other flourishes to the pieces he produced. To obtain a particular effect for the Nas 2002 track “A mic”, he knocked over a guitar and knocked on the back of it.

“He’s a real musician and doesn’t like programming too much, just like me,” Mr. Combs told Billboard in 1995, when that post included Mr. Thompson in an article on “The Next Generation of Successful Producers.” . “Chucky has so many melodies in his head and produced from the heart.”

Carl Edward Thompson Jr. was born July 12, 1968 in Washington to Carl and Charlotte Thompson. In the 2013 interview, he said his mother recognized his innate musical abilities early on.

“She used to sit me in the kitchen and – you know how kids just knock and make noise?” I was actually on pace with it, ”he said. “She knew from there that something was different.”

At 16, he was on tour with Mr. Brown and his band, the Soul Searchers, playing the funk variant known as go-go, which was popular in and around Washington. It was a time when traditional band concerts were losing ground to DJs, who could keep the music constant rather than interrupting between songs and thus keep people on the dance floor. Mr Brown asked his young conga player to try to compensate.

“He decided,” I’ll put a percussion break between songs, “” Mr. Thompson tell Rolling Stone in June. “So we would finish a song, then I would take a drums break, and I would make a call and a response – ask the crowd, ‘Are you all tired? “”

In the early 1990s, he was in New York City trying to sell himself as a producer, and Mr. Combs and Ms. Blige were looking for material for the sequel to his hit debut album, “What’s the 4-1-1? ” (1992).

“She chose my song from a ton of tracks from new and previous producers,” Mr. Thompson said in a interview with the StupidDope.com site in June. “I was truly honored. This track was “Be With You”, and at that time it was very different for her and her sound. I felt at that point that we were on to something special.

He ended up co-producing much of the album with Ms. Blige and Mr. Combs. Ms. Blige had a harsh hip-hop image that defied female singer stereotypes, and some people didn’t care. Mr. Thompson took this reaction into account when helping her create the songs for her second album.

“I didn’t like people throwing stones at something they didn’t understand,” he told Rolling Stone. “So I was like, on this album, people are going to know you’re a singer. You’re the real deal.

“My Life”, full of denominational songs exploring Ms. Blige’s personal struggles, received a Grammy nomination for Best R&B Album and helped her become a star. In June, Amazon Prime unveiled a documentary about her career and the record, “Mary J. Blige’s My Life”.

Over the years, Mr. Thompson has also produced for Usher, Raheem DeVaughn, Total and many more. He produced some of the latest leads from his first mentor, Mr. Brown, who died in 2012 to 75.

Mr. Thompson’s survivors include five children, Ashley, Emille, Myles, Quincey and Trey Thompson.

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Newsrust - US Top News: Chucky Thompson, hit producer, dead at 53
Chucky Thompson, hit producer, dead at 53
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