The producer was behind the knobs on some of the groundbreaking hip-hop label’s biggest hits
Producer Chucky Thompson, who created massive 90s hits for Bad Boy Records as part of the Hitmen, has died.
In a statement to Okayplayer, his publicist Tamar Juda confirmed the news on Monday.
“It is with a very heavy heart that I can confirm the passing of Chucky Thompson…,” the emailed statement read. “To anyone in his orbit, you know how generous he was with his energy, creativity and love. Both the music industry, and the world has lost a titan.”
The Washington, D.C. native was the producer for Mary J. Blige‘s My Life album, and on songs like “Big Poppa” with Sean “Diddy” Combs for The Notorious B.I.G., Faith Evans “You Used to Love Me” and “Soon As I Get Home,” Craig Mack’s “Flava In Ya Ear,” Total‘s “‘Cant You See” and Nas’ “One Mic,” among many other productions, co-production and remix credits from 1991 through this year.
Thompson was nominated for a Grammy in 1996 for My Life for Best R&B album. The album turned 25 this year.
Thompson along with Deric ‘D-Dot’ Angelettie and Easy Mo Bee, formed the Hitmen in the 90s which effectively ran as Bad Boy’s in-house production team. Eventually, that group would grow to include Nasheim Myrick, Steven ‘Stevie J.’ Jordan, Harve Pierre, Rashad ‘Tumblin’ Dice’ Smith, and Mario Winans.
Chucky Thompson poses for photographers during a screening of “Takers” at the AMC Georgetown on August 9, 2010 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Kris Connor/Getty Images)
Thompson started his career playing congas with the legendary go-go pioneer Chuck Brown and his band The Soul Searchers, per an interview he did last month with The Recording Academy. Though he first wanted to be a manager, Thompson joined Angeletti and Easy Moe Bee in crafting the Bad Boy sound, fulfilling the same role as legendary in-house production teams like Motown’s Holland-Dozier-Holland and others.
“My first real session with Bad Boy was with [producer] Easy Mo Bee,” Thompson told The Recording Academy. “Then Puff asked if I wanted to go to the studio and hang out with him. I’d never met him or anything. I showed up at the session; he had a guitar there, and I just started playing along with what Easy Mo Bee was doing. He heard it and immediately wanted to record it. That became the guitar parts on ‘Ready to Die.’ That was always the energy.”
He has production credits on a new project from Diddy, who is now going by Love. The project, Off The Grid Volume 1, is the first on Love Records and the first project for Diddy since Press Play in 2006. Thompson told the Recording Academy that he’d worked on a song with country/pop superstar Shania Twain called “Naked” for the project.
Allhiphop.com is reporting that Thompson died from complications of COVID-19. Legendary radio personality Donnie Simpson also made the same claim.
Thompson was working on a film about his life and Washington, D.C.’s popular regional go-go scene, entitled Chucky Thompson Presents D.C. Go-Go.
“It’s not the go-go music story; it’s my story with go-go music,” Thompson told the Recording Academy. “A lot of people don’t understand the music. They don’t even know what it takes to make a go-go record. I got a segment based on the music: another based on the movement where it’s been deemed the official music of the city, that process, and how it got there.”
Thompson had previously completed a documentary on the Tuskegee Airmen with Robin Roberts that ran on the History Channel.
His colleagues, collaborators, friends, and peers paid tribute to Thompson on social media.
Songwriter Denise Rich and Chucky Thompson pose for a photo during a cocktail party at Rich’s home on July 14, 2003 in New York City. (Photo by Frank Micelotta/Getty Images)
Angelettie said they had just talked in his post. Thompson said in the Recording Academy interview that the group of producers stayed in touch regularly.
Producer Young Guru was one of the first to announce Thompson’s passing.
Mario Winans, another member of the Hitmen, posted a tribute.
Producer Buckwild of New York’s legendary Diggin’ in the Crates Clique posted as well.
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