News

Legendary Bad Boy Producer Chucky Thompson Has Died

Young Guru revealed that Chucky Thompson, member of Bad Boy’s Hitmen collective and architect behind Mary J. Blige’s ‘My Life’ album has died.

Chucky Thompson, the legendary producer behind some of the most iconic R&B and hip-hop songs from the ’90s, has passed away. Thompson’s publicist Tamar Juda confirmed the news to Okayplayer, via email, writing:

“It is with a very heavy heart that I can confirm the passing of Chucky Thompson… 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 news was revealed by legendary engineer Young Guru, who started his career working under Thompson. On Instagram, Young Guru wrote a touching tribute to the iconic producer who he called “a mentor.”

“You were the kindest person the world has ever seen. You were the most gifted musician I have ever been around. You treated my like family from day one. You made a point to the labels that I had to fly to New York with you on ever session. You put me in rooms with Biggie. I will forever be in your debt and I will forever be your little brother.”

 

The cause of death has not been reveled by the family yet but legendary radio personalty Donnie Simpson tweeted that he “died from COVID[-19] complications.”

A member of Bad Boy’s producer collective The Hitmen, Thompson, who is originally from Washington DC,  is one of the architects of hip-hop and R&B. His time with Bad Boy started when he was called  in to produce a song for Mary J. Blige’s sophomore album, My Life. That song was “Be With You” and the session went so well he was called back in to produce the entire album. In an interview with Grammy.com he talked about the start of his legendary career:

“I was only contracted to do one song, but that one song pulled us into a different room outside of the What’s the 411? album. She loved it and did something amazing on that record… She was coming from a triple platinum success, and a lot of the producers and people that were part of the debut album were submitting astronomical budgets [for the second one]. I could understand, but Mary wasn’t with it. I give lots of thanks to Puff and Mary for even trusting me because it was a brand new situation. I didn’t know Puff or Mary like that, but that one session for “Be With You” allowed us to feel the energy. She came to me and Puff to ask if I’d like to do the full My Life album. Man, I wanted to do backflips when I heard her say that. It just lined up. Certain things are just life and God; that situation came from me being in the right place at the right time.”

He produced almost every song on My Life, including iconic songs like “Mary Jane (All Night Long),” “You Bring Me Joy,” and “I Love You.” That album, which blended classic but recognizable soul and R&B samples with hard hip-hop breaks, became the blueprint for the music coming out of the East Coast. It also launched his classic run with Bad Boy, where he would produce classics like Craig Mack’s “Flava In Ya Ear (Remix),” Faith’s “You Used to Love Me” and  The Notorious B.I.G.’s “Big Poppa.” Over a career that would scan decades, Thompson would become one of Bad Boy’s most trusted hands, collaborating with fellow Hitmen — like Nashiem Myrick, Stevie J., and Mario Winans — and letting the leader, Diddy, get most of the shine. (Even though he would produce classics outside of the Bad Boy extended universe, like Nas’ “One Mic.“)

Although lowkey, Thompson was still a very productive producer over the last decade, doing songs with Mary J. Blige, Ne-Yo, Busta Rhymes. He was also recording music with Shania Twain and just last month he was teasing a new R&B album from Diddy, who now goes by the name Love. On July 24th he wrote on IG, “the love era starts September 24th 2021.”

After the news was reveled by Young Guru, Thompson’s peers — from Diddy to Buckwild — and fans started flooded the timeline with tweets:

 

Chucky was able to receive some of his flowers, appearing in Amazon’s Mary J. Blige My Life documentary that was released last month.

 

Dimas Sanfiorenzo

Dimas Sanfiorenzo is the Managing Editor for Okayplayer. He specializes in coverage centered around music, pop culture, and politics. Email: Dimas@okayplayer.com

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