In Hip-Hop and Beyond: Lamont Dozier

Diving deep into the hit-heavy solo and production catalog of the late Motown legend, Lamont Dozier, whose innumerable classics provided the source code for some of hip-hop’s most revered producers.

Late last night, the music world lost a pillar in the passing of Lamont Dozier. Though a cause was never specified, the 81-year-old Detroit native’s death was confirmed by his son on Instagram. The salutes and memorials from peers, fans, and family alike almost instantly filled feeds, paying tribute to one of the most influential songwriters of his or any subsequent generation.

A crucial if not entirely integral component of Motown’s gleaming era-defining streak during the 1960s, Dozier and writing partners, Brian and Eddie Holland, churned out a staggering 25 No. 1 hits as Holland-Dozier-Holland for the label. With Lamont and Brian handling composition and arrangements and Eddie penning the lyrics, the trio developed and perfected what would become “The Motown Sound” as the production team behind classics from The Supremes, Martha and The Vandellas, The Four Tops, Marvin Gaye, Mary Wells, The Miracles, and seemingly anyone in or associated with the label’s iconic roster.

After leaving Motown along with the Holland Brothers in the late ’60s, Dozier spread his talents across several sides of the music industry. With Brian Holland, the songwriter launched the labels Hot Wax and Invictus, which offered a home to some of the earliest recordings from Parliament, Freda Payne, 8th Day, and Chairmen of The Board. Dozier also went on to embark on a solo career as a performer, releasing ten albums of deeply soulful original compositions with big, ear-worm hooks and melodies that have been endlessly covered and interpolated, both traditionally and through the samplers of some of hip-hop’s most revered producers, including Pete Rock, Madlib, Alchemist, 9th Wonder, DJ Paul, and countless others.

In remembrance of Lamont Dozier and his towering musical legacy, we’re reviving our In Hip-Hop and Beyond playlist series, which dives deeps into Dozier’s solo and production catalog.

Hear it below.


Zo is a staff writer at Okayplayer where he covers music.

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