Chucky Thompson, the producer best known as part of Bad Boy Records’ in-house production team the Hitmen, has died. Thompson’s publicist Tamar Juda confirmed the news to Okay Player and Billboard: “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.” According to AllHipHop.com and BET host/radio personality Donnie Simpson, who is based in Thompson’s hometown of Washington, DC, Thompson died due to complications from COVID-19.
Thompson’s friend and mentee Young Guru also confirmed the news in an Instagram post today. “There is nothing I can write that will take away this pain,” Guru wrote. “I have to say RIP to my mentor, my big brother, the man who changed my life forever. You were the kindest person the world has ever seen. You were the most gifted musician I have ever been around. You treated me like family from day one. You put me in rooms with Biggie. I will forever be in your debt and I will forever be your little brother. This one hurts so bad I can’t even explain it. RIP @chucklife365 there will never be another you!!!!”
Not long after notching his first production credit for DC-area hip-hop/reggae group Born Jamericans with 1993’s “Boom Shak-a-Tack,” Thompson broke into the upper reaches of the music business by submitting his music to Sean “Puff Daddy” Combs through a friend of a friend, right around the time Puffy was fired by Uptown Records. He was soon invited to come to New York and join the stable of producers at Puffy’s newly founded Bad Boy Records.
“They didn’t have anyone up there that played a lot of different instruments,” Thompson told You Know I Got Soul in 2011. “It was either you played keyboards, or you just were a straight hip-hop producer/sampler but I was all of those things. There were a lot of different rooms, after I had met everybody; say I finished my work here in Studio A, I would then slide over to Studio B and just vibe. As I was in there, I saw different people working, and I would learn some guitar or whatever was going on in there at the time. So, it just started with me just bouncing around from room to room.”
Upon his arrival in NYC, Thompson was soon recruited to co-write and co-produce the majority of Mary J. Blige’s 1994 album My Life in addition to producing hits for the Notorious B.I.G. (“Big Poppa”), Faith Evans (“You Used To Love Me”), Total (“No One Else”) and Usher (“Think Of You”) as well as the Bad Boy remix of Craig Mack’s “Flava In Ya Ear.” He’d go on to work with artists including Ice Cube, Shyne & Barrington Levy, Mya, Mase, the Lox, Tevin Campbell, Biz Markie, Eminem, Kelly Price, Busta Rhymes, Raheem DeVaughn, Ledisi, Juvenile, Fantasia, and extensively with Nas, including “One Mic.”