​Behind The Beats: New York City

Our last installment in our three-part hip-hop producers series lands at the birthplace of rap. It would be easy for NYC to rest on its reputation as the city that introduced a rebellious, game-changing art form that would evolve from its humble Bronx origins to captivate the globe with such pioneering icons as Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five, Run-D.M.C., the Beastie Boys, and Salt-N-Pepa leading the way. Instead, The City That Never Sleeps has been revitalized, embracing the trap music zeitgeist while still staying true to its boom bap past. For a region that has produced such studio stalwarts as Marley Marl, Prince Paul, the RZA, DJ Premier, and Pete Rock, there is indeed a powerful musical legacy to live up to. The current crop of East Coast­-based producers below are certainly up to the task.

Harry Fraud
Sounds Like:​ Brooklyn’s in the house.
The Run Down:​ East Coast purists praised Harry Fraud’s flip of Thomas Bell Orchestra’s “A Theme For LA’s Team” (1979) on French Montana’s 2012 breakthrough single “Shot Caller.” But Fraud, who has delivered for some of NYC’s finest from Mobb Deep’s Prodigy to Action Bronson, is not all about boom­ bap heroics. He’s racked up bangers for Wiz Khalifa and Curren$y and crafted a silky 2014 remix for British blue-­eyed soul crooner Sam Smith (“Nirvana”). This year, Fraud teamed up with lyricist Smoke DZA for the two-­fisted set He Has Risen.

Sounds like: ​Electro hip­hop blasting through a wall of Marshall speakers.
The Run Down: ​So what’s a kid from Iraq doing turning out tracks in Notorious B.I.G.’s BK stomping grounds? Living the American dream as one half for the avant­garde rap duo Weekend Money. After working with heralded instrumentalist Hot Sugar on the 2012 funk strut “F***able,” Baghdaddy — who can go from cool pop to street­-aimed trap with ease — partnered with swaggering rhyme prince Ne$$ and unleashed their 15­ song stunner Freddie Merkury (2014). Currently, Weekend Money can be heard on their Awkwafina and Kekstizzy ­blessed infectious single “Sriracha.”

Sounds like:​ That omnipresent, inescapable hit on the radio.
The Run Down: ​This Roc Nation­-signed conductor boasts an enviable list of studio conquests, including J. Cole, Wale, French Montana, Ne­Yo, and rising pop dynamo Tinashe. And yet it was Jamil “Deputy” Pierre’s career­-changing hook­up with Rihanna on her 2015 anthem “Bitch Better Have My Money” that lifted the East Flatbush, Brooklyn talent to much sought­-after status. The producer’s Roc connections got him a sit-down with Ms. RiRi. After a session with songwriter and wild pop child Bibi Bourelly — and some advice from larger-than-life rhyme rebel Kanye West — Rihanna liked what she heard. The rest is history, but Deputy is not one to look back.

Sounds like:​ The record industry’s secret weapon.
The Run Down:​ Quick. Do a check of some of the more noteworthy records to capture music fans’ ears over the last three-plus years and you will see Vinylz’s name attached to a lofty list of productions. The 26­ year-old Dominican-­American, straight outta Washington Heights, has done most of his damage riding shotgun with fellow hit­maker Boi­1da on such chart­-aimed missiles as Jay­Z’s and Rick Ross’ “*uckWithMeYouKnowIGotIt,” Drake’s “5am in Toronto,” DJ Khaled’s “No New Friends,” and more recently Chris Brown’s “Back To Sleep.” Show off.

Sounds like: ​The ultimate genre-­hopping jukebox.
The Run Down: ​Don’t expect Antwan “Amadeus” Thompson to stick to the proverbial script. The Boogie Down Bronx standout and musical director for platinum R&B heartthrob Trey Songz is much too restless to play it safe. Thugged-out recklessness (Maino & Uncle Murda’s King Kong Godzilla”); soulful balladry (Chris Brown’s “The Break Up”); conscious­-minded statements (Talib Kweli’s “Nice Things”); and pop-tailored ‘hood mash­ups (Jennifer Lopez’ “Same Girl”) all have a place in Amadeus’ dizzying musical world.

From the Web

More on Vibe

Paras Griffin

It Was Pandemonium: Remembering 5 of B2K’s Career-Defining Moments

At the tail-end of last year, B2K sent the world into a familiar pandemonium following the announcement of their aptly titled reunion, the Millennium Tour. After 15 years, the group came back together to tap into our undying love of early 2000’s nostalgia, reminding fans at each tour stop why the “boys of the new millennium,” were arguably one of the biggest Black boy groups to do it since The Jackson 5.

"We are excited to be a part of what will undeniably be a nostalgic and electrifying performance,” Michelle Le Fleur, COO at Omarion Worldwide, – told Billboard in 2018. "While admiring their solo successes, the fans have consistently demanded a B2K reunion and, with the determination of an incredibly talented team, that dream is now a reality."

In the tour’s latter days, it was confirmed that Raz-B and J-Boog’s ups and downs on the road would be one of a few gripping storylines featured on season six of VH1’s Love & Hip Hop: Hollywood, premiering Monday Aug. 5 at 8/7c, so it’s only right that we celebrate by looking back at a few of the quartet's biggest moments:

Early Chart Dominance

In 2002, the same year that Justin Timberlake launched his solo career and Nelly and Kelly had their “Dilemma,” B2K's self-titled debut album took the R&B world by storm. The album, which boasted the hit singles “Uh Huh” and “Gots Ta Be,” peaked at No. 2 on the Billboard 200 and No. 1 on the U.S. Hot R&B/Hip-Hop albums chart. They’d also join Bow Wow, who was no longer “Lil,”  on the Scream 2 tour on July 25 of that same year.

Pandemonium Ensued

Hot on the heels of B2K’s self-titled success, Pandemonium dropped on Dec.10, 2002 and "Bump, Bump, Bump" peaked at No.1 on the Billboard Hot 100. The single became the group's first top 10 hit on the Hot 100 chart and spent a week at No. 1, positioning them to take home the best group and viewer’s choice honors at the BET Awards the following summer.


An Untimely End

At the height of their popularity, B2K would announce their split on BET's 106 & Park in Jan. 2004 to the dismay of R&B fans everywhere. Omarion would later state that the decision was ultimately caused by the group’s mutual desire to seek out solo success. “It is true that B2K broke up but it’s not about me leaving or them leaving. It’s about us growing up and wanting to do our own thing,”  he told Jet magazine in 2004.

Omarion Joins Love & Hip Hop: Hollywood

In 2014, Omarion joined the cast of Love & Hip Hop: Hollywood alongside Fizz, Ray J, Soulja Boy, and more. The stint would come ten years after the launch of his solo career, during which, he blessed listeners with four albums (O, 21, Ollusion, Sex Playlist) in addition to playing a lead role alongside his former group members in You Got Served.


B2K Reunites

2019 saw the launch of the Millennium Tour, which B2K headlined with Mario, the Ying Yang Twins, Chingy, Pretty Ricky, Bobby V, and Lloyd. The tour was an immediate success,  grossing $5 million just three shows into a 25-date cross country stretch. Though initially slated to end in April, on July 11 Drake took to his Instagram to announce that B2K would be making an unexpected final tour stop as co-headliners of his annual Toronto-based OVO Fest.

If you weren’t one of the lucky thousands who got to catch B2K on the road, then VH1 has you covered. Season six of Love & Hip Hop: Hollywood airs on Monday, August 5 at 8/7c and will feature behind the scenes moments from the Millennium Tour that you won’t want to miss. In the meantime, check out the trailer below:

This is branded content, produced by our marketing department in partnership with our advertisers—not by editorial.


Continue Reading

You’re Invited: VIBE VSessions in Los Angeles with Casey Veggies, Kodie Shane, and Buddy

Calling all Los Angeles teens! We are gearing up for our third and final VIBE VSessions — a FREE live concert series in partnership with Fresh Empire, a lifestyle brand dedicated to encouraging youth to reach their goals tobacco-free. The show is open to music lovers ages 13 to 19 and will host some of the most exciting up-and-coming names in hip-hop.

The VIBE VSessions event will feature full sets by LA's own Casey Veggies, Lil Yachty-endorsed Atlanta prodigy Kodie Shane, and rising star Buddy. Host DJ Hed will kick off the night. Attendees at the show will have the chance to take part in on-site giveaways, artist meet-and-greets, and more.

Join us on Saturday, May 13th from 5:00 - 9:00 pm at Hyde on Sunset Boulevard.

Mandatory RSVP at for tickets. Please note entrance is based on capacity so get there early!

Continue Reading
Paul R. Giunta

Metro Boomin Rocks Fresh Empire and VIBE's VSessions Feat. YG, Speakerfoxxx, and DJ Jelly

VIBE VSessions descended to Atlanta for a highly-anticipated night of high-powered DJ sets. In an effort to promote a tobacco-free lifestyle, teens ranging from ages 13-19 filled the dance floor at The Loft's Center Stage, a premiere concert venue located in the heart of midtown. V-103's Big Tigger served as the host setting the tone for the Fresh Empire “lituation.”

While attendees laced up with free swag and photos ops, the show kicked off with Southern Style DJ's own DJ Jelly spinning a 45-minute selection of old and new school hip-hop bangers, ranging from legendary rap collective the Dungeon Family down to trap superstar Young Thug. The energy in the room was pure pandemonium leading to the flawless introduction of Speakerfoxxx, better known as “The Queen of ATL.”

“There is no better place than performing at home,” she said while jumping into her set playing an eclectic mix of hip-hop infused electronic records. The Atlanta native made sure concert-goers enjoyed every minute of their escape from the parentals. Whether she was playing the latest from Gucci Mane, Lil Uzi or 2 Chainz, the crowd just couldn’t stop dabbing to the beats.

Speakerfoxxx kept the momentum going for one hour before her close friend and headliner Metro Boomin hit the stage to wrap up the evening. His cult following began shouting, “If Young Metro don’t trust you,” and from that point, the vibe in the crowd skyrocketed to 100 - real quick. It was only right that he began his set with songs from close comrades Future and Drake like “Where Ya A** Was At,” “Jersey,” and the ultimate ATL anthem “Bad and Bougie” by Migos.

Popular YouTube dancers Meechie and Toosi came and kicked it along with upcoming rapper Sahbaii who performed “Pull Up Wit Ah Stick," the latest hit single Metro is co-signing as next to top the charts. West Coast rapper YG also popped up and rapped a few bars from "Who Do You Love" on his studio album, My Krazy Life and more.

Before the show ended three lucky teens got the chance to win a meet-and-greet with Metro himself. The Atlanta edition of VIBE's VSessions was certainly one for the books and the perfect interlude before the Falcons played in the NFL championship on Super Bowl Sunday.

Fresh Empire's national campaign promotes tobacco-free living while educating youth about the health risks with smoking cigarettes. According to the CDC, each day in the United States, more than 3,200 youth aged 18 years or younger smoke their first cigarette, and approximately 2,100 youth and young adults become daily cigarette smokers. Additionally, if smoking continues at the current rate among youth in this country, 5.6 million of today’s Americans younger than 18 will die early from a smoking-related illness.

Continue Reading

Top Stories