Carl “Chucky” Thompson, the hip-hop, R&B, and pop producer who helmed hits for artists like Notorious B.I.G. and Mary J. Blige, has died. Thompson’s publicist Tamar Juda confirmed his passing Monday night in a statement to Billboard, saying that “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.” Thompson was 53. No cause of death has been provided at this time.
A D.C.-native, Thompson got his start in go-go music as part of Chuck Brown’s band The Soul Searchers. He went on to a role as a member of the group of in-house producers at Bad Boy Entertainment known as The Hitmen. As a member of Bad Boy’s in-house production team, Thompson was responsible for some of ’90s hip-hop and R&B’s biggest hits, and in 1994 he worked on two multi-platinum-certified classic albums – Blige’s My Life, which included “Mary Jane (All Night Long)” and “You Bring Me Joy,” and The Notorious B.I.G.’s debut LP Ready to Die, which included the hit track “Big Poppa.”
“There is nothing I can write that will take away this pain,” producer Young Guru, who mentored Thompson early on at Bad Boy Records, wrote in a tribute on Monday. “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 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. This one hurts so bad I can even explain it.”
Over the course of his near three-decade career, Thompson worked with the likes of Usher, New Edition, TLC, Jennifer Lopez, SWV, Color Me Badd, Mya, and more. One of his biggest hits, however, came from “One Mic” for Nas in 2002. He also has composing credits on 2016’s Views album from Drake and appeared in the 2021 My Life documentary about Blige. According to Deadline, Thompson was working alongside Shania Twain and was in the process of filming a documentary about his life prior to his death.