The music world lost a legend Monday. D.C. native Chucky Thompson, 53, died of reported complications from COVID-19.
Thompson produced some of the biggest names in R&B and hip-hop. His sound forever changed music's landscape, and it started with his passion for D.C.'s go-go music.
In the mid-1990s, Diddy’s Bad Boy Records dominated the airwaves with hit after hit. Thompson was part of the in-house producing team knows as the “Hitmen,” helping craft the sound of the hip-hop/R&B generation.
His work on Mary J. Blige's groundbreaking “My Life” album reshaped the sound of contemporary R&B.
“If we're going to talk about Chucky Thompson, we have to talk about his relationship with go-go music, because that's where he all started,” radio DJ EZ Street said.
“Chuck Brown — the late, great Chuck Brown — saw Chucky, heard of Chucky, hired Chucky on the spot,” EZ Street said. "And next thing you know, he was hired to perform at one of the biggest events ever, and I'm talking about Go-Go Live.”
Mayor Muriel Bowser addressed the loss of Thompson during a press conference Tuesday.
“A friend of ours, Chucky Thompson, legendary musician from D.C., D.C. Public Schools graduate, I think Dunbar, he died over the weekend related to COVID,” she said.
On Instagram, D.C.'s own R&B singer Raheem DeVaughn, who was nominated for a Grammy with Thompson, called him "every favorite producer’s favorite producer."
"He was an angel sent to help me weather my storm," Blige said.
“He's one of the greatest of all time,” Diddy said.
In 2011, Thompson told News4’s “First Heard” music series his love of music wasn't limited by genre.
“I come from hip-hop, but I'm definitely rock and roll underneath,” he said.
Thompson was in Los Angeles working on a new project when he became ill.
“He's the bridge between go-go and rap and R&B, and nobody else has this space,” EZ Street said.
A Change.org petition calls for 1st and W streets NW, where Thompson grew up, to be renamed Chucky Thompson Way.