Questlove pays tribute to Bad Boy Records producer, Chucky Thompson who has died aged 53

(Image credit: Robert Marquardt/Redferns/Getty)

Questlove has paid tribute to Bad Boy Records producer, Chucky Thompson, who has passed away aged 53. Thompson, who was part of Sean ‘Diddy’ Combs’ Hitmen production team, helped mastermind tracks for Notorious B.I.G., Mary J Blige, Usher, Nas and many others.

Taking to social media, Questlove posted a photo of Thompson and recounted the story of how in 1995, The Roots - then fresh from the release of their major label debut, Do You Want More?!!!??! - were already feeling like outcasts within the hip-hop scene - an organic live band placed amongst a sea of big-budget gangsta rappers, with Questlove himself wondering if his live drums were the barrier to the band “playin’ reindeer games”. That is until Chucky Thompson unexpectedly reached out to the groovesmith. 

“I had these dreams of shutting the game down. I just knew all my hip hop production idols was gonna line down the block making me recreate break after break a—-didn’t quite work out that way lol (actually no one called…cricket city) I was a 24 yr old deject. Couldn’t even give NO breaks away. Then I got the most unlikely page from a number I didn’t know (ask your parents) from from the DMV. The message said “you reached Chucky Thompson”. 

“Chucky Thompson!? THAT Chucky Thompson who owned the radio w Diddy that year? The Ursher “Think Of You” Biggy “Big Poppa” Chucky? The Mary My Life LP Chucky? Friggin “You Used To Love My” draggy mopey droopy beautiful bassline drag Chucky Thompson!!!???

“I was like “why would someone from Bad Boy be calling me?…Skeptical—I hit him back: he told me “man I been looking for you forever! Since ORGANIX!!”—huh!!!
I was just shocked at Chucky Thompson fanning out on someone who couldn’t even crack the top 100. Then he really knocked me out telling me BIG put him on to us & started naming album cuts. I was sold. 

"At the time he was working on [Sisters With Voices] & asked if I would drum on his joint. Wow. My first Major American producer request. We’d joke about it (“man you cash that check yet??!!!” NOPE NEVER I hung it up!!!!!)—-& laughing hard. 

"I just wanna thank that brother for that small gesture. To him that was “just him getting some dope Questlove drums”——but back then, that was a much needed validation sign to keep going in a difficult year figuring out where we belonged & how long would it take for me to get there. Just wanna thank him for that. Meant everything. God bless your soul as you journey to the next life.” 

At the time of writing, the cause of Chucky Thompson's death has not been revealed.

Stuart Williams

I'm a freelance member of the MusicRadar team, specialising in drum news, interviews and reviews. I formerly edited Rhythm and Total Guitar here in the UK and have been playing drums for more than 25 years (my arms are very tired). When I'm not working on the site, I can be found on my electronic kit at home, or gigging and depping in function bands and the odd original project.