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MD Disc: Theron Thomas’ Fingerprints All Over Hip-Hop

So far this week, we’ve placed a spotlight on the nominees for one of the newly minted categories at the upcoming GRAMMYs, Songwriter (Non-Classical.) Over that span, we’ve hit two of country’s biggest behind-the-board talents, and one of Latin’s. Next up in the queue is a man who’s very much shaped the landscape of hip-hop you’ve heard on the charts in 2023—Theron Thomas.

If Theron Thomas’ name doesn’t ring any bells, I can guarantee you’re familiar with his work, of which there are two halves. One is as a part of the duo R. City alongside his brother, Timothy Thomas. Among a whole host of production credits, they recorded the inescapable “Locked Up” with Adam Levine, a song that ruled the radio at the time of its release and now stands above the billion streams mark. R. City together boasts a production portfolio of similarly massive songs, from Nicki Minaj’s “Only” to Rihanna’s “Pour It Up” to Miley Cyrus’ “We Can’t Stop.”

Theron Thomas pictured as R. City alongside his brother Timothy. Taken from @therontheron_ on Instagram.

Theron Thomas’ 2023 Credits

Crucially for the subject at hand, there’s still been plenty of times when artists have sought out Theron’s talents on his own. Prior to this year, his solo work is highlighted by Saweetie’s “Best Friend” & Doja Cat’s “Rules,” two tracks that put Theron’s tendency towards hip-hop in stark relief. Since the last edition of the GRAMMYs, he’s on a short list of individuals who’ve had the most influence on the genre. Beginning with songwriting assistance on Lizzo’s “Special,” his case for the award is characteristically star-studded—Victoria Monet’s “Party Girls,” Tyla’s “Been Thinking,” Lil Durk & J. Cole’s chart-topper “All My Life,” and heavy involvement in crafting Chlöe’s debut record, In Pieces.

As we’ve covered in the past few days, each of the nominees for this category boasts an incredibly impressive case and is equally deserving of taking home the award. But with hip-hop truly becoming pop music this decade and continually leading the pack in terms of streams, it’s hard not to give special consideration to Theron Thomas, who had a massive hand in crafting the sounds of the past year. You can find all of the aforementioned music on streaming platforms everywhere. And, if you’d like to hear some wisdom from the man himself, check out a recent episode of the One More Time podcast where he dished wisdom and industry knowledge.

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