King. Father. Brother. A God fearing man. These are just some the terms used to describe Amadeus, a multi-platinum “super-producer” who’s unabating work ethic and passionate views charity and motivation sets him apart from many his peers in the music industry.
Born Antwan Thompson, Amadeus grew up in the Clearmont Village section the Bronx, New York. One his very first tastes music came when he was a just young boy. “I was brought up in the church. I started playing the drums in school but I really developed as a musician playing drums in church,” Amadeus tells Billboard.
Not many figures in the industry can say they have the resume Amadeus has built up for himself. Coming up under the tutelage Puff Daddy, Amadeus was a part Bad Boy Records revered production team, The Hitmen. “I was the youngest Bad Boy Hitmen producer at that time. I was a part the new era, that new wave Bad Boy, so I worked with Danity Kane, Day26, Cheri Dennis, Donnie Klang, and more,” Amadeus says.
That time under Puffy proved to be fruitful as Amadeus maneuvered his way through the industry under his guiding eye. “Working under Puff? Man, I did so much. Just to be around him, to soak up all the information that he has that he always shares, the positive energy and that hustle was just an experience I can never forget,” Amadeus reveals.
Shortly after working with Puff Daddy and Bad Boy Records, Amadeus was introduced to Trey Songz while working on the Mike Jones record “I Know.” That meeting would eventually lead to Amadeus becoming the music director and tour drummer for Trey. “While working on the “I Know” record I told Trey eventually he would need a band and when that time came for him to call me,” Amadeus says.
A year after that meeting, Amadeus got that call to create the band that he spoke into existence a year earlier. “I was on board to play drums for Trey, but I wasn’t sure putting a band together, I was just a musician,” Amadeus says. “Despite being unsure, a colleague mine told me this was an opportunity for Trey and I to grow and learn together so I took it and here we are 10 years later.”
Ten years later and Amadeus still has his foot firmly on the gas pedal. Along with being the music director and tour drummer for Trey Songz, he is one Chris Brown’s go-to producers. Amadeus and his production team are responsible for nine tracks on Chris Brown’s Heartbreak on a Full Moon, and they have more tracks in the vault.
Another venture in the busy life Amadeus is his Platinum Boy Music group. The group includes Amadeus, his team producers, his artists Captain DMAC and Fly Boy Maestro and the newest member Juanialys. The group is responsible for the Music 101 College Tour that aims to educate, empower, and inspire students and people all around the world.
With so much on his plate, Amadeus continues to blaze the trail he created for himself in his 17-year career. Behind all it though, he considers himself a producer first. In an interview with Billboard, the Platinum-Boy producer breaks down five records he crafted throughout his storybook career. Check out what he had to say below.
Fabolous — “Team Litty”
“Fabolous was working on the album, Summertime Shootout 2 and me and Fab have a dope relationship. Fab is very quiet. He doesn't really make announcements about what he's doing, so I would always hit him up and say, 'Man what you doing?' He's like, 'Yeah, I’m working on that part 2.' So you know I was already on Summertime Shootout with 'Trap Royalty' and I needed that spot on part 2.
“So I sent a bunch tracks to Fab. I think it was three tracks he selected that he liked and 'Team Litty' was just one the joints that made it to the end. I remember getting a phone call from Mally the Martian, who's a producer and a part Fab's team, saying, 'Yo we need a session asap we're mixing it tonight. It's going on the album.' Trilogy co-produced that with me so that's how that situation came about.”
Wale & Stalley — “ESPN First Take Theme Song“
“Yes! I love that story. I was speaking at a college; I want to say New Haven. The music director for First Take was doing a panel and asked me to speak on the panel and I accepted. I went up there, did my thing and after he's like, 'Listen. I don't have a huge budget but I want to take you guys to lunch.'
“He takes us to Subway and we sit down, we talk and he says, 'I'm trying to get this theme song done. I can't get in contact with Talib Kweli,' and I'm like, 'That's my man! We've worked together a few times.' So I told him I'll put him in contact. But before doing that I ask who's doing the beat and he's like, 'I don't know,' and I'm like, '
“So I submitted a whole bunch joints to them and it was supposed to be Talib Kweli and Yasiin Bey. We kept running into brick walls where Kweli would love a beat but Yasiin didn't and vice versa. That wasn't working so we tried Kweli and other artists but that didn't work either. Wale came up and we were trying to get him and Rick Ross but Ross's scheduling didn't work so they had Stalley come in.
“It worked out and we sent ESPN the track. They loved it, filmed the whole process, and it came out amazing. We created that in 2014 and in 2016 we recreated it where Wale and his band sampled the original track to give it a live go-go feel, being that he's from DC. So I have two versions that song.”
Trey Songz — “Sneaky”
“Around Valentine’s Day, we had a show up in Connecticut at the Foxwoods and we were in rehearsal a few days before a huge snowstorm was to hit. He came up to me in rehearsal and he was like, 'Let’s get in the studio tonight.' That's where we cut seven or eight songs in two days. 'Sneaky' was one the songs that we created.
“I remember playing the track and he was feeling it. We sampled the Jodeci joint 'What About Us' and he's like, 'Pull that up' and that's how that record came about produced by myself and The Breed. Sneaky was featured on the Trigga album on the Target edition and its dope. That album went platinum. I actually got my plaque in the mail a few weeks ago.”
“Welcome to the Dollhouse” — Danity Kane
“I got a call from Harve Pierre and Conrad, the head A&R at Bad Boy Records at the time. They needed an intro for the album. The album was done and they gave me the song title 'Welcome to the Dollhouse' and I just kind thought how can I recreate a dollhouse. So I thought about the crank on the side a jack-in-the-box.
“I went and searched that sound the crank makes online and I sampled that sound. When you think dolls houses and scary movies that always have that bell sound, that little twinkle bell sound, I kind created a melody. I originally put a beat behind it but they wanted it to change the tempo as time goes on to become faster.
“When Puff and Harve heard it, they loved it but they scratched it making it faster in pace and they removed the drums and actually just kept the wind up and the bells. Puff laid his vocal on top it introducing the group and the album and that was really it.”
Jim Jones — “My Diary”
“I had did 'Take Em to Church' for Cam'ron which was the Ma$e diss. I remember going to Juelz’s Santana] studio to track out the beat. Back then, you would go to the actual studio session, plug up your equipment, and track the beat into the Pro Tools. So I did that at his studio and I met Juelz, I met Jim Jones] and Jim said he needed some heat.
“So I sent him some beats and I remember getting that phone call like. 'Yo come down to the studio I laid this joint. It’s me.' I remember walking to the studio hearing the track while it was being mixed and I knew this wasn’t no party record, this wasn’t no turn up joint. This is a joint where you have to sit down and really listen and take it in. It was one his favorite records because it meant a lot to him. It kind told his story from his point view in regards to Harlem. It's definitely a classic.
“People really loved that record. The sample is very popular, 'Living Inside Your Love' by Earl Klugh. I found that sample f a song from the Above the Rim soundtrack titled 'Pain' by 2Pac. Obviously Jim felt it, he's from Harlem. Above the Rim was shot in Harlem so it just all came together.”