Di Genius

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Stephen "Di Genius" McGregor
Birth name Stephen McGregor
Born (1990-01-06) 6 January 1990 (age 27)
Origin Kingston, Jamaica
Genres Dancehall, reggae fusion, reggae, hip hop, Rnb, Urban Contemporary,
Occupation(s) Producer, songwriter, artist,
Years active 1995–present
Labels Big Ship/ Di Genius Productions
Associated acts Freddie McGregor, Mavado, Elephant Man, Vybz Kartel, Sean Paul, Aidonia, Bounty Killer, Drake, Nelly furtado, Lianne La Havas,Shakira
Website instagram.com/digenius1
Notable instruments
Drums, Guitars, Piano, Violin, Bass Guitar, Drum Machines, software instruments

Di Genius (real name Stephen McGregor, born 6 January 1990) is a Grammy nominated music producer, singer, and songwriter from kingston, Jamaica. Di Genius comes from a musical family—his father is legendary veteran reggae artist Freddie McGregor and his siblings, Daniel "Chino" McGregor and Yeshemabeth "Shema" McGregor, are also singers. While Di Genius was primarily known for producing riddims out of his "Big Ship" recording studio, he has gone on to produce and write songs for international artists such as Sean Paul, Drake , Nelly Furtado , Lianne La Havas, Shakira, among others.[1][2][3]The New York Times Named him a "Reggae Veteran At The Age of 18" in 2008

In 2017, Billboard.com listed Di Genius as one of the producers who brought dancehall back to mainstream, noting his work on Drake's Hit song "Controlla" off the multi-platinum selling album "Views".

His work is also featured on multiple Grammy Awards nominated albums

Biography[edit]

Stephen McGregor was born in 1990 as the son of reggae singer Freddie McGregor.[4] The year before, his father had passed up a record deal from Arista Records, choosing instead to create his own record label, which he named Big Ship after his 1982 hit single from the album of the same name.[5] When he renovated the family home in 1995, Freddie McGregor had a small but high-tech recording studio built to produce music for the label, and Stephen took a shine to the studio at an early age. His father recalls of the period: "If we saw the door was open, we’d know Stephen was in there. He was just so short you couldn’t see him over the mixing desk."[1] His father nurtured his interest in music by bringing him along on tour, and the young McGregor would often watch his father's performances from the side of the stage.[5]

Stephen McGregor wrote and recorded his first song at the age of five, a dancehall track titled "School Done Rule" which was featured on the compilation "Reggae For Kids."[6] However, the young McGregor soon gravitated more towards the production end of songwriting, and by the age of seven he had taught himself to play bass, guitar, keyboards, and violin by mimicking the songs he heard on the radio.[7] McGregor began his production career at the age of twelve, contributing to local production studios such as Outlaw. His first hit riddim came in 2004, while still attending Ardenne High School.[1] McGregor and his brother Chino approached dancehall artist Elephant Man at his nearby Havendale home to ask him to deejay on the whimsical "Cartoon" riddim, and the artist accepted, the first of fifteen artists to vocalize on the track. In a radio interview, a local DJ gave McGregor the nickname "Di Genius," owing to the fact that his musical talent came at such a young age.[1][2]

What MTV described as Di Genius's "defining moment" came in 2006, when up-and-coming artist Mavado recorded the song "Weh Dem a Do" on his "Red Bull & Guinness" riddim. The riddim was co-produced with Delly Ranx the previous year, when Di Genius was fifteen years old.[8] The single was a huge success in Jamaica and even made a mark internationally, placing on the Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart in the United States.[2] The same year, he also released the successful "Power Cut" riddim and produced singles for several artists, including Bounty Killer, Da'Ville, and Big Ship labelmates Laden and Chino. He also began a project with Mavado's rival, the controversial deejay Vybz Kartel. The record The Teacher's Back was released two years later to a primarily Japanese market and featured eighteen original tracks, all produced by Di Genius.[7]

In addition to his riddim productions and solo work, Di Genius also produced the entirety of his brother Chino's eponymous album in 2011 and the majority of Sean Paul's 2009 album Imperial Blaze and Mavado's Mr. Brooks...A Better Tomorrow, also from 2009.[6] He also wrote and produced several songs for international artists, including Hasidic reggae artist Matisyahu, J-pop singer Mika Nakashima, R&B singers Ne-Yo and Estelle, Drake and pop star Nelly Furtado, whose Di Genius produced song "Don't Leave Me" appeared on her 2012 album The Spirit Indestructible.[2][9][10]

In 2017, Billboard.com listed Di Genius as one of the producers who brought dancehall back to mainstream, noting his work on Drake's Hit song "Controlla" off the multi-platinum selling album "Views".

Production Style

Di Genius has said in interviews that he admires songwriters such as Stevie Wonder for his arrangements and instrumentation. He also stated that he draws inspiration from producers such as Timbaland and The Neptunes for their instantly recognizable production styles.[6][9] Vivien Goldman described his productions in The New York Times as having "a challenging sound that combines playfulness, the spatial drama of a movie soundtrack and orchestral brio" characterized by "sparse, punching jabs of sound and lush snatches of melody." She also wrote that while his tense urban riddims are well suited for American hip hop audiences, he displays a great amount of versatility, with productions ranging from lovers rock to reggae fusion.[1]

Equipment-wise, Di Genius stated that he started out producing with a single drum machine MPC, but has since moved on to multiple MPCs, keyboards, and a variety of audio editing programs, including Pro Tools, Reason, Logic Pro, and REAPER.[2]

Discography[edit]

As producer/composer/writer :

Mavado – "Weh Dem A Do" (Producer/Writer)

Nelly Furtado – "Don't Leave Me (Producer/Writer)

Drake"Controlla" (Producer/Writer)

Will.i.am – "it's my birthday" (Writer)

Shakira - "Amarillo" (Producer)

Damian Marley - Upholstery (Producer/Writer)

Damian Marley - Slave Mill (Producer/Writer)

Lianne La Havas – "Midnight" (Producer/Writer)

Lianne La Havas – "Fairytale" (Writer)

Sean Paul "Imperial Blaze" : "So Fine" (Producer/Writer)

"Lace it" (Producer/Writer)

"Press it up" (Producer/Writer)

"Now That i've got your love" (Producer/Writer)

"Birthday Suit" (Producer/Writer)

"Evening Ride" (Producer/Writer)

"Daddy's Home" (Producer/Writer)

" Don't Tease Me" (Producer/Writer)

"She Wanna Be Down" (Producer/Writer)

"Lately" (Producer/Writer)

"She Want Me" (Producer/Writer)

"Watch Dem Roll" (Producer/Writer)

Michael FrantiSoulRocker (Album) (Producer/Writer)

FuseODG – "Dangerous Love" (Producer/Writer)

Kalash – "Taken" (Producer/Writer)

Mali music – "One" (Producer/Writer)

Matisyahu – "Motivate"

Matisyahu – "Smash Lies"

Matisyahu – "Struggla"

Nicky Jam – "Me Enamoras" (Writer)

Wretch 32 – "Alright With Me" ft Anne Marie & prgrshn (Producer)

Maverick Sabre – Emotion (Producer/Writer)

Collie Buddz - " i got you" (Producer/Writer)

Collie Buddz - "Defend your own" (Producer/Writer)

Compilation albums[edit]

  • Labwork Vol. 1 (2010)
  • Labwork Vol. 2 (2010)
  • Lab work Vol. 3

Riddims[edit]

2000s[edit]

Year Riddim
2004 Cartoon
Dutch Master
2005 Red Bull & Guinness
2006 Breaking News
Ghetto Whiskey
Power Cut
Smoke
Stick Up
2007 After Dark
Bee Hive
Dark Again
Darker Shadow
12 Gauge
Party Time
Shadow
Tremor
2070s
2008 Advocate
Chiney K
Day Break
Day Rave
Forever
Work Out
2009 Boasty
Fitness
Outbreak
Summer Bounce

2010s[edit]

Year Riddim
2010 Bad People
Catalog
Championship
Gun Show
So Bless
Street Swag
Winnings
2011 Bad Acid
Iron Belt
Peppa
Tenement Yard
Wildlife
2012 Bassline
Come Round
Face Off
Moving

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e Goldman, Vivien (21 September 2008). "For Him, Reggae Is the Family Business". The New York Times. Retrieved 11 April 2013. 
  2. ^ a b c d e Patterson, Joseph (25 July 2011). "Stephen McGregor: The Interview". MTV. Retrieved 11 April 2013. 
  3. ^ "Super bash for Stephen". Jamaica Star. 8 January 2009. Retrieved 30 April 2013. 
  4. ^ "Stephen 'Di Genious' McGregor: About". Facebook. Retrieved 4 May 2013. 
  5. ^ a b Grindley, Latoya (21 June 2010). "Captain Freddie McGregor Guides His Crew". Jamaica Gleaner. Retrieved 11 April 2013. 
  6. ^ a b c "Centre Stage: Stephen McGregor". Jamaica Star. 14 November 2008. Retrieved 11 April 2013. 
  7. ^ a b Henry, Krista (20 July 2008). "'Di Genius' at helm of Big Ship". Jamaica Gleaner. Retrieved 11 April 2013. 
  8. ^ "Freeload: Assassin, 'Money' (Work Out Riddim)". The Fader. 26 May 2008. Retrieved 30 April 2013. 
  9. ^ a b Henry, Krista (5 December 2008). "10 questions for Stephen". Jamaica Star. Retrieved 11 April 2013. 
  10. ^ Brooks, Sadeke (26 September 2012). "Di Genius produces for Nelly Furtado". Jamaica Star. Retrieved 11 April 2013.