Di Genius

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Stephen "Di Genius" McGregor
Birth nameStephen McGregor
OriginKingston, Jamaica
GenresDancehall, reggae fusion, reggae, hip hop, Rnb, Urban Contemporary,
Occupation(s)Producer, songwriter, artist,
Years active1995–present
LabelsBig Ship/ Di Genius Productions, Warner Chappell Music

Di Genius (real name Stephen McGregor, is a Grammy Award Winning 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, John Legend among others.[1][2][3] The New York Times named him a "Reggae Veteran At The Age of 18."

In 2017, Billboard.com listed Di Genius as one of the producers who brought dancehall back to the 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.


Stephen McGregor is the son of legendary 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 the mainstream, noting his work on Drake's hit song "Controlla" off the multi-platinum selling album Views.

In December 2019, Warner Chappell Music announced that they signed a new writing deal with Di Genius.[11][12]

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]


As producer/composer/writer :

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

John Legend – "Bigger Love" (Producer)

Shenseea – "Run Run" (Writer/Producer)

Khea Julia Michaels Becky G – "Only One" ft Di Genius (Producer/Writer)

John Legend - "Don't Walk Away" ft Koffee (Producer/Writer)

Becky G - "Rotate" ft Burna Boy (Producer/Writer)

Becky G - "My Man" (Producer/Writer)

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

French Montana - "Writing On The Wall" ft Post Malone Cardi B (Producer/Writer)

Rvssian - "IDKW" ft Shenseea Swae Lee Young Thug (Producer/Writer)

Paloma Mami - "RDMDA" (Producer/Writer)

Drake"Controlla" (Producer/Writer)

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

Shakira - "Amarillo" (Producer)

Shenseea - "Blessed" ft. Tyga (Producer/Writer)

Neyo Shenseea - "Major Moves" (from the movie "Sprinter") (Producer/Writer)

Teamarrr – "Cool Enough" (HBO Insecure) (Producer/Writer)

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)

Lali Esposito - Sin Querer Queriendo (feat. Mau y Ricky) (Producer/Writer)

Burna Boy - "Destiny" (Writer)

Paloma Mami - "RDMDA" (Producer/Writer)

Compilation albums[edit]

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



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


Year Riddim
2010 Bad People
Gun Show
Street Swag
2011 Bad Acid
Iron Belt
Tenement Yard
2012 Bassline
Come Round
Face Off

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Award Category Nominated Work Result Ref.
2009 Grammy Award Grammy Award for Best Reggae Album Let's Get Physical (songwriter & producer) Nominated
2010 Grammy Award Grammy Award for Best Reggae Album Imperial Blaze (songwriter & producer) Nominated
2014 Grammy Award Grammy Award for Best Urban Contemporary Album Mali Is... (songwriter & producer) Nominated
2015 Grammy Award Grammy Award for Best Urban Contemporary Album Blood (Lianne La Havas album) (songwriter & producer) Nominated
2016 Grammy Award Grammy Award for Best Rap Album Views (songwriter & producer) Nominated
2016 Grammy Award Grammy Award for Album Of The Year Views (songwriter & producer) Nominated
2017 Grammy Award Grammy Award for Best Reggae Album Chronology (songwriter & producer) Nominated
2017 Grammy Award Grammy Award for Best Latin Pop Album El Dorado (songwriter & producer) Won
2017 Grammy Award Grammy Award for Best Reggae Album Stony Hill (songwriter & producer) Won
2017 ASCAP Awards Best Rap Song "Controlla" (songwriter & producer) Won
2017 Latin Grammy Award Latin Grammy Award for Best Contemporary Pop Vocal Album El Dorado (songwriter & producer) Won

2019 Grammy Award Grammy Award for Best World Music Album African Giant (songwriter) Nominated

2020 Grammy Award Grammy Award for Best R&B Album Bigger Love (songwriter & producer) Won
2021 Grammy Award Grammy Award for Best Reggae Album 10 (songwriter & producer) Nominated [13]


  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. Archived from the original on 19 March 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. Archived from the original on 10 July 2015. Retrieved 11 April 2013.
  7. ^ a b Henry, Krista (20 July 2008). "'Di Genius' at helm of Big Ship". Jamaica Gleaner. Archived from the original on 16 April 2010. 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. Archived from the original on 28 April 2009. Retrieved 11 April 2013.
  10. ^ Brooks, Sadeke (26 September 2012). "Di Genius produces for Nelly Furtado". Jamaica Star. Archived from the original on 2 June 2013. Retrieved 11 April 2013.
  11. ^ "Stephen 'Di Genius' McGregor Scores Big With Warner Chappell Music Deal". DancehallMag.
  12. ^ "Warner Chappell Music's announcement: Ending the year big and welcoming @digenius1". Instagram. Archived from the original on 25 December 2021.
  13. ^ "Jamaican Producer Di Genius Celebrates John Legend's Grammy Win For 'Best R&B Album' Which Featured Koffee". DancehallMag. 15 March 2021. Retrieved 16 March 2021.