Rock City (production duo)

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Rock City
Also known as Planet VI
Origin Saint Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands
Genres Hip hop, pop, R&B, calypso, reggae fusion
Years active 2003–present
Labels Kemosabe Records\RCA Records (current), Rebelution, Kon Live, Geffen (former)
Associated acts Akon, Kardinal Offishall, Verse Simmonds, Cam Wallace, Mike Will Made It, Rihanna, SMKA, Usher, Eternal Jam Machine
Members Timothy "A.I." Thomas
Theron "Uptown AP" Thomas

Rock City (also known as R. City and Planet VI) is a songwriting, record production, and rap duo from Saint Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands consisting of brothers Theron and Timothy Thomas.[1][2] The brothers use the stage names, A.I. and UpTown AP, respectively.[3] The two are best known as songwriters and producers for artists like Rihanna, Beyonce, Miley Cyrus, Jennifer Hudson, Chris Brown, Mary J. Blige, Luke James, and Akon among many others.[4][5][6][7] The duo has also contributed to numerous Grammy-nominated albums including Rihanna's Unapologetic (which won Best Urban Contemporary Album),[8][9] Jennifer Hudson's self-titled album (which won Best R&B Album),[10][11] and Ariana Grande's My Everything (which was nominated for Best Pop Vocal Album).[4][12]

Rock City also releases original music, and they have released several mixtapes since 2008.[7] The group had previously been signed to Geffen Records and KonLive,[13] where they released a series of mixtapes with the primary title, PTFAO (Put the F*ckin' Album Out)—a reference to the fact that their debut album, Wake the Neighbors, had not been given a release date. In 2011, the duo was released from their contract with KonLive and founded Rebelution Records on which they intended to release their debut album.[7] A new project, #WhatDreamsAreMadeOf is due to be released in 2015 after being signed to Kemosabe Records/RCA Records by Dr. Luke.[4]

Early life and education[edit]

Theron and Timothy Thomas are natives of Saint Thomas in the United States Virgin Islands. They grew up in the Oswald Harris Court Projects[13] and graduated from Charlotte Amalie High School.[14] As children, the brothers were backup dancers for a local all-girl rap group. They frequently practiced different varieties of music in Saint Thomas and received support from their parents.[1] In 2000, the two left the Virgin Islands to pursue their music career in Miami, Florida.[4] The initially operated under the name 2Ekwip.[15] They had limited success in the Miami nightlife scene, and moved back to Saint Thomas in 2005. During this time, Theron worked for Kroger and Timothy for Party City.[4]

Career[edit]

In 2006, the duo sold their first song, "The Rain," which appeared on Akon's triple platinum-selling album Konvicted.[4] By October 2007, Rock City had written songs for acts like Usher, Sean Kingston, Ashlee Simpson, Nicole Scherzinger, and Mary J. Blige.[6] Early songs that saw chart success included "Take You There" by Sean Kingston (number 7 on the Billboard Hot 100), "When I Grow Up" by The Pussycat Dolls (number 9 on the Billboard Hot 100), and "Replay" by Iyaz (number 2 on the Billboard Hot 100).[2][16][17][18]

Rock City signed a record contract with Geffen Records and Akon's KonLive in 2007. During this time, Theron was known by the stage name "Da Spokesman" and Timothy was known as "Don't Talk Much." They were set to release their debut album, Wake the Neighbors, some time in 2008,[13] but the release date was later pushed back to 2009.[19] Rock City put out 8 mixtapes between 2008 and 2011, and many of them contained the acronym "PTFAO" (or Put the F*ckin' Album Out) in reference to the fact that the label had not given them a release date for their album. In 2011, the duo parted ways with KonLive and founded their own label called Rebelution Records. They intended to release their debut album, Free At Last, on their own label.[7]

Despite the tumult with their record labels, Rock City continued writing songs for other artists during this period. They penned Rihanna's Man Down and Justin Bieber's "Run Away Love."[20] In 2013, the duo wrote numerous Billboard Hot 100 songs, including Miley Cyrus' "We Can't Stop", Rihanna's "Pour It Up", and Ciara's "I'm Out."[5][21] "Pour It Up" appeared on Rihanna's album, Unapologetic, which won Best Urban Contemporary Album at the 2014 Grammy Awards.[8][9] The following year, Rock City contributed to three separate albums that received Grammy nominations—Miley Cyrus' Bangerz, Ariana Grande's My Everything (both of which were nominated in the Best Pop Vocal Album category) and Iggy Azalea's The New Classic (which was nominated for Best Rap Album).[4]

Rock City also continues to release original music. Their new project, #WhatDreamsAreMadeOf, contains themes of struggle relating to the brothers' often difficult upbringing in Saint Thomas. They also released a new songs in 2015 called "I'm That..." featuring 2 Chainz[4] and "Locked Away" featuring Adam Levine.[22]

Discography[edit]

Main article: Rock City discography

The discography of Rock City contains numerous singles, mixtapes, and albums. Rock City is primarily known for their songwriting and production having written or produced songs like "Pour It Up" by Rihanna, "Replay" by Iyaz, "Bow Down/I Been On" by Beyonce, and "We Can't Stop" by Miley Cyrus.[4][2][13] Many albums that Rock City has contributed to have won or been nominated for Grammy Awards. For instance, the duo wrote "If This Isn't Love" on Jennifer Hudson's Grammy Award-winning self-titled album.[10][11] The group has also released numerous mixtapes and singles, including most recently, "I'm That..." (featuring 2 Chainz)[4] and "Locked Away" (featuring Adam Levine).[22]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Smith, Dustin (4 February 2009). "R. City Returning Home for Reichhold Performance". St. Thomas Source. Retrieved 28 June 2015. 
  2. ^ a b c Cantor, Paul (11 July 2014). "10 Industry Songwriters You Should Know". Complex. Retrieved 27 June 2015. 
  3. ^ McCarthy, John (12 February 2015). "V.I. rap duo inspires St. Croix young men". Virgin Island Daily News. Retrieved 29 June 2015. 
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Tukes, Timothy (10 February 2015). "Exclusive Interview: Rock City on the 57th #GRAMMYs, Growing Up Poor and #WhatDreamsAreMadeOf". The Huffington Post. Retrieved 28 June 2015. 
  5. ^ a b Platon, Adelle (12 June 2013). "Miley Cyrus Asked For A ‘Black’ Sound For Single, Says Songwriters Rock City". Vibe. Retrieved 29 June 2015. 
  6. ^ a b Mitchell, Gail (6 October 2007). "The Akon Empire". Billboard. Retrieved 28 June 2015. 
  7. ^ a b c d Casteel, Jay (13 May 2011). "R. City Leaves Akon’s Konvict Muzik After Two Year ‘PTFAO’ Campaign". Baller Status. Retrieved 29 June 2015. 
  8. ^ a b "Rihanna teams up with Rock City, Mike WiLL Made It on new single ‘Pour it Up’". Hamada Mania. 29 November 2012. Retrieved 29 June 2015. 
  9. ^ a b "Grammy Awards 2014: List of winners in full". The Independent. 27 January 2014. Retrieved 29 June 2015. 
  10. ^ a b Donahue, Ann (24 September 2008). "Jennifer Hudson: The Triple Threat". Billboard. Retrieved 29 June 2015. 
  11. ^ a b DeRogatis, Jim (8 February 2009). "Jennifer Hudson wins at marathon Grammys show". Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved 29 June 2015. 
  12. ^ Lynch, Joe (5 December 2014). "Grammys 2015: And the Nominees Are…". Billboard. Retrieved 29 June 2015. 
  13. ^ a b c d Checkoway, Laura (October 2008). "On Resorts and Islands with R. City". Vibe. Retrieved 28 June 2015. 
  14. ^ "Twitter Q&A with Planet VI (aka Rock City)". American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers. 8 May 2013. Retrieved 28 June 2015. 
  15. ^ "Register to Vote Yet? Deadline is Sunday". St. Thomas Source. 30 September 2004. Retrieved 29 June 2015. 
  16. ^ "Sean Kingston - Take You There". www.acharts.us. ACharts. Retrieved 27 June 2015. 
  17. ^ Cohen, Jonathan (26 June 2008). "Katy Perry Scores 1,000th No. 1 Hit Of Rock Era". Billboard. Retrieved 27 June 2015. 
  18. ^ "Iyaz - Chart History". www.billboard.com. Billboard. Retrieved 27 June 2015. 
  19. ^ Godfrey, Gavin Phillip (13 November 2008). "Rock City Talks Akon, Obama and Their Debut Album". Rolling Out. Retrieved 29 June 2015. 
  20. ^ Winn-Afeku, Bessie A. (19 July 2011). "Rock City: A Creative Movement and a Clarion Sound". The Huffington Post. Retrieved 29 June 2015. 
  21. ^ Biggaveli, Vinny (4 February 2015). "Interview With Grammy Award Winning Rock City". Vinny Biggaveli. Retrieved 29 June 2015. 
  22. ^ a b "Locked Away (feat. Adam Levine) - Single". www.itunes.apple.com. iTunes. Retrieved 30 June 2015. 

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