Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Yesteryears Producers: Kay gee

East Orange NJ native, Kier Gist (Kay Gee) was known most notably as one third of Naughty By Nature, entirely producing the first four albums. While in high-school he also produced the groups pre-TommyBoy release, as they were then named, The New Style. The track 'Scuffin' Those Knees', off their New Style album 'Independent Leaders', received reasonable airplay.

The group later meet Queen Latifah, who signed them to flavor Unit Management (whose artist Kay Gee would later produce extensively for). The group changed their image and their accordingly their name, re-branding themselves Naughty By Nature before signing a new record deal with Tommy Boy. Kay Gee's production on NBN's first two albums, quickly cemented him as one of the most successful and sought after producers of the early to mid-90's. His production on the first Naughty by Nature album generated major hits, 'O.P.P.' and 'Ghetto Bastard (Everything's Gonna Be Alright)'...although arguably, his production on 'O.P.P.' was jacked from fellow Jerseyite Tony D's 1988 track 'Music Makes You Move'. The beats on the two singles are pretty much identical IMHO...Tony D obviously thought so too and sued ; with the case being settled out of court.

Kay Gee's production can be best described as heavily sample-driven with infectious drum loops and synths, as evidenced by early production on The New Style's 'Smooth Mood'. His catchy production style guaranteed Naughty had "two anthems per album", for each of their first four albums. Kay Gee interestingly, often produced some of Naughty's most successful tracks in between albums, for example 'Uptown Anthem', 'Poor Man's Poetry' and 'Connections' from the Juice, Poetic Justice and New Jersey Drive soundtrack respectively.

In the early days, Kay Gee produced extensively for flavor-Unit artists. His production credits from that time include D-Nice ('Time to Flow' , a single which continues exactly where Naughty's first album left off) and Queen Latifah (he produced the Grammy Award winning single 'U.N.I.T.Y'), in addition to producing for his own Illtown Record artists including The Rottin Razkals (the group released one album had minor hits with 'Hey Alright' and 'Oh Yeah') and The Road Dawgs. Outside of working for friends and associates, he also produced notable tracks for Eazy-E (the addictive 'Hit the...') and for Run DMC on their 'Down With The King' album ('Hit Em Hard').

Kay Gee production has been equally as successful in RB. He gained early success producing Aaliyah's now haunting 'Are You Ready' and Zhane's hit 'Hey Mr DJ' . However, Kay Gee's most successful RB production was created for a group named Next, for which he produced the chart topping 'Too Close' (US#2) - a song that imaginatively reused a sample from Kurtis Blow's 1982 single 'Christmas Rappin''. He would later produce another hit for Next titled 'Wifey', which appears on their second album.

In 1996, Kay Gee's production helped win the group a Grammy for Rap Album of the Year (Poverty's Paradise). However, an ongoing dispute between Kaygee and Treach on group royalties, saw him leave Naughty By Nature in late 2000 to concentrate on his Divine Mill label. They later settled the dispute through an organized prizefight (seriously) although Kay Gee never officially rejoined the group. Since then, he has been relatively quiet - although a recycled Rottin Razkals beat appeared in 2003 on 'Lovely Day Pt 2' for Luther Vandross' Grammy winning 'Walk With My Father' album.

Kay Gee is best remembered for his imaginative use of samples, that generated a catalogue of memorable crossover tracks.

Other Notable 12" Singles:

Naughty By Nature - Uptown Anthem 1991

Run DMC - Hit 'Em Hard 1993

Naughty By Nature -
Poor Man's Poetry 1993

Eazy E -
Hit The Hooker 1995

Naughty By Nature - Hang Out and Hustle 1995

Eazy E - Nutz on Ya Chin

Aaliyah -
Are You Ready 1996

Notorious BIG
Miss U 1996

Naughty By Nature Feat. Rottin Razkals
It's Workin 1997

Naughty By Nature
- Mourn You Till I Join You

Rottin Razkals
- Hey, Alright

Deborah Cox
- It's Over Now 1999

Most Recent Production Credits:

Koffee Brown - Weekend Thing

Shade Sheist
- Where I Wanna Be

Luther Vandross feat. Busta Rhymes
- Lovely Day Pt. 2 2004

Artists Produced For

Naughty By Nature, D-Nice, Queen Latifah, Rottin Razkals, Run DMC, Road Dawgs, Jahiem, Zhane, Next, Eazy E, Deborah Cox, Krayzie Bone, Luther Vandross, Calvin Richardson, Allure, Aaliyah, The Transitions, RL, Syleena Johnson, Shade Sheist, M.A.G, Midwikid, Mystic, Notorious BIG, Tracey Lee

Shoot outs to Mattmatical from canibringmygat for the NS and TD tracks.

An earlier version of this article was posted on: http://themongoslade.modblog.com

Tags: Kay Gee, Naughty By Nature, 90's, Rottin Razkals, Hip-Hop


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