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In the vein of Quincy Jones Jr. or Holland-Dozier-Holland, Rashad Ringo Smith has been a persistent creative presence during modern urban music’s golden moments. Since his rise to prominence in hip-hop’s golden age, his beats have become must-haves for nearly every major hip-hop and R&B artist on the East Coast. Known for lending his talent to names that remain in the limelight amidst a sea of one-hit wonders, Smith remains the paradigm of classy sampling and innovative production.
At the age of 19, Smith was providing beats for Main Source, K-Cut, Rakim, MC Lyte and A Tribe Called Quest. With Uptown Records sessions keyboardist Avon Marshall he formed the production duo Tumbling Dice, providing tracks for the likes of Mary J. Blige and Jodeci. The duo would become resident producers at the newly formed Bad Boy Records. During this era he also worked on tracks for numerous chart-topping artists including Nas, LL Cool J, and Shabba Ranks. In 1995 he laid the beat for a remix of The Notorious B.I.G.’s “One More Chance,” one of the few remixes that would surpass the original version for radio playability. The source of that sample, DeBarge’s “Stay With Me,” made a comeback to club staple status, as would several more of Smith’s sample choices (“Love and Happiness” by Al Green and “Blues and Pants” by James Brown to name a couple).
After his stint with Tumbling Dice, Smith found himself behind the boards for Busta Rhymes, composing tracks for a number of songs including “Woo Hah!! (Got You All In Check),” the single that catapulted Busta into mainstream solo success. To this day, collaborations continue to roll in, and his repertoire includes production for Aaliyah, Fat Joe, MC Lyte, Das EFX, Yoyo, Slick Rick, Carl Thomas, En Vogue, 50 Cent, and Erykah Badu.