Deputy Is Commanding The Next Generation Of R&B Acts


As temperatures started to warm up around the country, R&B fans eagerly waited to see which song would cut through the noise and become the undisputed song of the summer.  Just in the nick of time, songwriter extraordinaire Victoria Monét’s “On My Mama” off her major label debut album, Jaguar 2, snatched the title. 

One of the key conductors of the irresistible smash song is producer Deputy. The Brooklyn native has forged his way through the industry, securing collaborations with rap superstars J. Cole, French Montana, Flo Rida, and DJ Mustard along the way. However, “On My Mama” shows that he’s ready to shake up things in the R&B space. 

Now up for Record of the Year at the 2024 Grammy Awards, Deputy, like his creative partner Victoria Monét, has the industry’s attention and fans’ listening ears. Ahead of the annual ceremony, I caught up with the nominee to discuss the impact of the song, working with Victoria Monét, R&B’s resurgence in the mainstream, his creative vision, and more. 

Read the full transcript of the conversation below.

ThisIsRnB: First and foremost, what does this moment mean to you?

Deputy: “This moment means that hard work, being consistent and disciplined, pays off. Being nominated for Record Of The Year and having one of the biggest R&B songs for the year is so amazing. Just the acknowledgment of the accomplishment… a lot of times, as a creative… nothing is guaranteed. [Creatives] work, and we work, and we work, spending so many hours in the studio. So this moment just brings everything full circle.”

 Thanks to creatives like yourself, R&B is making a triumphant comeback in the mainstream’s eyes. We saw that with which artists secured the most nominations at the 2024 Grammys. What do you think pushed R&B back to the forefront?

I think with music, we go through cycles. Different genres. Different sounds. [Different sound eras. I feel that about 10 years ago, we transitioned into what is considered the vibe era. So you had Jhené Aiko, SZA, and more snowballed the vibe era. Bryson Tiller and H.E.R. ushered in a new sound… which opened up the platform for other artists, producers, and writers to shine the way that we are now. And, like with anything, it just elevates. So right now, I feel like we’re getting back to the space where each artist can have their own sound and be their own entity. And it grew into where we are with Victoria Monét. Yeah, she’s a vibe, but she’s her vibe.”

 Speaking of Victoria Monét, let’s talk about the creative process that went into crafting “On My Mama.”

Well, okay, to do that, I would have to give the example of how we created prior to ‘On My Mama.’ Our very first session together, we got high, and she gave me this, like, ‘I want to do the 70s inspired R& B music. I haven’t quite figured out, but [that] is the direction.’ So, she played a few records, and after getting high, we created ‘Jaguar,’ the song. That song sparked the whole Jaguar project.

So, when it came to ‘Jaguar 2,’ we went back to the studio; she had just given birth to her daughter. This time, I was the one who was smoking, LOL, but we approached it the same way. Victoria knows what she wants. She’s an amazing curator, which makes things easier for me as a creative and as a producer to create that platform.

Doing ‘On My Mama,’ Jeff “Gitty” Gitelman and I started the beat, and Victoria started singing. When I heard the words of the hook, for some reason, I just heard the Chalie Boy’s ‘I Look Good’ sample going into my head, and I turned to her, and I was like, ‘Yo, what if we [blended it in]. And she looked at me and was like, ‘Yo, that could probably work.’ But it took a minute because Victoria has her own creative process. She’s in her head [but that’s part of] her genius. She took the words and created her own melody, and ‘On My Mama’ was birthed.”

Consumers are experiencing what we call in the editorial world ‘sampling fatigue.’ Were you wary of using a commonly known sample? How were you able to honor the sample but add a new flare to it?

“I understand the ‘sampling fatigue,’ and that’s all right. And I think that’s happening because labels lack creative ways to market artists. So sampling a song has now become the marketing tool to introduce newer artists because you’re hearing something familiar, right? 

I think for ‘On My Mama,’ the only difference is that we didn’t go in thinking we were going to create ‘On My Mama.’ We didn’t think we were going to sample Chalie Boy. The beat sounds nothing like the [initial] record and the lyrics spoke to what the hook is about – self-empowerment. So [‘On My Mama’] wasn’t heavily dependent on [the sample]. So I think that the song worked because it had those two combinations before you even got to the hook compared to other songs that look to solely repurpose the sample itself.”

Coming from Rihanna’s ‘B*tch Better Have My Money’ to Victoria Monét’s ‘On My Mama,’ you’re creating a distinctive signature yourself. Not sonically but emotionally. What advice would you give to producers looking to really tap into their creativity?

It’s just me understanding my intention and my purpose as a producer. I look at those that I consider my GOATs: Pharrell [Williams], The Neptunes, Timbaland, Teddy Riley, Stevie Wonder, and Quincy Jones. They all had their thing. When you heard a Timbaland beat, you understood this was Timbaland. It was different and injected a level of urgency and disruption. Same with Pharrell. You knew what Neptune’s beats sounded like. You know Stevie Wonder’s chords. Quincy Jones is like a magician. He’s done a  lot of different things throughout his career. 

Be disruptive and be urgent is the advice that I give to young producers coming up in their creative [journey]. It’s imperative that, one, the culture keeps getting pushed forward, but it’s also imperative that you define your sound as a producer that carves out a space in this industry that only you can identify.

*B*tch Better Have My Money’ was disruptive, and it was urgent to me because I got tired of listening to the same type of song. The same type of beat. So I’m always encouraging producers to be disruptive, urgent, and find their own lane. You find success when you walk towards fear because you’re now embarking on a level that you have never experienced. And on the other side of that, you ascend.”

You got your start as a producer in rap, but now you’re collecting R&B credits like they are Marvel’s Infinity Stones. From Victoria Monét to Fridayy. Is there anyone else you’d like to work with in R&B?

 “Anyone who wants to be a star, who wants to take the next step in their career, whoever that is, and whatever that looks like, I’m here for that. I want to take them to the next level and do some amazing stuff.”

Be sure to catch the 2024 Grammys ceremony broadcasting live on Sunday, February 4, via CBS at 8 p.m. Eastern. Learn more here.


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