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The Y’s Produce “Winner”s

New Production Group "The Y's" (Justin Timberlake, Rob Knox & James Fauntleroy II)

New Production Group "The Y's" (Justin Timberlake, Rob Knox & James Fauntleroy II)

Jamie Foxx has not taken time to slow down since the massive success of his hit with T-Pain, “Blame It.” After having one of the most played songs of 2009 and a string of hit movies, Jamie Foxx is certainly feeling like a winner. It is with that in mind that Jamie hooked up with another one of the hottest singer/actors out there, Justin Timberlake for his new song “Winner.” The song is another key milestone in the discography of the work of production trio, “The Y’s”.  As their unique name comes up in this post, they probably sound like a new production group on the screne, but they are in fact the exact opposite of rookies in the game!

The Y’s is actually a production group headed up by singer/song writer/producer Justin Timberlake and two other producer/song writers formerly associated with The Underdogs, Rob Knox and James Fauntleroy II. All three of these guys came together naturally when they all  continued to network throughout the business. It all began when Justin Timberlake of *N Sync was branching out on his own for his debut solo album Justified. While most of that album was produced by The Neptunes and Timbaland, the two slow songs were produced by Brian McKnight and production group The Underdogs. It was durring the sessions for Justified when Timberlake’s relationship with The Underdogs began. They came up with a handful of songs, one of which made the album, “Still On My Brain,” another that was later sold to Justin Guarini of American Idol fame  for his debut album called, “Thinking Of You.”

Justin Timberlake

“Still On My Brain”

(Produced By The Underdogs)

(Jive Records)

 

As mentioned in previous posts, The Underdogs are a production group that was formed around the songwriting and production of Harvey Mason Jr. and Damon Thomas. The production group had a rotation of various song writers and producers that would contribute to various songs under the Underdogs name. The full list of personel imcluded the following people .

Harvey Mason, Jr.
Damon Thomas
Steven Russell
Saint Nick
Rob Knox
James Fauntleroy II
Tiffany Fred
Erik Griggs
Kevin Randolph
David Stewart
Tank

with on occasion, Eric Dawkins
Tony Dixon
Mischke

Separately, Timberlake and The ‘Dogs grew as songwriters and producers. The Underdogs started up under  Babyface and Rodney Jerkins. It was under Babyface’s wing that they got noticed as co-writers of such hits like Drue Hill’s “These Are The Times” and Pink’s “Most Girls.” Away from Babyface they first got noticed  for their production for Tyrease, B2k, Beyonce, Chris Brown, Jojo and many others. During their time with the Underdogs, members of the Y’s Robin “Rob Knox” Tadross and James Fauntleroy II, are probably best known for their writing and producing for Chris Brown. Examples of this include “Superhuman” featuring Keri Hilson, “Take You Down”  and “No Air” w/Jordin Sparks.

Chris Brown Featuring Keri Hilson

“Superhuman”

(Produced By The Underdogs)

(Jive Records/ZLG)

 

Chris Brown

“Take You Down”

(Produced By The Underdogs)

(Jive Records/ZLG)

 

Jordin Sparks & Chris Brown

“No Air”

(Produced By The Underdogs)

(19/Jive Records/JLG)

 

Pop/R&B superstar Justin Timberlake has been developing also as a songwriter and producer for many years. He first began his song writing with *N Sync group member, JC Chasez notably on their Christmas tune, “Merry Chrismas, Happy Holidays”. (Veit Renn/JC CHASEZ/Justin Timberlake/Vincent Degiorgio)

He continued to grow as a  writer, and was responsible for co-writing and/or producing seven songs on *N Sync’s Celebrity album. This includes “Gone” (w/Wade Robson) and “Girlfriend” .(w/Chad Hugo & Pharrell Williams aka The Neptunes) It was those two songs that allowed Justin to spearhead *N Sync into the R&B/Soul genre. It sparked his relationship with The Neptunes that would blossom into them taking JT under their wing , as they produced 9 songs on his solo debut.

*N Sync

“Gone”

(Produced By Justin Timberlake/Wade Robson)

(Jive Records)

*N Sync

“Girlfriend”

(Produced By The Neptunes)

(Jive Records)

Justin Timberlake Featuring Clipse

“Like I Love You”

(Produced By The Neptunes)

(Jive Records)

JT”s new R&B direction sparked his friendship with Timbaland on his first album and grew on his second solo album. In 2006 Justin’s production and writing skills were very sharp. He not only co-wote, but also co-produced nearly every song on album number 2 with the likes of Timbaland, Danja and Will I Am.

Justin Timberlake Featuring Timbaland

“Sexyback”

(Produced By Timbaland, Danja & Justin Timberlake)

(Jive Records/ZLG)

Justin Timberlake Featuring T.I.

“My Love”

(Produced By Timbaland, Danja & Justin Timberlake)

(Jive Records/ZLG)

It was after the critical acclaim and commercial success of Timberlake’s second album, FutureSex/LoveSound, that made him popular as not only an artist, but also as one of the most sought after song writer/producers for other artists. Many artist went to both Timbaland and Timberlake to help them achieve their balance of critical growth with commercial potential. In some  ways it was in fact Justin’s growth as a producer that allowed his producer Timbaland to reinvent his sound with his artists like Keri Hilson and Nelly Furtado.  In recent years he has written and/or co-produced songs for the likes of Madonna, Rihanna, Macy Gray, Reba Macentire, Duran Duran, and even former Audioslave front-man, Chris Cornell.

Madonna Featurng Justin Timberlake & Timbaland

“4 Minutes (To Save The World”

(Produced By Timbaland, Justin Timberlake & Danja)

(Warner Bros. Records)

Duran Duran Featuring Justin Timberlake & Timbaland

“Nite Runner”

(Produced By Timbaland & Danja w/Justin Timberlake)

(Epic Records)

Duran Duran

“Falling Down”

(Produced By Justin Timberlake)

(Epic Records)

Rihanna Featuring Justin Timberlake

“Rehab”

(Produced By Timbaland & Justin Timberlake)

(SRP/Def Jam Records/IDJMG)

Chris Cornell Featuring Justin Timberlake

“Take Me Alive”

(Produced By Timbaland, Jim Beanz & Justin Timberlake)

(Mosley Music Group/Interscope Records)

After developing his sound as a producer both with and away from Timbaland, It was then when  Justin got together with Knox and Fauntleroy as “The Y’s.” Most of The Y’s early work started on the debut album of Esmee Denters’, Outta Here. This was the first release from Justin’s label, Tennman and Interscope Records. (Not IN USA). Away from from Esmee’s project, most people would probably know The Y’s production work on T.I.’s, “Dead And Gone”. in which Justin is also a featured performer. They also produced 2 songs on Ciara’s Fantasy Ride album, including, “Love Sex Magic” also featuring Timberlake.

The hit streak for the Ys is going to continue with yet another, “Winner.” As previously mentioned, singer and actor, Jamie Foxx has enlisted the help of the trio to write and produce his next hit, “Winner.” Although it was not originally intended to, the song also features Timberlake on vocals, after an excited Jamie Foxx asked JT to appear along side him after hearing the demo. The song is the breakout single from his forthcoming album, Body , From J. Records. It is currently being used as the theme of this year’s NBA Playoffs.

Key Songs Produced By The Ys

T.I. Featuring Justin Timberlake

“Dead And Gone”

(Grand Hustle/Atlantic Records)

Jamie Foxx Featuring Justin Timberlake & T.I.

(J. Records/RMG)

Ciara Featuring Justin Timberlake

“Love Sex Magic”

(LaFace/Jive Records/JLG)

Leona Lewis

“Don’t Let Me Down” Featuring Justin Timberlake

(Co Produced By Mike Elizondo)

Syco/J. Records/RCA Records/RMG

FOR MORE ON THE Y’S CLICK HERE TO CHECK OUT AN INTERVIEW WITH THEM ON JUSTINTIMBERLAKE.COM