From blessings to beats: The rise of the Bronx’s Amadeus

From blessings to beats: The rise of the Bronx’s Amadeus
Antwan J. Thompson
Sammy Dean

Of course, one of music’s most talented and prominent producers is a Bronx guy.

His name is Antwan J. Thompson, but you may know him better as Amadeus.

He’s spent the past 18 years producing tracks for quite the plethora of superstars like Justin Bieber, 50 Cent, LL CoolJ, Missy Elliott and of course the borough’s own Jennifer Lopez.

When you can drum as well as you can crank out beats, it’s no wonder why Chris Brown would keep you on his speed dial.

That drumming is where it all began years ago for Amadeus at his home on 169th Street and Washington Avenue.

“My mom would make me go to church every Sunday growing up whether I wanted to or not,” he said. Little did an adolescent Antwan know that his weekly treks to the Church of the Living God at 4414 White Plains Road would give him his first opportunity to produce beats on an MPC2000XL and even get more exposure on the drums.

“From there I got closer with God and I got closer with music,” the 38-year-old recounted about his childhood.

While practicing the drums and his faith at Cardinal Hayes High School, Amadeus was noticed by a fellow Bronxite, hip-hop mogul Buckwild.

“He took me into the studio. He began introducing me to everyone in the industry at that time and from there I took it upon myself to just network and network and network,” Amadeus said.

It was around that time he coined his producer name of Amadeus as well.

“I wanted to be the new Amadeus Motzart of hip hop,” he said.

That networking led to famous NYC rappers like Lil’ Mo, Jim Jones, Remy Ma, and Busta Rhymes giving Amadeus his first professional production opportunities.

“They gave me a shot,” Amadeus said.

Things only went up for the faithful producer in the following years. Amadeus then linked up with Chris Brown, most notably producing nine tracks on his ‘Heartbreak On A Full Moon’ album along with many, many others.

Any sports fan will also recognize Amadeus’ work on the First Take theme song for ESPN from 2014 on as well.

“I love that people hear it everyday,” he said in excitement.

With all of that stated, Amadeus still doesn’t believe he’s fully made it yet. “I am blessed to come as far as I have. Don’t get me wrong, but there’s much more I want to be doing, especially for the Bronx,” he said upon return from his weekly Las Vegas residency at Drai’s nightclub.

In the past he’s hosted events for his home block and neighborhood called Amadeus Comes Home, in which he brought other producers and artists like Tony Sunshine to the Bronx, showing kids how to produce and explain what it takes to make it in music.

“It was a bunch of people hanging out on the corner of the block doing the right thing,” he said.

Amadeus also still attends the church that literally showed him the light for production as well.

It’s pretty fitting that Amadeus’ mission is to “be a light for the Bronx,” in his own words.

To learn more about Amadeus’ music and future plans for Bronx philanthropy, follow his Instagram at amadeusbpm.

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