Radio Killaaaaaa: 10 Hit Songs You Probably Didn’t Know The-Dream Wrote
Terius “The-Dream” Nash has always been a very interesting fella, from his fashion sense to his dating life and his penchant for marrying folks, impregnating them, and then bolting to repeat the same way of doing things with another woman. But when it comes to the music, it’s clear that he’s the definition of a hitmaker. From Beyoncé’s “Single Ladies (Put a Ring On It)” to Justin Bieber’s “Baby” and Rihanna’s “Umbrella,” he’s made millions off of songs that only last minutes. Need proof? Here are 10 songs that have been favorites of ours that he’s been behind, whether writing the track on his own or working in a collective to produce these classics. As Nash would said on his Twitter: “I will still be paid to create another Classic, why. Because I’m Dope.”
Yeah…something like that.
Bed by J. Holiday
Who wasn’t jamming extra hard to this party-closing, sultry evening jam in 2007? The track was written by The-Dream and produced by Los Da Mystro, and was number one on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs for five weeks straight while it peaked at number five on the Billboard Hot 100. The song was so popular in fact, that there were more than 10 remixes to it by everyone from Ja Rule and Trina, to Fabolous and Busta Rhymes. But of course, nothing beats the original!
Run The World (Girls) by Beyoncé
While many people weren’t in love with this song when it was released, no one can deny that when Bey performed it you couldn’t help but like it. And it’s interesting to think that Bey’s ultimate girl-power anthem was penned by The-Dream (who gets lead writing credits, but also was helped by Nick “Afrojack” van de Wall, Wesley “Diplo” Pentz, David “Switch” Taylor, and Adidja Palmer and Ken wa Maria). Of course, The-Dream would go on to write a bevvy of other hits for the singer, and had already helped to write her biggest jam, “Single Ladies (Put a Ring On It).” However, this particular track was less about ditching trifling dudes and more about female empowerment.
Me Against The Music by Britney Spears feat. Madonna
Working alongside Christopher “Tricky” Stewart, The-Dream was part of a collective of writers, including both Madonna and Britney Spears, who helped put the song together. Released in 2003, it was really The-Dream’s big break after Stewart asked him to take part in writing it, as he recounted in an piece by Entertainment Weekly:
”I was just getting into the business. I’m in Atlanta, driving home in a ’92 Cadillac, and I get the call [from collaborator Christopher ‘Tricky’ Stewart]: ‘We’re gonna cut this song with Britney.’ I hung up and just screamed out joyous sounds.”
Okay by Nivea
At the time that Nivea dropped “Okay” as a single, she and The-Dream were married and he was clearly trying to take her career in a new direction, hence the decision to have him executive produce a majority of her second album, Complicated. The song “Okay” was written for the singer back in 2003 with the help of The-Dream and a few other writers, and along with Ciara’s “Goodies,” it was supposed to help usher in the crunk&B era. While Ciara was able to ride that style to further fame, Nivea wasn’t so lucky. But “Okay” is still a banger for those looking to “two-step in their Guccis.”
Turn It Up by Kim Kardashian
Sometimes The-Dream just does some songs strictly for the ducats. I know you all remember this travesty of a track Kim K tried to put out back in 2011. If you’ll recall, there was a top-secret video directed by Hype Williams that Kanye West appeared in (there’s a hint that something was going on a long time ago) where she had Bo Derek braids on and was writhing around on the ground covered in sweat. When the song and video finally was leaked for the world to see, the side-eye to the vocals was unanimous. But on the positive side of things, half of all profits made from the song were given to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.
Ride by Ciara
While the video was deemed too hot for TV by BET, the song itself was my jam! Great bass, perfect for an impromptu dutty wine session. The track was co-written by The-Dream and Tricky Stewart, as well as Ciara and Ludacris who made an appearance to spit a few bars on the track. It was the song that was supposed to put Ciara’s career back on the map, but the accompanying Basic Instinct album was the worst-performing album of her career. She didn’t let that get her down though, as we know she’s back at it and “Body Pary” is everybody’s jam right now!
Hard by Rihanna
It was The-Dream who helped catapult Rihanna’s career into the stratosphere from Bajan songstress to pop bad-a** when he wrote “Umbrella” for her back in 2007, and since then they’ve worked together more over the years (he’s also behind “Birthday Cake” and “Phresh Off The Runway” from her last two albums). One hit you might not have realized he was behind was her Rated R jam, “Hard,” featuring Young Jeezy. It became the singer’s 13th top ten hit, and went on to create one of her favorite sayings: “That Rihanna reign, just won’t let up.”
Girlfriend by Bow Wow and Omarion
Back in 2007 when Bow Wow and Omarion thought teaming up for an album would make them the biggest thing since sliced bread, they received some help to make the catchy hit, “Girlfriend.” It peaked at number 33 on the Billboard Hot 100 charts and peaked at number six on the Hot Rap Tracks charts. And while Bow Wow was teaming up with Omarion, The-Dream actually teamed up with T-Pain of all people to write the song for the guys.
Up Out My Face by Mariah Carey
While Mimi is known for writing a lot of her classic hits, she teamed up with The-Dream to put together the song “Up Out My Face.” The-Dream always helps add some spunk to the track’s of the artists he works with, and he definitely did so for Carey, because this track was something very different for the legend (he was also behind the low-key Eminem diss song by Carey, “Obsessed”). Of course, they would go on to remix the track with Nicki Minaj, way before the ladies wound up having bad blood from their time working on American Idol. Here’s what Minaj had to say circa 2010 to MTV after she was added to the song before things went so left:
“When I met her, she was so funny and silly. I thought when I was gonna work with Mariah, [she] was gonna be like this diva. But we were cracking jokes the whole day. She’s a sweet, down-to-earth person.”
Trading Places by Usher
Of course, not everybody was feeling Usher’s fifth studio album, Here I Stand. But the main banger from that album that I think most people can agree had them jamming was “Trading Places.” The video and song was sultry and sensual and about sexual dominance, and because of that, and The-Dream’s great writing, “Trading Places” peaked at number four on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs charts. It’s also one of those Usher jams that truly sounded like throwback Usher. Not like these electro-pop songs he’s trying to do now…