Two Northern Kentucky Producers Revel in Grammy Win

Corbett — who lives in Florence — and SunZoo — formerly Covington-based — worked on "King’s Disease" by Nas, which won Best Rap Album at the 2021 Grammy Awards last week.

Mar 22, 2021 at 9:40 am
SunZoo (left) and Corbett - Photos: MarkBWavy
Photos: MarkBWavy
SunZoo (left) and Corbett

Two regional musicians are still riding the good vibes from their win at the 2021 Grammy Awards last week.

Northern Kentucky-connected music producers and songwriters Corbett and SunZoo hit the jackpot when King’s Disease by Nas won Best Rap Album at the 63rd-annual awards on March 14.

Corbett, who lives in Florence with his wife and three kids, contributed to three of King's Disease’s 13 tracks: “Ultra Black”, “All Bad (ft. Anderson .Paak”), and the album’s title track.

Since 2017, Corbett has been traveling back and forth to Los Angeles to work with Hit-Boy, a Grammy-winning producer known for his work with artists like Big Sean, Kanye West, Kendrick Lamar, Beyonce and Travis Scott. Corbett and Hit-Boy collaborated on the late Nipsey Hussle’s “Racks in the Middle,” which won a Grammy for Best Rap Performance in 2020. Hit-Boy was also the executive producer of King’s Disease.

“There's so much music that comes out that's worthy to be honored on that level,” Corbett tells CityBeat. “So, I mean, the fact that we got nominated two years in a row, there’s no way to really even process that.”

According to Corbett, the King’s Disease title track actually features Corbett’s own voice as a result of an interesting circumstance.

In the final hours of the song’s creation, the label that owned the sample Corbett had given Hit-Boy to use on the track refused to clear the song. As a result, Hit-Boy asked Corbett to replace some of the vocals on the track with some of his own, emulating the “vibe” of the sample without actually using it. 

“I think it was like a day or two before the album came out,” Corbett says. “I just did some harmonies and just did a bunch of stuff to the track that he gave me and sent it in and they ended up using everything I did. So it was like it was kind of down to the last minute on that one, but it was a very different process than a lot of the other songs we worked on together.” 

SunZoo also contributed production to “All Bad” featuring Anderson .Paak, who took his own Grammy home for Best Melodic Rap Performance for his song “Lockdown.” SunZoo currently lives in Los Angeles but got his start in producing seven years ago when he lived in Covington.

SunZoo tells CityBeat that he first met Hit-Boy in 2013 when he was invited to join Lil Wayne’s “America’s Most Wanted Tour.” Corbett and SunZoo previously had met through mutual friends in the Cincinnati Rap/producing scene, and it was SunZoo who connected Corbett to Hit-Boy. 

SunZoo says that through working with Hit-Boy, he was introduced to Anderson .Paak, who he now consistently produces for. SunZoo most recently helped produce Anderson .Paak's “CUT EM IN (feat. Rick Ross)” and also worked on Big Sean’s Detroit 2 album last year. 

The producer says that the Grammy Awards were one of the biggest things to happen in his career so far. 

“We all look for a little bit of validation in our lives when we're doing something that could be risky or something that may seem like it's not moving as fast or it may have slowed down or anytime we're creative,” he says. “So when I received validation from somebody like Anderson .Paak, that just gives me that extra bit of motivation to keep going because I know I’m on my way.”

The list of artists and songs that Corbett and SunZoo have helped produce is extensive and continues to grow. Both producers say that they are excited about the opportunities that will arise from the Grammy wins. 

For Corbett, one of these opportunities is the launching of a new app called The Melody App

The Melody App aims to help music producers quickly discover new loops. Users can simply swipe left to skip melodies they do not like, swipe right to save the ones they do and swipe up to send melodies to others. 

Corbett is the CEO of the Melody App and says that the idea came to fruition with the help of his longtime friend and chief experience officer of the app, Jordan Krone. 

“Whenever you get the feeling of wanting to make music, you can just tap your phone and you can start hearing inspiring sounds and things that make you want to create,” Corbett says. “The whole idea is cutting down on the time between producers’ inspiration and creation.”

According to The Melody App website, the app is available to download for free and has plans starting at $3.99 per month.