Nonetheless divisive, Dr. Luke resurges at Grammys — as Tyson Trax

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NEW YORK (AP) — With darkish clouds looming behind him, controversial music producer and hitmaker Dr. Luke rose to the highest of the Billboard charts final 12 months with Doja Cat’s ubiquitous funk-pop jam “Say So,” together with Saweetie’s anthemic bop “Faucet In” and Juice WRLD’s Prime 5 pop smash “Wishing Properly.”

It marked a artistic resurgence for the pop prince, who stays embroiled in a lawsuit with Kesha. His chart domination was adopted by his first Grammy nomination in seven years — cementing his comeback.

That has the music world is cut up — some imagine the artwork and the individual ought to be separated, whereas others have blasted the Recording Academy for rewarding the hitmaker with a nomination for one in every of its prime prizes.

However not the entire academy members might have been conscious they have been voting for Dr. Luke once they accomplished their ballots this 12 months. That is as a result of he used a moniker — Tyson Trax — for Doja Cat’s “Say So,” which he produced and co-wrote. The hit tune is competing for document of the 12 months, the place Dr. Luke is in rivalry because the music’s producer.

“It’s tough to say whether or not or not Grammy voters are conscious that ‘Tyson Trax’ is used as a pseudonym,” Harvey Mason Jr., the academy’s interim president and CEO, stated in a press release to The Related Press. “Whereas it’s true that the ‘Tyson Trax’ producer credit score can be seen on the poll entry, I might think about that numerous voters have been making their choice with Doja Cat in thoughts, pondering primarily in regards to the creative deserves of her efficiency.”

Doja Cat, who launched her debut EP on Dr. Luke’s Kemosabe label in 2014 earlier than Kesha’s lawsuit, can be nominated for greatest new artist and greatest pop solo efficiency on the March 14 Grammys. Dr. Luke produced a number of songs on her sophomore album “Sizzling Pink.” These embody the double-platinum success “Juicy” and the Gucci Mane-assisted hit “Like That,” which reached No. 3 on the R&B charts final 12 months. For these songs, he is credited as Tyson Trax.

“I didn’t know that Tyson Trax was Dr. Luke. I may have appeared it up, however I didn’t, and I didn’t care. It’s a reputation and I’m voting on the creative benefit of the document, so it didn’t matter,” stated Susan Rogers, a professor at Berklee School of Music and Prince’s former workers engineer who’s a Grammy voter.

“Your judgment ought to be based mostly upon who did the very best, most artistic, most creative work in the course of the 12 months; what work goes to advance the state of the business. That’s the one factor that we’re voting on,” she stated. “Anytime we convey the rest into that blend — how we really feel about somebody personally, whether or not we like them or dislike them, know them or don’t know them — we’re being unfair to all of the others.”

Dr. Luke, 47, has additionally used the Tyson Trax pseudonym for his contribution to Toronto rapper-singer Benny Mayne’s “Hokey Pokey.” He’s been known as MADE IN CHINA for his work with pop singer Kim Petras. His producer credit score on Lil Wayne’s “Shimmy” from his 2020 album “Funeral”? Loctor Duke.

Evan Minsker, information editor for the music publication Pitchfork, admitted that a few of his colleagues didn’t acknowledge Dr. Luke was Tyson Trax: “It’s their job to be plugged in (and) they didn’t know Dr. Luke was Tyson Trax.”

“I feel there most likely are numerous instances of (Dr. Luke) sneaking below the radar, individuals not connecting what his different pseudonyms are with who he’s,” Minsker stated.

“No matter who he’s and what his numerous names are, clearly there’s some form of confirmed lead to what Dr. Luke and Doja Cat did collectively,” he continued. “I feel whereas perhaps some individuals didn’t know, I wouldn’t be shocked if some individuals did and simply don’t actually have a tough time falling asleep at night time after placing his title via.”

Dr. Luke was final in Grammy rivalry in 2014 when he competed for non-classical producer and document of the 12 months for his work on Katy Perry’s “Roar.” He emerged because the protege of pop music maestro Max Martin, who produced 23 No. 1 hits all through his profession, working with everybody from pop idols comparable to Backstreet Boys, Britney Spears and N’Sync to up to date stars like Adele, Taylor Swift and The Weeknd.

Collectively, Martin and Dr. Luke crafted hits for Kelly Clarkson, Katy Perry, Pink and Kesha, who he signed in 2005. Finally Dr. Luke stepped into the forefront, helming successes for Miley Cyrus, Pitbull, Nicki Minaj and Flo Rida, logging 17 No. 1 hits.

Dr. Luke has gotten a style of his former life on prime of the charts, with each main label — together with Sony Music, Warner Music Group and Common Music Group — launching successful with him final 12 months. Along with his work with Doja Cat, Juice WRLD, Saweetie and Lil Wayne, he additionally produced “Blind” for rapper DaBaby and co-wrote “Damaged Glass” for hit DJ-producer Kygo. This 12 months he produced one other hit for Saweetie with “Finest Good friend,” which is at present No. 10 on the rap charts.

“I feel (the Grammys) set themselves up slightly bit to fail as a result of as a substitute of getting this huge celebratory second, there have been numerous questions hastily. ‘How come you bought Dr. Luke in (one in every of) the large 4 (classes)?’ That’s fairly shocking,” Pitchfork’s Minsker stated. “I can see why that is the second for (‘Say So’) and I additionally was shocked to see that it will be nominated in such a manner that (Dr. Luke) would get an award at this stage in his life.”

Kesha, 34, has accused Dr. Luke of sexual assault throughout their yearslong partnership, allegations he vigorously denies. The courtroom case continues, regardless of a New York decide dismissing Kesha’s sexual abuse-related claims in 2016 on procedural grounds; no ruling was made on whether or not the allegations have been true. Kesha misplaced one other spherical when a decide stated she made a defamatory assertion about Dr. Luke in a 2016 textual content message telling Woman Gaga the producer had additionally raped Perry.

Kesha’s legal professionals are interesting the ruling, which didn’t resolve different elements of his defamation and breach-of-contract go well with, together with the essential query of whether or not Kesha’s rape allegation is true. The decide stated that’s for a jury to resolve at trial.

Fiona Apple, who’s nominated for 3 Grammys, slammed the academy for Dr. Luke’s inclusion this 12 months. She questioned the group as a result of three years in the past, they invited Kesha to carry out “Praying” — the deeply emotional and touching piano tune arguably about her expertise with Dr. Luke — on the present. Kesha was joined onstage by Cyndi Lauper, Andra Day, Bebe Rexha, Camila Cabello, Julia Michaels and the Resistance Revival Refrain for the extensively praised efficiency.

The music appeared on the album “Rainbow,” which was launched on Dr. Luke’s label however was the primary time she created music commercially with out him. The music even earned Kesha her first pair of Grammy nominations.

Berklee’s Rogers defined that “as a member of the feminine intercourse … we have now to be delicate and tolerant of girls who make accusations of sexual impropriety or coercion or any variety of issues that they may be sufferer of. We’ve got to hearken to them. We’ve got to be credulous. We’ve got to imagine them.

“We even have to acknowledge it’s a two-sided dialog,” she continued. “Either side have the precise to precise themselves. I don’t dismiss Kesha’s (claims) … I don’t dismiss the truth that she had a tough time with Dr. Luke — what I’m saying is that I acknowledge that it has completely nothing to do with my vote as a member of the Recording Academy.”

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