A trio born and raised in Philadelphia, Allen “Bizkit” Arthur, Keith “Butta” Justice and Clayton “Gravy” Riley are the musicians that make up the dynamic production team: Phatboiz. Proving to be a solid force in the industry, Phatboiz has recently worked with Ne-Yo and Miguel on their latest releases R.E.D. and Kaleidoscope Dreams respectively.
Bizkit and Butta met while attending the Philadelphia High School for Creative and Performing Arts, where they began creating together. Working out of Bizkit’s basement, the two slowly began crafting a sound. Bizkit became entrenched in the robust musical landscape of the early 2000s in Philadelphia, playing with his horn section U Horn, while Butta went off to study at Long Island University.
While Butta finished up school, Bizkit worked diligently and eventually landed a gig playing in John Legend’s band where he met Gravy. Deciding that Gravy would be a great addition to their team, Bizkit decided to introduce Gravy to his longtime friend and partner and the rest is history. Working together since 2007, Phatboiz signed a publishing deal as a joint venture between John Legend’s Homeschool Entertainment and Cherry Lane/BMG in 2010.
Working non-stop with many of the industry’s best and brightest stars, including Ledisi and John Legend, Phatboiz has also began cultivating new talent in their artist Dunson. Incorporating that soulful Philly sound, they have set out to make music that is “timeless, classic and emotional,” which continues to be the legacy of music birthed from this area.
When explained, their creative process is like listening to a recipe. According to Gravy, Butta adds the meat and potatoes, by adding keys and bass, Bizkit is the bread of the meal, programming drums and mixing, and Gravy adds the seasoning with the special effects, string and vocal arrangements.
Riding high on a great year for their music, the production team has been nominated for not one but two Soul Train Music Awards, including the coveted Ashford & Simpson Songwriter’s Award and Song of the Year for their work with John Legend on “Tonight (Best You Ever Had)”. The song was featured in 2012 film Think Like a Man as well as on the movie soundtrack.
The 2012 Soul Train Music Awards will air this Sunday, November 25, and we’re rooting for these young Philadelphians. We have a feeling they’re going to bring home a nice new accent piece to their bustling studio!
UPDATE: Phatboiz Win!
Phatboiz took home the Ashford & Simpson Songwriter’s Award for their work on John Legend’s “Tonight (Best You Ever Had).” Congrats, guys!