Sac natives grip the Grammys
From part-time hustling to full-time dreaming
The Stereotypes had no clue they’d be nominated for a Grammy this year, let alone three.
“Never give up,” says Jonathan Yip, producer and one fourth of the Stereotypes. “If we would’ve given up, we would have missed this by a year.”
Yip, Ray Romulus, Jeremy Reeves and Ray Charles McCullough II are the masterminds behind some of this year’s top radio bangers, and they’ve been on the road headed to this moment for more than 10 years. The musicians hail from different hometowns—Reeves and Yip from Sacramento, Romulus from New York, McCullough from the Bay Area—but their paths have crossed multiple times in Sac.
The group is now nominated in some heavy-hitting Grammy categories: Song of the Year and Best R&B Song for their work on Bruno Mars’ No. 1 Billboard song “That’s What I Like” and Producer of the Year for work with Bruno Mars, Sevyn Streeter, Iggy Azalea and other artists.
“It all feels so surreal,” Reeves says. “I’ve always felt like we were the underdog. … It feels really good to be recognized this highly.”
The Stereotypes have credits on Ne-Yo’s album Year of the Gentlemen, which got them a Grammy nomination for the first time in 2009, but this year is next-level big for the group.
“We have been training for this moment,” Yip says. “This a marathon, not a sprint. We are trying to last.”
The Stereotypes, although seemingly new on the scene, have been in the game for a decade. Some of my favorite hits growing up have been sprinkled with the sauce of this eclectic group: songs like “Damaged” by Danity Kane have been blessed with the producing powers of the Stereotypes.
After finding success with their first few hits, their careers came to a crossroads, they say. The group suspected they were being taken advantage of, and this led them to part ways with their manager at the time. It left them looking for direction on the business side.
“We felt like, ’Are we going to be another casualty to the entertainment industry? Do we need to get jobs?’” Yip remembers. “It threw us into a career depression.”
But it wouldn’t make a great story without that good ol’ plot twist! The group decided to start studying the business elements of music while doing other projects in and out of Korea. To support themselves during their bounce-back, they got into K-pop—a move none of them expected to have any long-lasting effects on their careers. But it renewed their inspiration.
“Always know how to be a creative and run both sides of the game,” Reeves says. “Make your team strong. Don’t be afraid to get rid of the people who aren’t holding their weight,” he adds, chuckling to himself.
The Stereotypes stem from diverse backgrounds: Asian, Haitian, African-American, Samoan and Caucasian. Each person brings their own funky creativity to the table, giving representation to unheard voices.
Recently the group released a collaborative single with Pitbull, “Jungle,” featuring E-40 and Abraham Mateo. They also produced KYLE’s current single “Sunshine” featuring Miguel, which is the official song for ESPN’s 2017-2018 college basketball coverage.
This four-piece has no plans of slowing down any time soon.