Todd Ray

Last updated
Todd Ray
Also known asT-Ray
Born Lancaster, South Carolina, U.S.
Origin Los Angeles, California, U.S.

Todd Ray, known professionally as T-Ray, is an American record producer and mixing engineer, known for producing Cypress Hill 1993 single "I Ain't Goin' Out Like That" and having founded the Venice Beach Freakshow in 2006, as well as creating and executive producing the TV Series Freakshow for AMC . He has also worked with the Beastie Boys, Biz Markie, MC Serch, Double X Posse, Kool G Rap, Bo$$, Funkdoobiest, MC Thick, The Whooliganz, Artifacts, Mick Jagger, Helmet, Korn, Audioslave, (həd)pe, Snot, Ugly Americans, G. Love & Special Sauce, Dilated Peoples and Non Phixion among others. He has won two Grammy Awards and a Latin Grammy Award for his work with Santana and Ozomatli and was nominated for a Grammy Award for "I Ain't Goin' Out Like That".


Early life

Todd Ray was born in Lancaster, South Carolina. As a teenager, in 1982, Todd fell in love with the early hip hop singles coming out of New York and began DJing and performing locally with friends. In 1986, he landed a record contract which led him to New York where he met his future wife, Danielle. He and Danielle ultimately moved to Los Angeles, settling in the suburbs to raise their two children.

Music production

Growing up in the rural South, Ray's living conditions and local entertainment options left much to be desired. After hearing a friend's copy of Afrika Bambaataa & the Soulsonic Force's "Planet Rock", Ray purchased a pair of turntables. He and his friends began performing locally. At this time, their group did not have a name and people would simply refer to them as 'those white boys'. Swatch Watch sponsored them, flying them to Breckenridge, Colorado, for one of the first ever snowboarding events, where Converse Sneakers reps provided additional sponsorship. [1] Using his portion of the sponsorship money, T-Ray began building his record collection, which provided a solid foundation for his budding production skills. After mastering the concept of 'breaks', he quickly finished his group's first demo. A club in nearby Charlotte, North Carolina, was having a talent contest which Todd won several weeks in a row, which qualified him for the finals. The final competition was judged by representatives from Def Jam and PolyGram. Although Todd did not win the final competition, a PolyGram representative approached Todd with the offer of a record contract in 1986. [1]

With the ink still drying on their deal, T-Ray and his group, moved straight from South Carolina to Rosedale, Queens, where they finished an album for Tin Pan Apple Records and appeared on the Fresh Fest Tour. But PolygGram's rival, Def Jam, quickly became a household name and by the summer of 1987, the group broke up. Todd eventually ran out of money and had to move back to South Carolina. [2] With no rural job opportunities, and his pre-med scholarship lost, Todd worked non-stop on music production. Unable to afford even the floppy disks to save the beats, he would just record them on cassette.

Ray helped his family build furniture out of wood, which he dubbed 'folk art' furniture, with the tree bark still attached. People began paying handsomely for his chairs and he was able to save enough money to make the trip back to New York. Ray got a call back on his application as an intern at Big Beat Records. Todd played a tape of his beats for Craig Kallman and informed him "All I have is music". The morning after, Kallman called Todd (about Kenny Dope's promo for Red Alert) and told him "if you know how to make this [recorded loop] into a record, you've got a job". T-Ray was the producer of Big Beat Records' first hip-hop 12-inch, 'Supa Cat' (1991- Todd is credited on the album as 'The Mad Racket'). 'Supa Cat' sold 70,000 copies and was the true beginning of T-Ray's career as a producer. He went on to produce an entire album for Double X, with 'Not Gonna Be Able To Do It" (1992) becoming his first video. T-Ray produced 'I Aint Goin' Out Like That' for Cypress Hill's album Black Sunday (1993) and was nominated for a Grammy for it (Best Rap single). [3] Todd then became closely affiliated with the DJ Muggs-led Soul Assassins producing for Cypress Hill and Funkdoobiest, among others.

By 1996, Todd had begun to produce rock & roll. His 1993 remix of House of Pain/Helmet collaboration (Judgement Night soundtrack) led to his producing of the entire Helmet album, which led to more rock gigs, including 311, KoЯn, Snot, Hed PE, John Spencer Blues Explosion and White Zombie. In 1999, T-Ray did production for Santana (which led to a Grammy Award in 2000 for Album of the Year) and a Latin group named Ozomatli who he won two other Grammys with, including a Latin Grammy- it was during this time that his life came full circle: "It was sort of like destiny in a way, for me to move from the woods to New York City," explains Todd Ray. "To get on as a producer, to go through turmoil, through hip-hop, and get to the point where I felt that people were doing hip-hop that I couldn't respect, so I moved to the West Coast to do rock & roll shit. I run into a group called Ozomatli who I wanted to do 'Incredible Bongo Beats' with. Their DJ just happened to be Cut Chemist, who I knew nothing about. But, as we're finishing the record he tells me this fucking story of how he was inspired by this fucking tape that he got from down South, and that tape was my fucking tape. The same tape I made in that shack, the same tape that I played for Craig when I met him at Big Beat. The same tape that I had played for the trees in Lancaster, South Carolina. I had made one copy for Eclipse (yes- that Eclipse), who originally lived in South Carolina too, who had sent it to an old friend in Rhode Island, who moved to L.A. and became one of the members of Jurassic 5, whose DJ just happened to be Cut Chemist. I felt like I had come 360 degrees!" [Elemental Magazine, Issue #62]

Venice Beach Freakshow

Ray founded the Venice Beach Freakshow in 2006. It quickly became known for its unique performers, as well as its large collection of oddity specimens. These included the world's largest collection of two-headed animals, including a two-headed chicken, a two-headed cow, and a pair of two-headed turtles, amongst others. While many specimens were dead, there were also around ten two-headed animals living in the Freakshow. [4] This later led to the unscripted reality television show Freakshow , which depicted the lives of Ray, his family, and the show's performers. It ran for two seasons.

In 2017, it was announced that the Venice Beach Freakshow would be closing. [5] This was after eight months of dispute with the building's new owners, Snapshot Partners, rumored to be associated with the Snapchat brand as part of the company's buy-up of Venice Beach property. [6] Snapchat denied these claims, stating that they are unaffiliated with Snapshot Partners and was uninterested in the floor of the property in which the Freakshow was housed. Despite this, evidence shows that Snapchat did associate with Snapshot Partners in acquiring the building, which led to the Freakshow being a part of protests like #EvictSnapchat, fighting the gentrification of Venice Beach. [7] The Venice Beach Freakshow's closing is considered by critics of gentrification to be part of the destruction of Venice Beach's culture, long known for its bodybuilders and graffiti artists. Others, however, see the gentrification of Venice Beach as simply the normal flow of the property market and the Freakshow as being a part of Venice's past.

Personal life

Ray is married to Danielle. They have a daughter, Asia, and a son, Phoenix.

Production discography

1992"Now They Wanna See Me" Percee P, EkimN/Aco-produced w/ Ekim
"Back to the Grill" MC Serch, Chubb Rock, Nas, Red Hot Lover Tone Return of the Product co-produced w/ MC Serch
"Daze in a Weak"MC Serch
"Social Narcotics"MC Serch, Joe Fatal
"Scenes From the Mind"MC Serch
"Here It Comes Again"
"Put Ya Boots On" Double X Posse Put Ya Boots On
"Somethin' Funky ta Step To"
"Girls Be Frontin'..."
"Not Gonna Be Able to Do It"
1993"Diary of a Mad Bitch" Bo$$ Born Gangstaz produced w/ MC Serch
"I Don't Give a Fuck"
"Timber"Joe FatalN/A
"Sweet Thing" (Remix) Mick Jagger Wandering Spirit additional production
"The Show Ain't Over Till the Fat Man Swings"MC ThickThe Show Ain't Over Till the Fat Man Swings
"Portrait of a Fiend"
"Just Like a Niguh"
"From the Brick Jungle"co-produced w/ J. Diamond Washington & Stewart Harris
"It Ain't Easy Bein' Me"
"Only in America"
"You Said It Couldn't Be Done"
"Leave 'Em Out There"
"Bitch Control"
"I'm Shittin' on 'Em" Funkdoobiest Which Doobie U B?
"Who's the Doobiest"
"Where's It At"
"Wopbabalubop"Funkdoobiest, B-Real
"I Ain't Goin' Out Like That" Cypress Hill Black Sunday
"Come and Die" Therapy?, Joe Fatal Judgment Night (Music From the Motion Picture)
"It's the Whoolies" The Whooliganz
"Get a Grip"The Whooliganz, B-Real
"Time Goes On"
"Back Off Me Yo"The Whooliganz
"Keep On"
"I Get Mine"
1994"Wrong Side of da Tracks" Artifacts Between a Rock and a Hard Place
"Heavy Ammunition"
"Notty Headed Nigguhz"
"Flexi wit da Tech(nique)"
"Lower da Boom"
"Dynamite Soul"
"Whassup Now Muthafucka?"
"City Song (Supernatural Mix)" Luscious Jackson N/A
"Down South"Down SouthLost in Brooklyn
"Tractors, Rakes, and Hoes"
"Scooby Doo"Cypress HillN/Aproduced w/ DJ Muggs
"Wilma's Rainbow" Helmet Betty produced w/ Helmet
"I Know"
"Biscuits for Smut"
"Beautiful Love"
"The Silver Hawaiian"
"Sam Hell"
1995"Love Slave" Undacova New Jersey Drive, Vol. 1 (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)
"Take 'Em to War" Kool G Rap, B-1, MF Grimm 4,5,6
"For da Brothaz"Kool G Rap
1996"Enough" (Hindustan Disco Remix) Gravity Kills N/Aadditional production
1997"P.O.S." (həd)pe (həd)pe produced w/ Wesstyle & M.C.U.D.
"Serpent Boy"
"Tired of Sleep (T.O.S.)"
"Ken 2012"
"Snot" Snot Get Some
"Joy Ride"
"The Box"
"Snooze Button"
"Get Some"
"I Jus' Lie"
"Get Some o' Deez"
"Mr. Brett"
"Get Some Keez"
"My Balls"
1998"Como Ves" Ozomatli Ozomatli co-produced w/ Ozomatli
"Cut Chemist Suite"
"Cumbia de los Muertos"
"¿Dónde Se Fueron?"
"O Le Le"
"Super Bowl Sundae"
"Aquí No Será"
"Coming War"
"La Misma Canción"
"Boom Boom Baby" Ugly Americans Boom Boom Babyco-produced w/ Bruce Hughes
"Texas Isn't Big Enough"
"The Wrong Direction"
"Big Ole Head"
"Dancing at the Foot of Angels"
"One & a Rainbow"
"Fastest Man Alive"
1999"No Turning Back" G. Love & Special Sauce Philadelphonic produced w/ Chris DiBeneditto
"Rodeo Clowns"
"Do It for Free"
"Honor and Harmony"
"Kick Drum"
"Friday Night"
"Rock and Roll"
"Around the World (Thank You)"
"Gimme Some Lovin'"
"Shooting Up in Vain" (T-Ray Remix) Eagle-Eye Cherry Go (Music From the Motion Picture)
"Wishing It Was" Santana, Eagle-Eye Cherry Supernatural additional production
2000"No Retreat" Dilated Peoples, B-Real The Platform
2002"The C.I.A. is Still Trying to Kill Me" Non Phixion The Future Is Now produced w/ Necro
2003"Hobo Blues" G. Love Thicker Than Water (Music From a Film by Jack Johnson and the Malloys)
2004"Believe"Ozomatli Street Signs produced w/ Ozomatli
"Love & Hope"
"Street Signs"
"(Who Discovered) America?"produced w/ J. B. Eckl, Jason Roberts, KC Porter, co-produced w/ Ozomatli
"Te Estoy Buscando"produced w/ Ozomatli
"Saturday Night"
"Déjame en Paz"
"Doña Isabelle"
"Nadie Te Tira"
"Cuando Canto"
2007"My Element" Skyzoo Corner Store Classic
2008"Babylon" Ill Bill The Hour of Reprisal


Appears on

Awards and nominations

YearNominee / workAwardResultRef.
1999 Supernatural Grammy Award for Album of the Year Won [8]
2004 Street Signs Grammy Award for Best Latin Rock or Alternative Album Won

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