How Producer Mikey Mike Ended Up on Rihanna’s “Unapologetic” by Pretending to be a Porn Star

ririri How Producer Mikey Mike Ended Up on Rihannas Unapologetic by Pretending to be a Porn Star

How did unknown producer got featured on the biggest current pop album in the world?

For Rihanna‘s new album Unapologetic, the pop princess naturally enlisted her usual laundry list of high-profile, big-budget collaborators: Stargate produced five tracks (not including the two remixes of “Diamonds” that fill out Unapologetic‘s run-time, on which the Swedish duo still receives official credit), The-Dream produced one song and wrote three others, David Guetta produced two songs, No ID produced one song, Kanye West, Timbaland, Ne-Yo, Emeli Sandé and Ester Dean all have writing credits, Eminem, Chris Brown, and Future make guest appearances, and, for good measure, Michael Jackson even shows up in the liner notes (getting a writing credit for the MJ-inspired “Nobody’s Business”).

Buried among the bevy of co-producers, co-writers, guest stars, engineers, vocalists, and “appears courtesy of’s” is a name likely unfamiliar to most: Mikey Mike, co-producer of “Jump.”

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Mikey Mike is an artist/writer/producer signed to Universal, but in an interview with Sunset in the Rearview, his tone suggested that being signed to a major label and working with the heavy-hitters in the industry wasn’t exactly the easiest process. Instead of being able to go right to the artist, his productions ended up being shopped to A&Rs and managers, polished by studio wizards like Stargate, getting played for artists, written to by writers, recorded by artists, and thrown into a pile with dozens of other songs that may or may not make it to an album.

“Then, the A&Rs, execs, and artists (if they have clout) put their heads together and pick the best 15 songs or whatever,” Mike explains. “And then if you’re really lucky, one day you get a call like, ‘Hey your song made the album,’ and then this is the part where you scream back into the phone, “SHOW ME THE MONEYYYY HO!!!!!”

It sounded like a tiresome process for a producer, so Mikey Mike tried out a different, more direct route. He started gathering contacts of artists and producers and sending out e-mails himself. But there was a catch.

As the release date of Rihanna’s latest blockbuster loomed, Mikey contacted us with his story. The subject line of his first e-mail: “producer of Rihanna’s ‘jump’.. dope story.” In the e-mail, he explained his situation, pointing out that people may have this idea that a producer signed to a major label has it easy, but that’s not the case. After not getting the results he wanted, he took things into his own hands. The catch? He wasn’t being completely honest. He started contacting artists and producers pretending to be a famous porn star.

Suddenly, people started answering.

quote4 How Producer Mikey Mike Ended Up on Rihannas Unapologetic by Pretending to be a Porn Star

He picked a famous female porn star, whose name he didn’t want us to share, and he said that she was now managing an artist. “The same people who ignored my emails for years all responded right away, confused and curious and probably a little horny,” he told us. “They probably all assumed the music the was going to be terrible, but then when the music turned out to be really dope it was the ultimate WTF. Fast-forward a year and I’m only unknown person with a production credit on the biggest pop artist in the world’s album.”

Skepticism gave way to the modest demand for a bit of evidence for what appeared a wildly outrageous claim. The request led to a further listing of celebrities Mikey had impersonated in his quest to be heard. While there seemed to be a bit of guilt in Mike’s story, he also shrugged it off as something that had to be done to get what he wanted to get out of his situation.

“The funny part is I’m signed to Universal and I still have to pull this shit to get people to listen. If anything, it’s a wake up call to aspiring producers/artists that being signed means you’re in, when it doesn’t really mean shit and if you want something bad enough, you do it on your own, by any means necessary. I’ll send u a couple pictures.”

In his next e-mail, Mikey forwarded a screenshot of a series of e-mails sent between him and one of hip-hop’s biggest producers, in which he laid out his porn star act.

“I’m ‘managing’ one of my brother’s buddies as a side hustle,” his email to a producer read.

He received an enthusiastic response from the superstar producer in question (whose name he didn’t want us to share):

“Yes, c’mon, of course ive watched your videos. Jesus.”

Mikey and the producer in question engaged in a back-and-forth, in which Mikey eventually revealed his true identity, prompting an impressed response:

“That’s fucked up, but resourceful. You’re a beast. It was funny. Keep sending me stuff but from your real e-mail, fucker. LOL.”

The two also joked about how Mikey had also pretended to be a non-pornographic actress, scoring yet another meeting between the producer “she” was “managing” and a frontman from a rising pop band.

Along with screenshots of e-mails, Mikey included a video of himself (available for public consumption on YouTube) purportedly working on the “Jump” beat.

With the arrival of Unapologetic, we got a chance to check out the production credits. “Jump” boasts a typically bloated platter of producers, writers, and collaborators. Sure enough, Mikey Mike’s name sits sandwiched between Stargate and Chase & Status, as promised.

  • Jessie

    I don’t think Adele has writing credits on the album… It was Emeli Sande who wrote ‘Half of Me’ and her first name is Adele, maybe that’s what this article meant to say.

  • http://daisensei.tumblr.com Magnus

    Stargate is Norwegian, just for the sake of being patriotic as fuck

  • http://www.pigeonsandplanes.com Jon Tanners

    Good catch, Jessie. Fixed!

  • http://deeepcuts.blogspot.com codine

    Side comment here, but as talented as Emeli Sande is, does anyone else notice the repetition in her writing style? Her melodies are all so similar: Half of me, brand new kind of me, and virtually every song on her own album.

    The verse forms and stanza is so similar it drives me nuts. Anyone feel me on this?

  • http://deeepcuts.blogspot.com codine

    are*

  • Lando Caltrillian

    this article is a RARE find on how it really is for writers and producers in major label situations who haven’t gotten on yet.

    I’m actually in the exact same boat as Mikey Mike, signed to Universal and facing the exact same hurdles. People think because you’re signed every door is open to you but it is entirely the opposite case. You’re competing with a HUGE stable of writers and producers and getting past the gatekeepers to even get your tracks heard by artists is damn near impossible in most cases.

    Every single person around an artist has an opinion, and more importantly has to throw that opinion around with confidence in order to justify their position in relation to an artist. There has to be the perception that an AnR is scrupulous and aware of future trends (they rarely are), a manager is discerning (which normally translates into impossible), and anyone else in the label chain is important (anyone else isn’t). The best way to maintain that perception is by asserting authority, which often means making decisions about what sound is right and what isn’t right for an artist, often before the artist even has a say.

    Sometimes having a hit record out isn’t even enough to open the doors you need. My production partner and I have sole writing credit and also a production credit on a track that just did 2.5 million this year…..and it is still a mission and a half to get the meetings you want happening in almost any building.

    What it comes down to is not your production/songwriting skill, it’s absolutely who you know and how much clout they have to pull favors that are going to benefit you.

    This article hits even closer to home for me because my partner, and actually our entire camp were pitching (like everyone else) for Rihanna’s record as well. I can’t go into details but the process of having songs on “hold”, sending edits and remixes of tracks not yet cut on AnR’s whims, and being asked to submit songs for an album that’s already closed to people you CANNOT say no to has been everyday life for the last two months. At the end of it we had two tracks on “hold” in that big pile Mikey was talking about, now just lost in the abyss.

    And at the end of it all as much as you want to curse the world swearing up and down that your track should have made the cut AND been a single, there’s really no time for complaining. Because you’re already doing the same thing pitching for Beyonce’s next album and writing new concepts for Britney’s…….always knowing that NEXT time your record is DEFINITELY getting cut :)

    Mikey was clever as hell pulling that and to be honest i wish i thought of it first………..

    Big ups on a dope article, thanks!

  • Kevin Welsh

    All I got to say is I used to kick it with Mikey in college and this is not in the slightest bit surprising. There’s a reason this guy is going to be a star. The red headed genius.

  • Dylan

    i went to high school with mike

  • Will

    LOL. Mike can do anything with music! He can flow just as well if not better than most famous rap stars. producing beats is just the underside of his talents.