It’s a jam that grabs you by your ears and begs, “Let me hear you say, please! Let me hear you say, please!” When Bruno Mars and Cardi B released their thumping track “Please Me” in Feb. 2019, the flirty anthem became an instant hit for one of music’s most powerful duos. When it came to concocting the Billboard Hot 100 hit, the two collaborated with the diverse music production and songwriting collective known as The Stereotypes.
Made up of Jonathan Yip, Ray Romulus, Jeremy Reeves and Charm, the Stereotypes have been churning out their unique brand of throwback R&B/pop/hip-pop party hits since forming in 2007, frequently working with Mars and the likes of Justin Bieber and Thomas Rhett along the way. In honor of their latest success with “Please Me,” feast your ears on more tunes The Stereotypes brought into this world. To paraphrase Mars: “They know what we want and what we need, baby!”
1. “Please Me” – Bruno Mars and Cardi B (2019)
Hot 100 Peak: No. 3 (so far)
Horchata will forever be different after this song (just look up the lyrics). “Please Me” continued Mars and Cardi B’s respective hit-making streaks when it was unleashed the day after Valentine’s, and it’s dripping with the collective’s signature sound. For the team, it’s only the latest collaboration with Mars who struck up a kinship when they were all struggling to make their way as unknowns in Los Angeles just over a decade ago. “We worked together on one session and right away I was blown away,” said member Ray Romulus in a Jan. 2018 interview with Billboard. “Just from his voice alone, I was like, ‘Wow, this kid is incredible.’ And right then, right off the bat, we just clicked and we started like just working every day, just trying to create songs for different artists and trying to get placements together.”
2. “Finesse” (Remix) – Bruno Mars ft. Cardi B (2018)
Hot 100 Peak: No. 3
The Stereotypes were also involved in Mars and Cardi’s first musical partnership in the form of the equally energetic throwback jam “Finesse.” Originally released as part of Mars’ 2017 album 24K Magic, it was later remixed and reworked by Atlantic Records to capitalize on Cardi B’s then-newfound popularity (both stars are signed to the label). According to Stereotype Jonathan Yip in a March 2018 interview with The Fader, the song came to fruition thanks to an idea from Mars himself. “He was like ‘I want to bring the feeling back of when I was going to school dances. And how everyone was having fun and dancing, and didn’t any worries.’ So when it came time to do ‘Finesse,’ he was like ‘Let’s do a New Jack Swing song.’”
3. “24K Magic” – Bruno Mars (2016)
Hot 100 Peak: No. 4
4. “That’s What I Like”- Bruno Mars (2017)
Hot 100 Peak: No. 1
It’s music that makes you want to put your pinky rings up to the moon. For Bruno’s third album 24K Magic, the singer and The Stereotypes collaborated on three songs, which happened to become its first, second and third singles: the eponymous “24K Magic,” future No. 1 “That’s What I Like” and the aforementioned “Finesse.” The collaboration came about after an extended period where Bruno and The Stereotypes went their separate ways after their early days together, with Mars inviting the collective to collaborate about eight years after first meeting.
“Jon Yip checked in with Bruno to see how he was doing,” remembers Romulus in an interview with Songwriter’s Universe. “Bruno said ‘Hey guys, by the way, I have one more song for my album that I’m trying to figure out. Would you like to come through and help me nail this?’” From there, the group concocted “24K Magic,” moving on to “That’s What I Like.” “Originally when we heard it, it felt more like a ballad…it didn’t feel as rhythmic as it is now. So we stripped it down and started messin’ around with the drums. We started programming the drums and once that was in, it started having a different bounce…it had a whole different feel to it.” “24K Magic” would eventually go five times platinum and “That’s What I Like” would go on to win Grammys for song of the year, best R&B song and best R&B performance — and become one of the most popular songs of 2017.
5. “Somebody to Love” – Justin Bieber (2010)
Hot 100 Peak: No. 15
Long before the Biebs’ grown-up smashes “Sorry” and “Let Me Love You,” our pal Justin was a shaggy-haired tween idol. Released as part of his debut album My World 2.0, “Somebody to Love” is classic 2010-era Justin: fluffy, poppy and innocent. However, the track wasn’t even meant for him. Originally crafted by The Stereotypes for Bieber’s mentor Usher, the star’s label reportedly soured on “Somebody to Love” and it fell into Bieber’s lap thanks to an idea from an unlikely source. “The same day we were actually creating the record, we had Perez Hilton in the studio,” Yip told Rap-Up in a July 2010 interview. “He was like, ‘Ya know what, that would be good for Justin Bieber.’ And we were like, ‘Hey, we’d love for it to be for Justin Bieber as well.’ So the minute that Jive wasn’t sure what they wanted to do with the record for Usher, we backtracked and went to [Bieber’s manager] Scooter [Braun] and told him, ‘Yo, do you want to cut this for Justin?’” The song was later released as a remix featuring, who else? Usher.
6. “Rocketeer” – Far East Movement ft. Ryan Tedder (2010)
Hot 100 Peak: No. 7
Hot off of their 2010 hit “Like a G6,” the Los Angeles-based Far East Movement followed it up with starry club anthem “Rocketeer.” The anthemic hook, which invites listeners to “come with me,” was originally meant as a rocket for Mars. But OneRepublic ace Ryan Tedder, still riding high from his radio hits “All The Right Moves” and “Good Life,” took over featured vocal duties and “Rocketeer” eventually became a respectable hit, rocketing into the top 10 and continuing both acts’ respective reigns on the charts. “Whenever I’m asked what my proudest moment is in my career, to me it’s always having been a part of breaking Far East Movement,” Yip once explained. “Because, as an Asian-American, to be in front of the camera, and being the star, let alone being behind the camera, or behind the boards, there’s not just too many Asians in the industry.”
7. “Deliver” – Fifth Harmony (2017)
Hot 100 Peak: N/A
When it came to a song the guys thought should have been a bigger hit, they point to this cut from the girl group’s self-titled third album. “I love those girls, man,” said Yip of the groovin’ track that harkens back to ’90s-era Mariah Carey in a Jan. 2018 interview with Idolator. “I think collectively it was a great day. It was so smooth, the chemistry was so easy and the song was made in like three hours or something like that.”
8. “Mo Bounce” – Iggy Azalea (2017)
Hot 100 Peak: N/A
Bounce! Bounce! Bounce! A co-production between The Stereotypes and the Far East Movement, “Mo Bounce” is infamous for being an album cut from the “Fancy” rapper’s since-scrapped Digital Distortion. Released as the second single from what would have been her second album, the song managed to rise above Azalea’s label strife, becoming a hit on YouTube with 70 million views and counting.
9. “Don’t Threaten Me With a Good Time” – Thomas Rhett (2019)
Hot 100 Peak: N/A
Proving the foursome is adept at genre-hopping, the collective’s latest collaboration is with country star Thomas Rhett. With Rhett looking to spread his wings beyond a classic country sound, he recently premiered the party single “Don’t Threaten Me with a Good Time” during a performance on Saturday Night Live. The track serves as the second single for Rhett’s upcoming album Center Point Road, set to be released on May 31, and it effectively feeds The Stereotypes’ growing reputation.