Andrew “Dru Brett” Harr and Jermaine “Mayne Zayne” Jackson first met when they were both in kindergarten in Vero Beach, Florida. Flash forward by roughly twenty years, and a rap anthem about the drug trade would put these producers on the map. For The Runners, a chopped up three-word vocal loop changed everything for them: “Everyday I’m hustlin’ / Everyday I’m hustlin / Everyday I’m hustlin’.”
Harr and Jackson were both born to physician fathers in Vero Beach, and a mutual love for music gave the pair a special bond early on. Though Jackson’s family moved to North Carolina for most of his teen years, Harr and Jackson reconnected through the telephone, and realized that they had both been DJing and producing music independently. In 2000, they both relocated to Orlando, Florida, and officially became The Runners.
Before “Hustlin’” was released, The Runners were virtually unknown. The first song they produced for a major artist was “Does Anybody Know?” by Fat Joe, but it wasn’t until they shopped “Hustlin’,” the dramatic trap beat with the bone-cracking snare, around to major labels. Rick Ross heard something special in “Hustlin’,” and it wasn’t long before The Runners had a monster hit on their hands.
It wasn’t long before The Runners were crafting beats for most of the premiere names in hip-hop, and their musical conquests eventually spread to R&B and pop, producing for Rihanna, Cher Llyod, and recently, Rita Ora.
The Runners have a very melodic approach to R&B and hip-hop, with prominent melodies that give their music an emotional charge. Let’s listen to some of their best work for this edition of the Friday Mixtape.