Osten Harvey, Jr., better known by his stage name Easy Mo Bee, is a hip hop/R&B record producer, known for production work for late 80's artists such as Big Daddy Kane and Miles Davis, but most notable for his affiliation with Bad Boy Records in its early years and his heavy production involvement in The Notorious B.I.G.'s acclaimed debut Ready to Die.
Early career: Big Daddy Kane, Wu-Tang Clan & Miles Davis:
Mo Bee began producing after hearing music by Ced Gee of Ultramagnetic MCs and Marley Marl, producer of early hip-hop hits for the likes of the Juice Crew and LL Cool J. His first production placement came on Big Daddy Kane's breakthrough album, It's a Big Daddy Thing, after which he was approached to work with another Cold Chillin' artist, The Genius--an early alias for now-Wu-Tang Clan co-founder GZA. Mo Bee produced the rapper's debut album, Words From the Genius, as well as fellow future Wu-Tang co-founder RZA's first single, "Ooh I Love You Rakeem", which the rapper/producer released under the alias Prince Rakeem. Jazz pioneer Miles Davis approached the young producer to help fuse jazz and hip-hop. These sessions would become his last studio album, 1992's Doo-Bop. The project, released posthumously after Davis died during the recording process, leaving the project unfinished, garnered generally mixed reviews.
Bad Boy Entertainment, Notorious B.I.G. & 2Pac:
Mo Bee first linked up with Sean Combs' Bad Boy Entertainment in 1993, when he produced the first single for Combs' up-and-coming artist, the Notorious B.I.G., "Party and Bullshit". Easy also went on to produce much of the label's two flagship releases: Project: Funk da World by Craig Mack, and Ready to Die by B.I.G. Additionally, Mo Bee produced the "Flava in Ya Ear (Remix)," a driving single for both projects, featuring Craig Mack, Biggie, Busta Rhymes, Rampage and LL Cool J.
In 1994-'95, Mo Bee was also associated with 2Pac, having produced songs for both, including one called "Runnin' From tha Police," featuring both Pac and B.I.G. as well as rapper/producer Stretch and 2Pac's crew Dramacydal. Mo Bee went on to produce two songs for Pac's 1995 album Me Against the World, although the two recorded several other songs that did not make the cut. During this time period, he also crafted moderate radio hits for the Lost Boyz ("Jeeps, Lex Coups, Bimaz & Benz");Das EFX ("Microphone Master"); and Busta Rhymes ("Everything Remains Raw").
Life After Death & later career:
In 1997, Mo Bee produced for Biggie's double-disc album, Life After Death. After Combs turned down some of his early beat submissions, the producer crafted two pop-oriented songs which made the cut, "I Love the Dough" and "Going Back to Cali"; these songs would mark the last time Easy would produce for Bad Boy. Easy maintains that this is because Diddy stopped bringing him in for projects, and has speculated that this may be due to confrontations over production credit the two have had in the past:
Is it because a long time ago, when "Flava in Ya Ear" Remix came out, I looked on the record and saw "Remix by Sean Puffy Combs, Chucky Thompson and Easy Mo Bee." I took the record up in the office and I presented it to him and I said, "Yo, what's this?" He didn't know what to say. I told him, "You didn't do it. Chucky sat there and watched. So I just want to know why the credits read like that." I think it might have been that. Because ever since that, I haven't really worked over there.
--Easy Mo Bee, Scratch Magazine
Since cutting ties with the label, Easy Mo Bee has worked sparingly with other artists; over the next decade he would craft songs for Kurupt, Big Daddy Kane, Ras Kass, the Wu-Tang Clan and others, eventually winning a Grammy for his work with Alicia Keys on her album, The Diary of Alicia Keys. In 2000, he put out an album called Now or Never: Oddysey 2000, featuring east coast staples Busta Rhymes, Raekwon, Prodigy, Heltah Skeltah, Kool G. Rap, and Sauce Money, along with Goodie Mob and Kurupt.
Over the course of his post-Bad Boy-affiliated career, many songs he and Biggie originally recorded together have been remixed without the producer's credit or permission. These songs include the original "Dead Wrong," a remix of which appeared on Biggie's posthumous album Born Again; "Flava in Ya Ear," which was remixed by Diddy for the Bad Boy 10th Anniversary album, and 2Pac and Biggie's "Runnin'", remixed by Eminem on the Tupac: Resurrection (Original Soundtrack). Mo Bee has made it clear that he does not appreciate this practice, particularly in the case of Eminem's remix. After an announcement that he would handle the scoring for Biggie biopic Notorious, the score was handled without him; this has led to speculation that Diddy is keeping him distanced from the industry.
Mo Bee has been acclaimed for his bass-heavy style and jazzy influence. At times Mo Bee has branched out more with his sound, as on "I Love the Dough," sampling René & Angela's "I Love You More". He also turned to trippy rock for inspiration on Mos Def's "Zimzallabim" from his 2004 album 'The New Danger'.
He has also branched out to produce songs for R&B artists, such as Kindred The Family Soul on their 2005 album In This Life Together ("As Of Yet", "Who's Gonna Comfort You (Definition)") as well as Alicia Keys" 2003 album The Diary of Alicia Keys ("If I Were Your Woman/Walk On By").