Ester Dean

With the help of friends and some deft marketing (and no shortage of Mary J. Blige-esque R&B-meets-hip-hop chops), Ester Dean became a fixture in the fertile Atlanta, GA, hip-hop scene by the late 2000s. Born in Oklahoma, Dean moved to Atlanta at a young age, where she hooked up with nationally known producers Jazze Pha and Chris "Tricky" Stewart and became known as a reliable producer, penning tracks for artists ranging from Young Jeezy to the Pussycat Dolls. By 2009, she decided to step in front of the mike, and Zone 4 Records launched the viral "Who is Ester Dean?" campaign, soliciting endorsements from Brandy, Nelly, and other notables, while concealing the image of the young diva. Her debut single, "Drop It Low," featuring a deep crunk hook and a tidy guest spot from crooner Chris Brown, became a late summer jam, aided by inclusion in the LeBron James bio-documentary More Than a Game. She returned the favor to Brown, earning a prime spot on "I Love You," the first single off the in-the-news singer‘s first album following the Rihanna scandal.
Jason Thurston, Rovi

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