Artists You Didn't Know Recently Worked With Dr. Luke

The adage "nobody wants to see how the sausage gets made" rings true to the music industry, where the credits for pop's biggest hits aren't always so "Hot 100." At least, that's the case in one murky situation: Dr. Luke.

In the early 2000s, no "Party in the USA" was complete without songs written and produced by Dr. Luke (he even co-wrote that one). Born Lukasz Sebastian Gottwald, per Celebrity Net Worth, the gifted musician was hired for Saturday Night Live's band in 1997. By 2006, he was protégé to Swedish producing titan Max Martin. According ABC News, in 2014, Dr. Luke, "had logged his 16th No. 1 with Katy Perry's 'Dark Horse,'" making him, "pop music's reigning prince of hits." Amongst his hits are also Kelly Clarkson's "Since U Been Gone," and five of six No. 1 hits from Perry's catchy cornerstone Teenage Dream. Then ... trouble in the kingdom.

In October 2014, Kesha accused longtime collaborator Gottwald of "drugging and raping her and emotionally abusing her" per The Washington Post, spurring the #FreeKesha movement, with artists like Pink and Clarkson speaking out against him. As The Daily News wrote, "the two are currently embroiled in a years-long lawsuit," with Kesha's attempts to be released from her contract denied. But, per Pitchfork, she's since been granted a clause to release music independently, and Dr. Luke's name given an asterisk in the industry. So, he began using different ones.

Here are artists who still discreetly work with Dr. Luke. 

Dr. Luke helped Doja Cat "Say So" using a pseudoynm

Doja Cat has clawed her way to superstardom not without with the help of Dr. Luke. Or should we say Tyson Trax?

According to Pop Buzz, the charismatic singer signed to Lukasz Gottwald's label, Kemosabe Records, "when she was just 17." He wrote "several" songs for her 2019 album Hot Pink including, yup, her No. 1 hit "Say So," and "Juicy." Though Dr. Luke is no longer active CEO, as Pop Buzz reported, they clearly have a working relationship. Curiously enough, per The Daily News, Dr. Luke was credited for the songs under a pseudonym, Tyson Trax.

Producing "Say So," Dr. Luke — or Tyson Trax — did something else in 2021: He received his "first Grammy nomination in seven years," per The Associated Press, "cementing his comeback." The breezy hit is nominated for Record of the Year. "It's difficult to say whether or not Grammy voters are aware that 'Tyson Trax' is ... a pseudonym," Harvey Mason Jr., Recording Academy CEO, said in a statement, per AP. "I would imagine that a lot of voters were making their selection with Doja Cat in mind, thinking primarily about the artistic merits of her performance." 

According to That Grape Juice, Doja Cat "is contractually obliged to work with Luke" since signing with him. In 2020, the rapper liked a viral tweet pointing out Dr. Luke's credit, tweeting, "I see y'all fighting for me. Thank you." Well, that surely makes the TikTok dance challenge a little less ... fun.

Saweetie and Dr. Luke are "Tapped In"

Ever since bursting on the scene with her infectious 2017 track "ICY GRL,rising rapper Saweetie has consistently put out hits and marched to the beat of her own drum. Well actually, she also marches to Dr. Luke's drum. As USA Today pointed out, Lukasz Gottwald co-wrote the rapper's hit song and another TikTok smash, "Tap In," off her 2021 album, Pretty B**** Music

According to AllMusic, for that song — which peaked at No. 3 on Billboard's Hot R&B/Hip Hop Songs and has 128 million Spotify streams to date — Dr. Luke didn't use a pseudonym in the credits, but his full name. The figure also produced Saweetie and Doja Cat's smash-hit duet "Best Friend," the simmering YouTube video that has 86 million views to date. So there's two more for you. Dr. Luke used his birth name for that hit song too

According to USA Today, "Cat is signed to Sony Music's RCA Records, while Saweetie is part of the Warner Music family," proving that under multiple labels, the doctor is still in. "It's their job to be plugged in (and) they [my colleagues] didn't know," Pitchfork editor Evan Minsker told AP on Dr. Luke's covert resurgence that's even baffled music outlets. He continued, "I think there probably are a lot of cases of (Dr. Luke) sneaking under the radar, people not connecting what his other pseudonyms are with who he is." 

Clearly, pseudonym or otherwise, Dr. Luke's shadow looms. 

Ne-Yo is "Closer" to Dr. Luke than you think

Ne-Yo may be "So Sick" of love songs, but apparently, not of working with a disgraced producer. According to Spin, Dr. Luke produced three tracks off of Ne-Yo's 2018 album, Good Man, amidst his ongoing legal battle with Kesha. The three songs he produced, "Nights Like These," "On Ur Mind," and "Ocean Sure," are credited under Dr. Luke, as well as his birth name, once again. 

Ironically enough, iconic R&B singer Ne-Yo even saw the album as symbolically tied to the #MeToo movement. "I am super-duper proud of the record, on top of it just being the right climate for the record," Ne-Yo told Genius. "We've got rape charge this, and sexual harassment case that, and it's, like, in this climate, where yet again we as men have forgotten what it is we're supposed to do in reference to these women."

Spin noted the contradiction, writing, "This would all be... uneventful... if it weren't for one glaring contradiction presented by Good Man. Which is that three of its songs were produced by Dr. Luke, who, of course, [after Kesha's accusations] became something like the precursor to #MeToo." As Spin added, "neither Ne-Yo nor his label appear to be trying to hide Dr. Luke's involvement." 

Curiously, the three songs were also given co-producer credit by someone who goes by yet another pseudonym: "Made in China." Hmm...

Kim Petras continues to work with Dr. Luke

Germany-born, transgender rising pop star Kim Petras is definitely one to watch. But if earworms like "Heart to Break," which has 48 million Spotify streams to date, sound strangely familiar, we have "news to break." Petras famously works quite closely with Dr. Luke. He has produced all her songs. According to Vice, Dr. Luke produced "the entirety" of Kim Petras' 2019 album, Turn Off the Light. As The New York Times noted, "Each song includes a production credit for an entity called Made in China, which has been presumed to be an alias for Dr. Luke." Another disguise, another day.

As The New Yorker wrote in a 2013 Dr. Luke profile, "to have real control [over the music]... Dr. Luke needs to discover and develop his own superstars, so that he can participate in every aspect of their career. That's what he hoped to do with Kesha [but failed]." As Vice wrote six years later, in Petras "[he] has finally found his pet project." 

"My personal experience has been great," Petras told The Daily Beast in 2018. "I've been learning a lot from him and I've always been a fan of his. It's been really fun working with him. ... That's all I wanna be known for," Petras added. "Just bops!" 

You can draw your own conclusions about the morality of working with Dr. Luke (or Tyson Trax or Made in China). Clearly, some big artists have.

If you or someone you know has been the victim of sexual assault, you can call the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673) or visit RAINN.org for additional resources.