Saturday, April 14, 2007

Top 10 Producers of All Time

Sorry Quik...your Number 11 on my list!

Waddup ya'll. Here check this here post out I'm about to make. I was thinking, "What to write about?" Yeah why not list my top 10 hip-hop producers of all-time.

10. Just Blaze

The dude sneaks into the top 10. Top effort for a young cat. Man this guy can produce some bangers. Most recently he has produced some fire with "The Second Coming" for Juelz and Nike. But the cat has produced some real nice tracks in this century: "Breathe", "Flipside" and "Pump It Up" being just a few examples. Cat likes the MPC and can whip shit up bloody quick on that. Always brings that big sound.

9. Pete Rock

Ok so some people might have him higher. Yeh, maybe as far as contribution to hip-hop goes, this guy should be higher. But the 8 guys above him on this list, I just enjoy their music more. Ya dig? That said, I really dig Pete's shit. There are producers who wouldn't even be in my top 20 producers who I still enjoy. So this is a pretty high position anyway. But chances are you know all about Pete Rock. Mr Soul Man. The Soul Survivor. This dude produced straight up classic shit for CL Smooth in the early 90s. The music he created, fusing Jazz and Hip-hop, seemed to fit CL Smooth's style perfect. Then, after falling out with dude CL, his solo "Soul Survivor" LPs proved that he can produce that quality with all kind of cats. A living legend.

8. The Neptunes

Hugo and Pharrel are quite a match made in heaven. They have been making music together since high school, which is quite remarkable if you think about it. Two talents of that magnitude ending up together by chance is akin to the four Beatles ending up together by chance in Liverpool. Or all the Wu-Tang Clan fools ending up around each other. Anyways, point is, these guys are fucking talented. They're a collective hit-factory, but can stay critically acclaimed at the same time as they manage to sell records without compromising quality. That is a rare gift. They have a real ear for interesting sounds and have no hesitation in sharing their ideas with the mainstream public. Sometimes it fails. Mainly it works...My favourite joints are the two Clipse albums they produced, "Hollaback Girl", Lupe's "I Gotcha", Noreaga's"Superthug" and T.I.'s "Goodlife".

7. Timbaland

There was a time where I didn't really dig Timbo that much. But recently dude has won me over with an incredible amount of quality productions. The guy's drum programming is quite simply the best I have ever heard. The percussion he brings to his songs can be varied...but always sounds immaculate and interesting. He is very creative with sounds. Not afraid to use his own vocal chords to bring you the sound he's thinking of, he remains ahead of the game creativity wise. His production for Justin Timberlake's "FutureSex/LoveSounds" is the best he has done pop wise, and some of the best pop production I've ever heard. And then you realise he released Nelly Furtado's "Loose" in the same time it's astonishing the quality and quantity he keeps up. Other classic cuts of his are Ginuwine's "Pony", Aaliyah's "Try Again", Jay-Z's "Big Pimpin" and "Dirt Off Your Shoulder" and Jeezy's booming "3 A.M."

6. Kanye West

Kanye just brings his heart and soul to the production table. His perfectionism is matched only by Dr Dre of producers on this list. He always brings a nice feel to his songs. His strength is definitely in utilizing soul samples extremely well and incorporating memorable melodies into his songs. My fav productions of his are Kweli's "Get By", his own "Never Let Me Down" "Two Words" and "Heard em Say", Jay-Z's "Lucifer" and "Heart of the City" and Keyshia Cole's "I Changed My Mind". Kanye can do it with strings, piano, anything.

5. J Dilla

The late Detroit producer was really making strides before his death in early 06. The thing is, if it wasn't for his illness, "Donuts" might not have been so personal, so special, so beautiful. Without the illness he may have never looked within himself so deeply and never unlocked such inspiration and shared it with us so candidly. Or maybe he would have...who knows. Its a shame we will never know. We are lucky that J Dilla made such dope music. We are all blessed with many great recordings thanks to him and should be thankful not just for him, but every artist on this list. Dope cuts he produced for other artists are "Verbal Clap" for De La, the album "Fantastic Vol 2" for Slum Village, Kweli's "Stand to the Side" and Common's "The Light."

4. Madlib

Madlib will just put anything down on the MPC and loop it up. Anything. Any type of sample. The result is a shit load of recordings...some of which are shit. However, a high proportion are brilliant. Fucking creative cunt. I guess that's what happens when you smoke weed all day. He is the first one to remind us that weed brings out creativity, either telling us through rap or inserting samples regarding the matter. The guy can sometimes go overboard with the vocal samples, disrupting songs halfway through by stopping the music and playing the sample, sometimes multiple times. This puts some people off, but I love it. He does it so it actually fits in if you think about. If your on weed...

Lol anyway the shit on Quasimoto's first record "The Unseen" is straight up classic jazz hip-hop style shit. One of the best collection of beats I've ever heard. Madvillain with MF Doom is on the same level. Other dope cuts are "Shopping Bags" for De La, "Nightlife" for MED, and "What Can I Do?" for Kweli.

3. Dr Dre

Dre! The most famous hip-hop producer of all time no doubt. This guy just lives by his music. He wants to make high quality shit. It all starts in the drums for him. Everyone knows Dre has the best drums. But on top of that, he just keeps it real chill. Guitars are popular. Synths. Anything chilled. "Nuthin But a G Thang" is one of greatest hip-hop songs of all time, and easily the most chilled. Then he just brings out stupidly simple classic shit like "Still D.R.E." - yeh Scott Storch came up with the chords but the fact is, Dre brought it all together. You can come up with some dope shit when Dre is around. He doesn't just make the music - he produces. He'll make you a hit. He'll make sure you bring what's appropriate. Recently I have enjoyed his laid-back Piano Chord jams "Lost Ones" for Jay-Z and Young Buck's "U Ain't Going Nowhere" although others haven't been impressed. Don't worry...Detox is gonna be so hot you'll forgive him for the years of delays. His track record suggests so anyway...

2. DJ Premier

This is New York hip-hop right here. Premo always brings it raw. Using his trusty MPC 60 this guy will give you a great platform for you to rhyme over...always. It all starts with those Boom Bap drums. It's real hip-hop...the beat doesn't dominate and allows you to listen to what is being said...but you will always be nodding your head regardless. Check out all them Gangstarr cuts. Or Jeru's shit. Dude fucking sampled water drops on "Come Clean." Ridiculous. Other 5 star shit he produced is Nas' "NY State of Mind," J-Live's "The Best Part", Jay-Z's "Bring It On" and recently Termanology's "Watch how it go down." All allow the MC to shine while being incredibly hot beats...that is no mean feat.

1. RZA

Just can't help it. Can't resist those beats he made back in the mid 90s. Can't help but be seduced by those minimalistic gems. GZA, Raekwon, Method Man and Wu-Tang Clan are always at the top of my most played list. While the lyrics are often dope, the main reason is RZA's production. That's real production - producing whole albums. That's where you can bring that real shit. You can create a whole MOOD. On Wu-Tang's debut, shit was incredibly raw. Straight from the streets. Just a gritty, tinny beat, and some hardcore spitting over it. The use of samples was ingenious too. "C.R.E.A.M." is just an impeccable track. The nursery rhyme piano line just stays in your head, and Deck and Raekwon brought some real shit over that - the point is yet again, its a dope beat without taking away the lyrics of the MC. When he progressed in the next few albums, he didn't really progress at all. He'd bring in some dirty bass lines maybe. But he'd keep that shit simple, on his Ensoniq keyboard. The debut full-length GZA and Raekwon albums are just all perfectly produced in addition to his classic shit on the Wu-Tang debut. The other albums he produced in full are also high quality (when the name Bobby Digital was not involved lol).

This guy is thus my number 1 producer. A combination of quality and quantity which is hard to beat. Ask me tomorrow I migth say Premo again those two are neck and neck to me. Shout out to cats like DJ Quik, 9th Wonder, Prince Paul, Hi-Tek, Alchemist, Eric B, Havoc, Large Professor, Bomb Squad, Pimp C, Oh No, Black Milk, Muggs, DangerMouse, Will.I.AM, DJ Toomp and Scott Storch who would be on the next level down.