This list offers a run down of the best hip-hop producers of all time.
From the golden age of hip-hop, to today’s trap artists, all the most successful rappers have great rap producers behind them.
This article offers a run down of the most influential and most iconic hip-hop producers over the past four decades. To create the rankings we looked at each producer’s number of hit songs, awards, commercial success, underground cult status, and overall impact and legacy.
Let’s dive in and learn some more about the best hip-hop producers in the world.
30. DJ Muggs
Notable Collaborations: Cypress Hill, House of Pain, Westside Gunn
Esteemed hip-hop producer Lawrence Muggered is better known as DJ Muggs. Of Italian descent, and raised by Norwegian parents, Muggs hails from New York.
He rose to fame as a member of Cypress Hill, and he is also the force behind the Soul Assassins project.
Aside from his Cypress Hill tracks, House of Pain’s 1992 hit single ‘Jump Around’ is amongst his best-known tracks.
He received Grammy nominations for songs including ‘Insane in the Brain,’ ‘I Ain’t Goin’ Out Like That,’ and ‘Throw Your Set in the Air.’
DJ Muggs has also produced remixes of high profile non-rap artists including the likes of Janet Jackson, Depeche Mode, and U2.
29. Large Professor
Notable Collaborations: Nas, Busta Rhymes, Mobb Deep, Gang Starr
Large Professor is the alias of producer William Paul Mitchell – also known as Extra P and Large Pro.
The New York hip-hop producer and rapper first rose to recognition as one of the founding members of Main Source. As well as his solo work and production credits, his list of features, collaborations, and remixes is extensive.
The Large Professor is well-known for his work in the 90s, which included producing tracks for the likes of Nas, Busta Rhymes, A Tribe Called Quest, Tragedy Khadafi, and hip-hop duos Gang Starr, Erik. B & Rakim, and Mobb Deep.
Large Pro’s crowning achievement is arguably his work on Nas’s classic 1994 album Illmatic, on which he produced three tracks – ‘Halftime,’ ‘One Time 4 Your Mind,’ and ‘It Ain’t Hard to Tell.’
28. Pi’erre Bourne
Notable Collaborations: Playboi Carti, 6ix9ine, Lil Uzi Vert, Young Thug, Juice WRLD
One of the younger producers on this list, Pi’erre Bourne has made a name for himself thanks to his work with several of the biggest rappers on the scene today.
His most notable work so far includes the 2017 Playboi Carti song, ‘Magnolia,’ and 6ix9ine’s 2017 track ‘Gummo.’
He has worked with many of the biggest trap artists on the scene. Aside from Carti and 6ix8ine his list of collaborators includes the likes of Lil Uzi Vert, Lil Yachty, Young Thug, Juice WRLD, and Trippie Redd.
He has released three albums under his own name, with his 2021 album The Life of Pierre 5 reaching number thirty-five on the Billboard 200 album chart.
27. Stoupe the Enemy of Mankind
Notable Collaborations: Jedi Mind Tricks, Canibus, Guru
Stoupe the Enemy of Mankind is the moniker of DJ and hip-hop producer Kevin Baldwin. Stoupe is best known for his early work with the underground hip-hop group, Jedi Mind Tricks (JMT).
Something of a master in the sounds of gangsta rap and hardcore hip-hop, Stoupe played a large part in the development of JMT’s sound. He was one of the founding members of the group, along with Vinnie Paz.
Some of his biggest tracks include the JMT hits ‘Heavy Metal Kings,’ Design in Malice,’ and ‘I Against I.’
Aside from Jedi Mind Tricks, Stoupe has worked with Canibus, and Guru of Gang Starr.
Notable Collaborations: Blu, Aloe Blacc
Exile is a DJ and hip-hop producer best known for his work as half of the hip-hop duo Blu & Exile. The alias of Aleksander Thomas Manfredi, Exile is known for his choppy and soulful sounds.
Although he is best known for Blu & Exile, Exile is also recognised for his project Emanon with singer and rapper Aloe Blacc. Between 1996 and 2000, he has produced some fifteen albums, accounting for his solo albums, albums as Emanon, and albums as Blu & Exile.
Some of his classic productions include the Blu & Exile songs ‘Dancing in the Rain’ and ‘So(ul) Amazing.’
Notable Collaborations: CYNE
The project of Jun Seba, Nujabes was a seminal hip-hop producer, often referred to as the ‘godfather of lofi hip-hop.’ The only Japanese producer on this list, Nujabes tragically died in a traffic accident in 2010.
Nujabes is known for mixing elements of jazz, soul, trip-hop, and hip-hop to create a mellow and soulful sound. Often drawing comparisons with J Dilla, he is credited as one of the key influences in the sound of lofi hip-hop beats. He was also responsible for founding the indie record label Hydeout Productions.
He released three solo studio albums – Metaphorical Music (2003), Modal Soul (2005), and Spiritual State (2011).
His biggest tracks include ‘Lady Brown’ featuring Cise Starr, and ‘Feather’ featuring rappers Cise Starr and Akin from CYNE.
Notable Collaborations: Mobb Deep, The Notorious B.I.G., Nas, Eminem, 50 Cent, P Diddy, Kanye
Havoc is the alias of Kejuan Waliek Muchita, best known as half of the hip-hop duo Mobb Deep, along with rapper Prodigy. Hailing from New York, Havoc is without a doubt one of the most-respected producers from the 90s East Coast scene.
Aside from producing almost all of Mobb Deep’s tracks, Havoc has worked with some of the biggest names in rap music. His collaborators include the likes of Nas, Eminem, The Notorious B.I.G., 50 Cent, and Lil Kim.
Many of Havoc’s most successful productions are Mobb Deep hits, including the iconic ‘Shook Ones, Pt.II’ and ‘Survival of the Fittest.’
In recent years, his work on Kanye’s Life of Pablo album has seen two of his productions chart in the form of Kanye’s 2016 singles ‘Real Friends’ and ‘Famous.’
23. Marley Marl
Notable Collaborations: Erik B. & Rakim, Tragedy Khadafi, LL Cool J, Kool G Rap & DJ Polo, Big Daddy Kane
Hailing from Queens, New York, Marley Marl is the moniker of Marlon Williams. Although he is not the best-known producer on this list, his influence is routinely noted as one of the preeminent producers of 80s and 90s hip-hop.
He has earned production credits with an extensive list of rappers including, Raekwon, LL Cool J, Busta Rhymes, Nas, Tragedy Khadafi, Big Daddy Kane, Kool G Rap & DJ Polo, and many others.
Madlib is one of several well-known producers who have cited Marley Marl as a key inspiration.
22. No I.D.
Notable Collaborations: Common, Kanye, Jay-Z, G-Unit, Big Sean, Kid Cudi
No I.D. is the alias of DJ, rapper, and R&B/hip-hop producer Ernest Dion Wilson. He has been referred to as the ‘godfather of Chicago hip-hop.’
As a producer, Wilson has worked with some of the biggest names in the industry. After first reaching recognition thanks to his work with Common, he went on to work with Kid Cudi, Kanye, Jay-Z, Vince Staples, and more.
Aside from his production skills, Wilson is also a respected music executive. He served as the President of Kanye West’s G.O.O.D. Music label, and is currently Executive Vice President of Capitol Music Group.
Some of his biggest production credits include Kanye West’s 2009 hit ‘Heartless,’ which peaked at number two on the Billboard Hot 100 going 4x platinum, and Jay-Z’s 2010 hit ‘Run This Town’ which also peaked at number two on the Billboard Hot 100 and went 2x platinum.
21. Metro Boomin
Notable Collaborations: Drake, The Weeknd, Young Thug, Future, Migos, 21 Savage, Gucci Mane
Leland Tyler Wayne, better known as Metro Boomin, is one of the most successful and most influential rap producers on the scene today. Since moving to Atlanta as a teenager, he has been at the core of the Atlanta trap scene, working with many of the genre’s biggest artists.
In both 2016 and 2017 he won the BMI R&B/Hip-Hop Award for Producer of the Year. In 2018, his debut studio album Not All Heroes Wear Capes reached number one on the Billboard 200 album chart, and reached the top twenty in various countries around the world.
Metro Boomin has produced a number of chart-topping tracks. He produced the 2016 Migos hit ‘Bad and Boujee’ featuring Lil Uzi Vert, which topped the Billboard Hot 100, going 4x platinum. He also produced The Weeknd’s 2019 chart-topping song ‘Heartless,’ which went 3x platinum.
Other big tracks include Future’s 2017 ‘Mask Off’ which went 9x platinum, and Post Malone’s 2017 ‘Congratulations’ featuring Quavo, which went 11x platinum. There’s simply no stopping him.
20. Noah ‘40’ Shebib
Notable Collaborations: Drake, Rihanna, Jamie Foxx, Lil Wayne, Action Bronson, Beyoncé, Alicia Keys
Noah James Shebib, better known as 40, is one of the most prominent and most popular hip-hop producers on the scene today.
40 is best known as Drake’s producer, having produced all of Drake’s albums. Thanks to their regular collaborations, Drake’s brooding and downtempo sound is closely linked to 40 – and vice versa.
40 has also produced for Lil Wayne, Beyoncé, and Alicia Keys, amongst others. He has been nominated for eighteen Grammy awards. In 2013 he won the Grammy for Best Rap Album with Drake’s Take Care. In 2019, he won the Grammy for Best Rap song with another Drake song, ‘God’s Plan.’
Many of 40’s songs have topped the Billboard Hot 100, including ‘Work’ (2016) by Rihanna featuring Drake, and Drake tracks ‘Nice for What’ (2018), ‘God’s Plan’ (2018), ‘In My Feelings’ (2018), ‘Toosie Slide’ (2020), and ‘What’s Next’ (2021).
19. Mike Will Made It
Notable Collaborations: Kendrick Lamar, Lil Wayne, 2 Chainz, Kanye West, Nicki Minaj
Michael Len Williams II, better known as Mike Will Made It (or simply Mike Will), is a record producer and rapper who is best known for his trap beats. He has worked with many of the trap scene’s biggest artists, as well as a number of pop artists. Trap pioneer Gucci Mane was the first major artist to use his beats.
His accolades included winning Producer of the Year at the 2013 BET Hip-Hop Awards, and the 2018 Grammy award for Best Rap Song with Kendrick Lamar’s ‘HUMBLE.’
Some of the biggest hits he has worked on include ‘Black Beatles’ (2016) by Rae Sremmurd featuring Gucci Mane, and Kendrick Lamar’s ‘DNA’ (2017), and chart-topping ‘HUMBLE’ (2017).
18. Tyler, The Creator
Notable Collaborations: Frank Ocean, Earl Sweatshirt, The Internet, Mac Miller, Westside Gunn, Rex Orange County
Tyler, The Creator is revered as one of the most innovative rappers and producers in hip-hop today. One of the key figures and founding members of the Odd Future collective, his influence on rap music has been huge.
As a solo artist, Tyler has co-produced many of his records, including his Billboard 200 chart topping albums Igor (2019) and Call Me If You Get Lost (2021).
Tyler also has an extensive list of production credits on other artist’s tracks. The list includes Odd Future names such as Frank Ocean, Earl Sweatshirt, Mike G, Domo Genesis, and Casey Veggies, as well as the likes of Pusha T, The Internet, Mac Miller, and in recent times, Westside Gunn, and Rex Orange County.
Undoubtedly, Tyler is one of the great hip-hop producers of our time.
Notable Collaborations: Wu-Tang Clan, Method Man, Ghostface Killah, The Notorious B.I.G., Gravediggaz
The leader of the legendary Wu-Tang Clan, RZA is one of the best hip-hop producers in the world. He produced most of Wu-Tang Clan’s records, as well as producing the solo projects of many of the Clan’s members.
Amongst his most-noted works is Wu-Tang Clan’s Billboard 200 number one album, Wu-Tang Forever (1997), which went 4x platinum.
A versatile producer, he is known for his sparse and often soulful style, but has also produced hardcore hip-hop, most notably in his work with Gravediggaz.
RZA is also heavily involved in film, both as an actor and as a film composer. He scored the soundtracks for Quentin Tarantino’s Kill Bill: Volume 1 (2003) and Kill Bill: Volume 2 (2004).
16. Just Blaze
Notable Collaborations: Eminem, Cam’ron, Rick Ross, Lil Baby, Talib Kweli, P. Diddy
Justin Gregory Smith is best known as Just Blaze – a rap producer and DJ who earned notoriety for his work with the legendary Roc-A-Fella Records. Blaze was a pioneer of the ‘chipmunk’ sound that was popular in 00s hip-hop.
Just Blaze has worked with many of the biggest names in hip-hop, and, in recent years, many of the biggest artists on the trap scene. His tracks have made the top ten numerous times, and he achieved a Billboard Hot 100 number one in 2008 with the T.I. song ‘Live Your Life’ featuring Rihanna.
Other hit songs that Blaze has worked on include the Kanye West song ‘Touch the Sky’ (2005), Jay-Z’s ‘Show Me What You Got’ (2006), and Eminem’s song ‘No Love’ (2010).
15. Mike Dean
Notable Collaborations: Kanye West, Jay-Z, Kid Cudi, Tupac, Travis Scott, 2 Chainz, The Weeknd, Beyoncé
Mike Dean is a record producer and multi-instrumentalist who is greatly respected in the industry. He is best-known for his work with Kanye West. His list of collaborators is lengthy, and it includes a number of rappers, as well as extending into the world of pop music.
Dean’s collaborations with Kanye are extensive. He contributed to the mixing on The College Dropout (2004) and Late Registration (2005), and assisted on the production on Graduation (2007), My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy (2010), Yeezus (2013), The Life of Pablo (2016), Ye (2018), and Donda (2021).
Aside from his work with Kanye, Dean has been involved with production on some of hip-hop and rap music’s biggest artists, including the likes of Kid Cudi, Frank Ocean, Travis Scott, 2 Chainz, Migos, and Megan Thee Stallion.
Outside of the realm of hip-hop, he has worked with iconic pop artists including Madonna, Lana Del Rey, Selena Gomez, Beyoncé, and The Weeknd.
Notable Collaborations: Drake, Rihanna, Nicki Minaj, Jay-Z, Kendrick Lamar, Kanye West, Eminem
Boi-1da (‘boy wonder’) is a Jamaican-Canadian R&B and hip-hop producer who has worked with many of the biggest artists in the industry. He is one of the most prolific and popular rap producers of this generation.
He has been nominated for a staggering nineteen Grammy awards, and won the 2019 Grammy award for Best Rap Song with Drake’s ‘God’s Plan’ (along with fellow producer, 40).
Chart-topping songs he has worked on include ‘Not Afraid’ by Eminem (2010), ‘Work’ by Rihanna featuring Drake (2016), and ‘God’s Plan’ by Drake (2018).
Boi-1da has listed The Neptunes, Dr. Dre, Timbaland, and Swizz Beatz amongst his influences.
13. Swizz Beatz
Notable Collaborations: Kanye West, Busta Rhymes, Jay-Z, Eve
Swizz Beatz is the alias of New York City’s Kasseem Daoud Dean. He first gained notoriety as a DJ on the hip-hop scene, and went on to become an esteemed producer, and record label owner with his label Full Surface.
Dean has released two solo albums – One Man Band Man (2007) and Poison (2018), as well as his debut compilation album Swizz Beatz Presents G.H.E.T.T.O. Stories (2002), all of which charted, with One Man Band Man topping Billboard’s hip-hop album chart.
He has produced for many of the biggest names in the industry, although his tracks have only topped the Billboard Hot 100 once, with Beyoncé’s ‘Check on It’ featuring Slim Thug (2006).
Kanye West once called Swizz Beatz ‘the best rap producer of all time’ – quite an accolade. Check out his show, Verzuz, with Timbaland, for the inside scoop from two of the biggest producers in the game.
12. DJ Shadow
Notable Collaborations: Nas, Ghostface Killah, Raekwon, De La Soul, Run The Jewels
Best-known for his instrumentals, DJ Shadow is a hip-hop producer who burst onto the scene with his 1996 album Endtroducing. Unlike many of the producers on this list, his music rarely features extended vocal parts, focusing purely on the beats and samples.
Blending elements of hip-hop and UK trip-hop sounds, and generally working without rappers, DJ Shadow has forged a different path to many others on this list. He has nonetheless become one of the most respected hip-hop producers in the world.
His 2019 album Our Pathetic Age is formed of an instrumental record and a vocal record, the latter of which features a star-studded case including the likes of Nas, Pharoahe Monch, Ghostface Killah, Raekwon, De La Soul, Run The Jewels, and Samuel T. Herring.
11. Rick Rubin
Notable Collaborations: Run-DMC, Jay-Z, The Beastie Boys, LL Cool J
One of the wise old men of hip-hop, Rick Rubin is an influential personality in the music industry, and a revered hip-hop producer. He is the co-founder of Def Jam Recordings and the former co-president of Columbia Records. In 2007, he was named amongst the 100 most influential people in the world by The Times.
Rubin has worked across a range of genres, and has also been hugely successful producing rock, metal, and country. However, he has had significant impact in the world of hip-hop, working with the likes of Jay-Z, The Beastie Boys, Run-DMC, LL Cool J, and Kanye West.
His most famous rap tracks include The Beastie Boy’s ‘Fight for Your Right’ (1986), Run-DMC’s ‘Walk This Way’ (1986), and Jay-Z’s ‘99 Problems’ (2004). He has won a stunning nine Grammy awards for his work across genres.
Notable Collaborations: Jay-Z, Nas, Ludacris, Missy Elliot, Justin Timberlake, Beyoncé
Rapper, songwriter, record exec, and hip-hop producer extraordinaire, Timbaland is one of the most influential figures in the world of hip-hop and R&B.
Timbaland is perhaps best known for his work with popular R&B artists, including Aaliyah, Missy Elliot, and Justin Timberlake. As well as his production work, he has served as the songwriter for many of Justin Timberlake’s biggest hits. Over the years he has also collaborated with the likes of rap royalty including Jay-Z, Nas, and Drake.
Aside from producing for dozens of the world’s biggest artists, he has also released three solo studio albums – Tim’s Bio: Life from da Bassment (1998), Shock Value (2007), and Shock Value II (2009).
9. Kanye West
Notable Collaborations: Jay-Z, Pusha T, Common, Talib Kweli, Brandy, Dead Prez, John Legend, Lil Wayne
Today, Kanye West is known for many things, but let’s not forget that his career started out as a hip-hop producer. Indeed, it was his production skills that first got him into the industry, as he began producing beats for a number of esteemed Roc-A-Fella artists.
In his early years, Kanye produced for Dead Prez, Beanie Sigel, Talib Kweli, and Jay-Z. He also worked with R&B and pop artists including the likes of Brandy, Janet Jackson, Monica, and John Legend. Over the years, he has collaborated as a producer with many of the biggest names in the industry.
In recent years, West’s tracks have become distinctively epic and dramatic, drawing on a diverse sound palette and wide-ranging influences. He has won numerous awards for his production, including BET awards for Producer of the Year in 2009 and 2012.
He has been Grammy nominated for his production work with Alicia Keys (2005), Mariah Carey (2006), Lil Wayne (2009), The Weeknd (2016), and Lil Nas X (2022), aside from his production work on his own projects.
Kanye may be known as a rapper, an entrepreneur, and a controversial public figure – but aside from all that, he remains one of the best hip-hop producers of all time.
8. Pete Rock
Notable Collaborations: CL Smooth, Run-DMC, Nas, Slum Village, De La Soul, Ghostface Killah
Pete Rock is the alias of Peter O. Philips – a DJ, rapper, and hip-hop producer who is widely regarded as one of the best hip-hop producers of all time. He is famous as one half of the hip-hop duo Pete Rock & CL Smooth.
Pete Rock is especially renowned for his work in the 90s, as a key figure in creating the East Coast hip-hop sound. As well as producing the majority of the tracks in his duo with CL Smooth, he produced a number of highly successful 90s hip-hop remixes. Stylistically, he is known for incorporating elements of jazz to create jazz and soul influenced tracks.
Aside from the two albums and two EPs he released with CL Smooth, the list of rappers and singers he has worked with over the years is extensive. It includes the likes of Cypress Hill, Method Man & Redman, Raekwon, Ghostface Killah, Westside Gunn, Conway the Machine, and many more.
Pete Rock is also responsible for producing Nas’ iconic 1994 song ‘The World Is Yours.’
7. The Alchemist
Notable Collaborations: Mobb Deep, Nas, Prodigy, Domo Genesis, Action Bronson, Westside Gunn
The Alchemist is one of the most innovative and technically skilled hip-hop producers on the scene today. Born Alan Daniel Maman, The Alchemist is amongst the most popular hip-hop producers in the world.
Initially a rapper and songwriter, Maman was part of hip-hop duo The Whooliganz in the 90s. However, he has found most of his success as a producer, with three Grammy award nominations to date.
The Alchemist’s production credits are extensive, and some of the biggest names he has worked with include Mobb Deep, 50 Cent, Dilated Peoples, Tragedy Khadafi, Capone-N-Noreaga, Earl Sweatshirt, Westside Gunn, MF Doom, and Kendrick Lamar.
Some of the most popular tracks he has produced include Mobb Deep’s ‘Win or Lose’ (2004), Lil Wayne’s ‘You Ain’t Got Nothing On Me’ from the Grammy-nominated Tha Carter III (2008), and ‘FEAR’ from Kendrick Lamar’s DAMN (2017).
Notable Collaborations: MF Doom, Freddie Gibbs, Talib Kweli, Black Star
Madlib is the project of Otis Jackson Jr. Thanks especially to his work with MF Doom, and their collaborations as Madvillain, he has become regarded amongst the best hip-hop producers of all time. He is also known for his collaborations with J Dilla.
Aside from his MF Doom and J Dilla collaborations, Madlib produced tracks for some of the the most popular and most successful rap artists of the 80s and 90s, including Slum Village, Mos Def, Blu, and Snoop Dogg. Other notable collaborators include Freddie Gibbs and Westside Gunn.
His crowning glory is arguably the album Madvillainy (2004), his collaborative album with MF Doom, which was initially leaked, and then released under the name Madvillain. Despite its relatively muted commercial response, the album has become a cult classic in the hip-hop community, and MF Doom’s definitive album.
As a solo artist, Madlib has released eleven albums since 2000, including several under his Quasimoto moniker.
5. DJ Premier
Notable Collaborations: Gang Starr, Nas, Common, Dr. Dre, Kanye West, Mos Def, Rakim, Anderson .Paak, The Game, Ludacris
No one would question DJ Premier’s inclusion in the top ten of this list. The alias of Christopher Edward Martin, DJ Premier first rose to fame in the 90s as one half of the rap duo, Gang Starr.
He went on to collaborate with many of the most successful rap artists in the game, including the likes of Mos Def, Common, Kanye, Ludacris, and The Game.
Some of his biggest hits include Gang Starr’s ‘Mass Appeal’ (1994), Nas’ ‘N.Y State of Mind’ (1994), and The Notorious B.I.G’s ‘Unbelievable’ (1994).
In a poll by Vibe Magazine, DJ Premier was voted the second best rap producer of all time, second only to Dr. Dre. The iconic producer is generally regarded to be amongst the top ten best hip-hop producers ever.
Today, he works closely with rapper Royce da 5’9” as one half of the duo PRhyme. Check out his show ‘So Wassup’ for chat and insights on the rap music industry.
Notable Collaborations: A Tribe Called Quest, The Roots, Nas, Kanye West, Kendrick Lamar, Roc Marciano
Q-Tip is one of the most innovative and most-revered hip-hop producers of our time. He first rose to prominence as the producer of A Tribe Called Quest. He is known for his jazz-influenced beats, and he is also respected as a rapper.
Q-Tip served as the main producer for A Tribe Called Quest and their six albums from 1990 to 2016 – including the Billboard 200 topping Beats, Rhymes and Life (1996), and We Got it from Here… Thank You 4 Your Service (2016).
Apart from A Tribe Called Quest, Q-Tip has produced tracks for the likes of Nas, Roc Marciano, The Roots, Mobb Deep, Busta Rhymes, and Solange.
Q-Tip has also had a successful career as a solo artist, with several singles charting over the years. He has featured on tracks with Anderson .Paak and Kendrick Lamar.
Some of his most-loved beats include Nas’ One Love’ (1994) and A Tribe Called Quest classics ‘Can I Kick It?’ (1990) and ‘Electric Relaxation’ (1994).
3. The Neptunes
Notable Collaborations: Snoop Dogg, Busta Rhymes, Clipse, Jay-Z, Justin Timberlake, Usher
The Neptunes are one of the most influential songwriting and production teams ever. Composed of Pharrell Williams and Chad Hugo, the pair are the brains behind a huge number of hip-hop and R&B hits.
The duo have won four Grammy awards, and were pronounced ‘Producer of the Decade’ by Billboard in 2009.
Their biggest Billboard topping hits include the 2002 Nelly smash ‘Hot in Herre,’ Snoop Dogg’s 2004 hit ‘Drop It Like It’s Hot’ featuring Pharrell, and the 2006 Ludacris song ‘Money Maker’ featuring Pharrell.
The Neptunes are also the team behind hits like Jay-Z’s ‘I Just Wanna Love U (Give It 2 Me)’ (2000), Usher’s 2002 song ‘U Don’t Have To Call,’ Justin Timberlake hits ‘Rock Your Body’ (2003), the unforgettable Kelis song ‘Milkshake’ (2003), and Gwen Stefani’s defining solo single ‘Hollaback Girl’ (2005).
Undoubtedly one of the most impactful production teams of all time, The Neptunes have a staggering catalogue of hits under their belt.
2. J Dilla
Notable Collaborations: Slum Village, De La Soul, MF Doom
Few names are more sacred in the world of hip-hop than J Dilla. The iconic hip-hop producer first rose to prominence as a member of the group Slum Village, before he died in 2006 at the age of 32.
He is especially renowned for his unquantized ‘drunk’ beats, which he made popular, and which hugely influenced both hip-hop beats and live hip-hop drummers going forward.
Dilla released three solo studio albums in his lifetime – Welcome 2 Detroit (2001), Champion Sound (2003), and Donuts (2006). Several more J Dilla records have been released posthumously.
Aside from his tracks with Slum Village and his solo work, J Dilla produced tracks for artists including De La Soul, MF Doom, and Erykah Badu. His beats have also been used on releases by Common, Raekwon, and many others.
Few producers can be said to have had such an influence as J Dilla did – and he achieved this all in just a few years before his untimely death.
1. Dr. Dre
Notable Collaborations: Snoop Dogg, Tha Dogg Pound, 50 Cent, N.W.A., 2Pac, The D.O.C., 50 Cent, Eminem, Kendrick Lamar
Rapper, producer, entrepreneur and record executive, Dr. Dre is one of the biggest movers and shakers in the world of hip-hop. He is known for a number of professional pursuits, but above all, he is widely regarded as one of the very best hip-hop producers of all time. Dre has six Grammy awards to his name, three of which are for his production.
A key figure in developing the West Coast G-funk sound, Dr. Dre shot to fame with his 1992 debut album The Chronic. The album peaked at number three on the Billboard 200, and stayed in the top ten for eight months. It is widely regarded as one of the best-produced hip-hop albums ever.
In terms of sonics, Dre’s early sound heavily incorporated synths and electronics. The Akai MPC3000 drum machine and sampler has been a mainstay in his toolbox. Dr. Dre’s sound has continuously evolved, taking a more soulful direction in recent years.
After the success of The Chronic, Dre went on to be pivotally involved in the careers and subsequent success of artists including Snoop Dogg, Warren G (his step-brother), Tha Dogg Pound, Eminem, 50 Cent, and Kendrick Lamar.
Dre served not only as the producer for many of these artists, but also as the CEO of his label Death Row Records, to which several of these artists were signed.
Dr. Dre has produced a number of the most famous rap songs of all time. Some of the most iconic tracks he has produced include his own track ‘Nuthin’ But a ‘G’ Thang’ (1992) featuring Snoop Dogg, 2Pac’s ‘California Love’ (1995), Eminem’s ‘The Real Slim Shady’ (2000), Mary J. Blige’s ‘Family Affair’ (2001), and 50 Cent’s smash hit ‘In Da Club’ (2003).
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