Top Rap Producers of the Last Decade [Part 1]
It’s so easy to forget how great last decade was when referencing Hip-Hop. I’ll go on record to say that 2000-2010 was a golden era for production. It seemed like you could find great music from every region in the country. I was trying to comprise a list of the top 8 of the past decade, but couldn’t narrow the list down so instead I decided to break down this section into 2 parts. So without further ado, I present the top rap producers of the last decade.
Just Blaze goes down in my book as one of my all-time favorite producers. He got his big break by signing on to Rocafella records in 1999 & worked with a ton of artists under that umbrella including Jay-Z (Song Cry), Beanie Sigel (Beanie), Memphis Bleek, Cam’ron (Oh Boy), Kanye West (Touch The Sky) Young Gunz (Friday Night) & Freeway (Flipside). Working with Rocafella opened the door to work with other artists. He then got opportunities to work with Fabolous (Breathe), Mariah Carey (You Got Me) Joe Budden (Pump It Up), Usher (Throwback) The Game (Church for Thugs) & T.I. (Live Your Life).
Before reaching billionaire status with his very successful Beats By Dre Headphones, there once was a time that Andre Young aka Dr. Dre was a prominent producer (and a damn good one at that). He is highly known as a key figure in the West Coast Sound G-Funk & Is responsible for churning out hits for every super successful rapper. Although a lot of his work that he is known for is from the 90s, He still had a hand in producing albums that went multi platinum in this era which were Eminem (The Real Slim Shady), 50 Cent (In Da Club), & The Game (How We Do).
Pharrell Williams & Chad Hugo paved a path for themselves within the realm of Hip-Hop with their distinctive sound unlike anything ever heard before. It’s hard to disagree that the Neptunes didn’t dominate the era when they had 24 records in the Billboard 100 Top 10. The artists that these guys worked with includes N.O.R.E. (Superthug), Jay-Z (I Wanna Love You/Give It To Me) The Clipse (Grindin’) Snoop Dogg (Drop It Like It’s Hot) Ludacris (Southern Hospitality) Mystikal (Danger/Been So Long) & Lupe Fiasco (I Gotcha).
What can be said about Kanye outside of the fact that everyone refers to him as a nutcase? I see a passionate producer who is a perfectionist. But being a stickler isn’t a bad thing when you’re accountable for one of the greatest diss tracks recorded by Jay-Z (Takeover), Scarface (Guess Who’s Back), Talib Kweli (Get By) T.I. (Doin’ My Job) Ludacris (Stand Up) Twista (Overnight Celebrity) Cam’ron (Down & Out), The Game (Dreams) Common (Go). That’s not even including the major records that he produced for himself: All Falls Down, Gold Digger, Stronger, Can’t Tell Me Nothin’ and countless others.
Timbo The King! Timbaland is the asterisk in my list because he’s more known for his R&B contributions more so than his Hip-Hop BUT who he has worked with has resulted in huge records. Ludacris (Rollout) Missy Elliott (Get Ur Freak On), Jay-Z (Dirt Off Your Shoulder) Lil’ Kim (The Jump Off) LL Cool J (Headsprung) 50 Cent (Ayo Technology) & Fabolous (Make Me Better) all had the radio rotations.
A legendary producer that gets slept on. Mannie Fresh is a noteworthy figure in the success of B.G. (Checkmate Album) Lil Wayne (Lights Out & Tha Carter Albums) & the rest of the Hot Boyz. Major hits came from Lil Wayne (Go DJ) but included artists outside of his label such as Young Jeezy (And Then What) & T.I. (Top Back).
I don’t think there was a place in America where I could go without hearing the infamous “OK!” or “YEAH!”. So popular, that Dave Chappelle made a skit out of it. I’ll give Lil’ Jon credit as the father of Crunk Music. Lil’ Jon had his hands in the production for artists Ying Yang Twins (Salt Shaker) Petey Pablo (Freek-a-Leek) Young Buck (Shorty Wanna Ride). Of course, he kept some hits for himself as well (Snap Yo Fingers). And to top it off, he’s had major hit with Usher (Yeah!) & Ciara (Goodies).
With That Being Said
These producers are some that shaped the landscape of Hip-Hop for the current generation & set the bar for how having the right backdrop can propel an artist to megastar or superstar. What do you think of the list? Feel free to add a comment.