What are the different pieces that have to come together for a hit song in Hip-Hop? There are many different moving parts, but it all begins with the rapper and the producer. The latter is maybe even more important because if the beat doesn’t make you want to dance or isn’t catchy enough, then even a good rapper can’t save a song. When it comes to making hot beats for the top rappers in the game, here are the most wanted producers in Hip-Hop right now.
Mike Will Made It
25-year-old Mike Will is one of the hottest producers in music right now. Hailing from Atlanta, GA, he started out by making trap-style beats for other Southern rappers like Juicy J (“Bands a Make Her Dance”) and 2 Chainz (“No Lie”). But soon afterwards, word got around of his genius musical mind, and just in the last two years, he has created hits for Miley Cyrus (“We Can’t Stop”), Rihanna (“Pour It Up”), Kanye West (“Mercy”), Ciara (“Body Party”) and Future (“Move that Dope”). You can be sure that there will be a lot more Billboard #1 hits with Mike Will’s signature winning sound.
Chauncey Hollis aka Hit-Boy is a highly in-demand producer in urban music right now. Only rightfully so, because he was the skilled musical mind behind one of the biggest rap hits in the last three years: Ni**as in Paris by Kanye West and Jay-Z. After that massive song, he went on to produce another stellar track for Kanye West and his Good Music crew called “Clique.” After those breakthrough hits, Hit-Boy decided to develop his rapping career in addition to his production, but he still continues to churn out hits for A-list rap names like The Game, Kendrick Lamar, A$AP Rocky, Lil Wayne and Eminem.
In the last several years, Toronto has really landed on the scene as one of the most respected hotbeds in Hip-Hop. This is due in large part to the success and global recognition of superstar Drake. One of the producers responsible for providing Drake with his catchy beats is Boi-1da (pronounced Boy Wonda). He is also from Toronto, and he actually created the beat for one of Drake’s earliest breakthrough hits titled “Best I Ever Had.” He has continued to be a mainstay in Toronto’s rapper camp, producing beats on his Thank Me Later and Nothing Was The Same albums. Additionally Boi-1da has given his melodic, radio-friendly sound to major artists like DJ Khaled, Rick Ross, Jay-Z, Mobb Deep and Nas.
The laid back, G-funk style of Hip-Hop that was very much in style when artists like Snoop Dogg and Warren G first emerged is back in popularity again. We have one producer to thank for this trend and his name is DJ Mustard. In the last two years, Mustard has completely exploded on the scene creating hit after hit for artists like Jennifer Lopez, Ty$, Tyga, Tre Songz, 2Chainz, Kanye West, Young Jeezy and his main partner in crime, YG. At one point late last year, his dominance over Hip-Hop radio was so unavoidable that Jay-Z scooped him up and signed him to his Roc Nation management agency. He’s still only in his early twenties, so there’s a lot more to expect from this talented producer.
Originally from Brooklyn NYC, Sharif “Reefa” Slater has been crafting hits for A-list Hip-Hop artists for many years. Some of those artists include: The Game, Rick Ross, Fabolous, Jeezy, Puff Daddy, Gucci Mane and Styles P. However, in the last two years, Reefa has really taken his status to the upper echelon. He produced songs for French Montana’s debut album (the Bronx rapper currently dating Khloe Kardashian), and earlier this year, he produced tracks on two #1 Billboard albums. Those chart-topping LP’s were for rhyme heavyweight Rick Ross and R&B princess, Ashanti. His music was also featured on the soundtrack to the movie The Other Woman starting Cameron Diaz and Kate Upton (which is out now). For the rest of 2014, Reefa is putting in heavy work with rap mogul Sean “Puffy” Combs on music for his highly anticipated album MMM. Remember his name; this guy is likely to make some major waves in the years to come.
Hailing from Virginia, Timbaland stepped on the scene in the mid to late 90’s and was an instant hit maker with his futuristic, dance floor ready, stutter-step beats. A few of the artists that really benefited from his musical genius during that era were Missy Elliott, Jay-Z, Ginuwine and the late, great Aaliyah. He was also the producer behind Justin Timberlake’s mega-smash “Sexy Back.” He had a lull for a couple of years, but exploded back on the scene in a big way last year as the major producer behind Timberlake’s 20/20 Experience albums. He also contributed some really fresh beats for Jay-Z’s Magna Carta Holy Grail album. Timbaland is currently working on his 4th solo album which is rumored to feature big names like Drake, T.I. and Jay-Z.
Pharrell Williams is another producer who’s no stranger to the limelight. For more than ten years, he has concocted winning beats for the best of the best including: Busta Rhymes, The Clipse, Ludacris, Jay-Z, Nore, Nelly, Kendrick Lamar and many more. However, he’s had a really big resurgence in the last year with the success of songs like “Get Lucky” by Daft Punk and the infectious “Blurred Lines” by Robin Thicke. He is one of those producers that always stays relevant and current with the times, and we’re sure he’ll be generating chart-toppers for many more years to come.
There’s a truck full of special Hip-Hop talent coming from the West Coast lately, and one of the standout producers is DJ Dahi. Over the last five years, he has been steadily building a name for himself producing for West Coast rap acts like Dom Kennedy, Pac Div and Casey Veggies. But recently, his stock has shot through the roof after producing winning tracks for big rap names like Kendrick Lamar and Schoolboy Q. He’s even spreading his wings now into other genres. He recently produced music for the new album Sheezus by UK pop star Lily Allen.
One of the biggest rap songs last year was by the Canadian rapper Drake. It was the lead single to his recent album and it was titled “Started from the Bottom.” It was an immediate club anthem, and the producer behind the slamming beat was a young New Jersey upstart named Mike Zombie. That was last year – but in 2014, it looks like this young musician has another winner on his hands. He recently created a track for DJ Khaled’s upcoming album “They Don’t Love You No More” which features Meek Mill, Rick Ross and Jay-Z. Watch out for this guy, he might be one of the biggest producers on the scene in the next few years.
When it comes to Hip-Hop producers, it doesn’t get more elite than Swizz Beatz. For well over a decade, he has been creating hot beats for well-loved artists like DMX, Eve, Busta Rhymes, The LOX, Ludacris, LL Cool J, Kanye West, Jay-Z and much more. There’s a raw and vibrant energy that comes with every Swizz track, and whenever artists want a guaranteed hit for the clubs, he’s the man they go looking for.
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