At least Akon didn't make it

I have a quick bone to pick with the selections for the producers' Hall of Fame. It seems we forgot some of the best, not to mention most important, beat makers in the history of rap. Why is that? Probably because many rap fans have a poor sense of history, so great music gets forgotten in favor of what's in our decks at the moment. (I'm writing this mostly in regards to 9th Wonder's pick, by the way) That's not to say some of these guys haven't made some of the dopest music in rap's history, but we need to be a bit more inclusive in our selection of candidates. I'll try and start us off real quickly:

Organized Noize



Prince Paul

Bomb Squad

Pete Rock

Rick Rubin


Pimp C



Lord Finesse

Mr. DJ

Easy Mo Bee

This is just a quick list scanning through my computer, for the record. I thought about writing little blurbs about each producer/production team, but these guys all have track records that speak for themselves. I know I forgot somebody really important, but that is why the comments section exists. So what do you say? Let's rectify our oversights.

You already know.
Posted on 8:58 PM by bding7 and filed under | 17 Comments »


Jordan said... @ October 28, 2008 at 10:20 PM

The only addition I have to this is Marley Marl, who kinda ran shit in New York in the mid-late 80s. But yeah, 9th wonder just seems kinda off as a pick. But then again no one on my ballot made it, so what do I know?

Jesus Shuttlesworth said... @ October 28, 2008 at 10:40 PM

great addition, i knew i forgot at least one big name. paul c and large professor might be late additions, too.

the odd thing about 9th is that besides little brother, he has very little major output to his name. but, i never looked for dream merchant, so i may want to hush.

quan said... @ October 28, 2008 at 11:44 PM

How about Just Blaze? I wouldn't put him on the same level as RZA, Preemo, or Dre, but he's definitely in the same league as 9th and maybe Kanye.

Also, this is pretty East Coast-centric, no? How about Mannie Fresh? Or for that matter, DJ Quik?

Guy Fawkes said... @ October 29, 2008 at 12:36 PM

I was waiting for someone to bring this up, because it wouldn't really be fair if I did.
First off, any poll like this is rarely going to be conclusive, on this site Primo will probably win, but on a site like NappyAfro, Kanye would win.

I don't think Kanye belongs on this list. But nothing I can do about it.
But 9th does deserve his spot. I've heard most of the albums 9th has handles all the production on and have yet to find a weak song. Look at what a good 9th beat did for MURS and Little Brother.

And what really separtates him is his consistency, Pete Rock is a legendary producer but he has about a 50% success rate. 9th is very consistent, he doesn't step out of the box too often, but he is good at his type of producing... sample driven soul instrumentals.

Timbaland does not belong on a list of best producers. Discluding the shit he's doing today, he's never really been that great. Organized Noise, Ali Shaheed Muhammad, Lord Finesse all of them are like the Scottie Pippen of hip-hop. They all come with dope music, but you can't really think of them as the best ever.
Rick Rubin... maybe. But he never actually handled any production, sure he transcended genres but that doesn't make him the best ever. Just like Run DMC isn't the greatest group of all time (when that is all that he's known for), besides Def Jam of course.
The Bomb Squad is relatively forgotten and when a production crew dies out when a group dies out, that's a pretty good indication of their level of greatness.
The Neptunes are a joke here, best ever? No chance.
Easy Mo Bee got my vote, so can't say anything there.
Havoc is not that great of a producer (sorry), I would rather have seen L.E.S. or Alchemist.
And Mr. DJ follows the Bomb Squad, if it wasn't for OutKast no one would know him.

Ultimately, I agree that Dilla should have made this list.
Kanye shouldn't have.

9th has produced a lot Jesus... The Black Album, MURS, Ludacris, Buckshot, Jean Grae, most of J.U.S.T.U.S. League, that was a pretty uninformed statement.

Large Pro maybe, Marley Marl is also a maybe, because he is only known for his KRS One/BDP shit... whereas Primo is known for more than just his GangStarr music.

And Just Blaze is only comparable to Kanye at his worst.
Just Bleezy has very little shit out that is actually "amazing", like "Spaceship", and countless other early Kanye music.

Just me though..

Jordan said... @ October 29, 2008 at 1:43 PM

Did you confuse Marley Marl with Scott La Rock Guy?

My main objection to 9th is that he didn't really do anything revolutionary. Like whatever you wanna say about Timbo, he did something no one had done before and changed the way rap and pop sounded. To a lesser extent, so did Pimp C and Organized Noize, progressing rap's musicality farther than Dre had taken it. (telling how on "Quit Hatin' The South," Pimp C acknowledges taking more from dudes like Dre and maybe Khayree, saying "the west coast did it a little better") Dilla introduced this idea that not everything had to conform into a banger, you could create these free floating sonic collages.

One of the more interesting things about the top 5 is that 4 of them are or were pure samplers (I feel Kanye is being judged more by his circa 2003 output than by his late registration, throw a bunch of strings in there type shit) and only Dre is an instrumentalist as well as a sampler. I always wonder about this in terms how people perceive hip hop production, if people perceive sampling as closer to a platonic ideal of what hip hop is, and instrumentation as a slight perversion of that. Personally I had 4 instrumentalists and one pure sampler on my ballot, so I'm willing to believe I've got the opposite bias.

quan said... @ October 29, 2008 at 2:39 PM

But shouldn't "Best Producer Ever" status be reserved for someone with some shred of originality/innovation? 9th is good at what he does but let's be real: he's just refined Pete Rock's formula without really adding to it. Without Pete Rock, there is no 9th Wonder and if you ask 9th who Best Producer Ever is, even he's gonna say Pete Rock, point blank.

In general, I think you're diminishing/ignoring the long-lasting contributions of many of these producers, their influence on music beyond just their own music. If I just take Bomb Squad as an example, even if they didn't produce a helluva lot of beats (which is debatable considering their work with Ice Cube), they revolutionized sampling techniques, taking it beyond straight loops and added layers upon layers of sound. Before they popularized it, beats were mostly like a single loop on top of a drum kit. They changed that and that changed hip-hop as we know it. I just don't think you can have any "Best Ever" list without strong consideration for the artists' historical impact in their field. And maybe 9th WILL have a significant impact, but we've yet to see that.

Guy Fawkes said... @ October 29, 2008 at 3:56 PM

Jordan, I thought that Marley Marl was part of The Juice Crew thus relating him to KRS and BDP. But now that I looked it up, he's done more than just that, so that was poorly thought-out on my end.

Quan, don't confuse a best producer ever list with a most influential producer ever list.
Judging by your statements shouldn't Kool Herc be the best producer ever? Without him, there would be no Pete Rock and no hip-hop.
What about Grand Wizard Theodore, Grandmaster Flash and Jazzy Jay?
They all created the style that is hip-hop today.
Surely Bomb Squad took notable influence from them.
"I just don't think you can have any "Best Ever" list without strong consideration for the artists' historical impact in their field".
That is true, but you have to look at it subjectively. I love the Sugarhill Gang, but they are not the best rap group ever. Neither is Grandmaster Flash and The Furious Five.

So my question is how long does an artist have to make music before it's agreed that they can be a respectable choice on a list like this?
10 years? 15?

Lots of people have revolutionized multiple forms of hip-hop. So why don't we recognize El-P? In today's day and age he is one of the most creative producers alive. Or DJ Cip-One? Innovative is a word that just touches the surface of his ingenuity making music.

This type of list is never going to be perfect. You can't include everyone, you just can't.

And acknowledging history only makes it harder. Everyone on this list or suggested to be on this list has made a great contribution to hip-hop. Some more than others, but as styles change what they've done becomes less and less important.
Flash and Theodore invented scratching. Isn't that one of hip-hop's cornerstones?
Sugarhill Gang/Marley Marl invented sampling, that is hip-hop's cornerstone.

You can't depend on history here. Everyone's done something important, and you can't recognize everyone.

Guy Fawkes said... @ October 29, 2008 at 3:56 PM

Sorry if that came off mean or bitter... it wasn't supposed to.

Just a friendly discussion.

Jordan said... @ October 29, 2008 at 4:46 PM

I mean KRS started out feuding with the Juice Crew, which is what makes that statement weird.

But anyway Guy, here's the thing. If a painter today jacked Rembrandt's style, and through meticulous attention to detail was able to work within that style, and with huge amounts of practice was able to work in this exact style to a degree slightly better than Rembrandt, no one in the art world would give a shit. When talking about the greatest painters of all time, Rembrandt would still come up, and that guy would not, for good reason; despite the incrementally superior aesthetics of his paintings, he's completely insignificant.

Now this isn't an entirely fair comparison, because 9th Wonder isn't entirely jacking Pete Rock's style, but it's useful in that 9th Wonder has done very little to distinguish himself. Now Rembrandt isn't only remembered because he created a style, he was also really fucking good at that style and made it great. Same with Picasso or Jackson Pollack or Marley Marl or Charlie Parker or Bo Diddley or Rakim. The point isn't that they were historically significant or they were great, the point is they were historically significant AND they were great.

quan said... @ October 29, 2008 at 6:28 PM

My rebuttal: cosign Jordan.

And yeah, that came off bitter. Let's not start blog-battling now, lest we end up on Beef vol. 29 and get syndicated on primetime BET or some shit.

Jesus Shuttlesworth said... @ October 29, 2008 at 6:31 PM

quan- like i said, i am open to any and all additions. i was just naming the first people that came to mind, and i'm glad you're thinking beyond my little tri-state mindframe. i thought about mannie, though i am not up on all his stuff. just blaze is tough for me; he's made some great stuff (What We Do, U Don't Know, King Back, Dynomite! come to me first), but recently he sounds very uninspired or lazy. a Freeway reunion is in order.

guy- in regards to timbo: put the songs he's done with jay against any of 9th's stuff. and i'm not a big jay-z person at all. then look at bubba sparxxx's second album. this guy can not only make beats, but help craft an artist's album, which is what producing is really about.

like jordan said, some of these guys, while very consistent, lack any personal style that helps them stand out. and without a personal (or local) style, what is rap music?

Jordan said... @ October 29, 2008 at 7:16 PM

This isn't beef, it's disagreement with tone issues!

I just realized I forgot to officially add Khayree to this list's candidates so consider him added, as well as Da Beatminerz and maybe Ski (Uptown Saturday Night has to be one of the best produced albums ever, even if his other stuff is kinda underwhelming). Also Dart Adams came up with a top 50 (with ties) a few months ago, it's an interesting list even if you don't agree with everything there.

In all seriousness, sorry if my tone got outta control, though overall I'd say we did an alright job not letting this escalate into full blown blogger beef (it's what's for dinner).

Jesus Shuttlesworth said... @ October 29, 2008 at 7:57 PM

how about some rick rock? or t-mix, perhaps? i'm just throwing some names out there.

quan said... @ October 29, 2008 at 11:18 PM

There's getting to be a lot of names so I'ma bring it full circle, back to your original point, Jesus: Yes, at least we can all agree that the exclusion of Akon is a good thing. And DJ Khaled. Dang, we should do a 50 Worst Producers post or something!

For my part I wasn't trying to raise my digital voice/tone here but my bad if I came off like a dick. Overall, I'm glad you made the post man.

Jordan said... @ October 29, 2008 at 11:56 PM

I'm pretty sure Khaled doesn't actually produce, he just yells on top of Scott Storch/the runners/Danja productions.

(yeah just that's a lame excuse for the fact that I get really fucking hyped when I hear We Takin' Over or the I'm So Hood remix, none of those are best ever territory anyway)

Silly Motherfucker said... @ November 3, 2010 at 11:24 PM

the best producer has to be consistent as fuck (which disqualifies most these mother fuckers you listing)

tribe called quest because they are the best and fuck everyone else. /end of discussion.

Silly Motherfucker said... @ November 3, 2010 at 11:26 PM

lol!! Jordon, you have garbage tastes in music