Welcome back good people!
When we last left off, we were discussing a mix of the greatest beatsmiths ever to sit behind the boards in hip-hop. After these pioneers are all dead and gone, their spirits will be the ghosts in your MASCHINE that powers the next generation of hip-hop super producer. They are the literal movers and shakers of the music industry. They are the composers of straight heat (no FRUITY LOOPS here). So back by popular demand, and with good REASON, we present Pt. 2 of the greatest hip-hop producers ever. And just in time too because I’m fresh out of producer puns.
There aren’t enough superlatives to describe the incomparable Rick Rubin and his contributions to hip-hop production. Def Jam Records architect and co founder (along with some guy named Russell), Rubin has laid the foundation for not just classic songs but classic careers. From the Beastie Boys to Run D.M.C to LL to Jay-Z, Rubin’s rock and roll samples overlaid onto neck snapping compressed percussion made you want to fight for your right to walk this way, that way, and any other way Rick wanted you to.
If you like Kanye and you like Just Blaze and you like hip-hop, then you’ll love Pete Rock! The original soul and jazz sample king, Pete Rock has been cranking out classic tracks and ridiculous remixes for over 25 years. Cousin to Heavy D, this mecca in the soul brother was a mainstay in East Coast 90’s era hip-hop, so when you reminisce over the golden age, you are more than likely reminiscing over Pete’s beats.
Just Blaze is an animal. Plain and simple. He produces the type of music that makes you want to crash your brand new BMW into a brick wall. Utilizing melodic soul samples chopped to shreds, hard-ass drums and an unmatched frenetic energy, if you ever need to get yourself hyped up for anything, I highly recommend a Just Blaze joint. What Jimmy Hendrix does with an electric guitar, Just does with a soul sample. With several decades of cranking out hits for everyone from Harlem World to Rocafella Records, it would appear that you Mr. Blaze, do know what you’re doing… doing… doing…
If you are a hip hop fan then I really shouldn’t have to say anything other than the name Rza but you took the time to read this so I’ll write something. Rza is the Soul / Sole Sonic force behind the Wu-Tang movement. Although his discography expands way past Wu-Tang, lets just say if you’ve ever liked any Wu-Tang song (and you have), Rza was more than likely the one who produced it. He’s produced for more people and on more classic albums than we care to count. From Bounty Killer to Bjork to Biggie. From Enter The Wu to OB4QL to Supreme Clientele, only Bobby Digital can supply the kind of grungy, dark, smelly basement beats that’ll make Jeru the Damaja Come Clean (Premo produced that but you get the point). If it needs to be hard-edged and gritty then it needs to be Rza.
Hailing from Detroit Michigan, J. Dilla was and still is one of the most influential hip-hop producers of our time. With production credits from Common, A Tribe Called Quest, The Roots, Slum Village and a host of others, his sonic youth makes up the very fabric of hip-hop music. I’ve prided myself on being able to recreate every producer’s sound and when I tried a Dilla track, I couldn’t quite get the timing right. He’s the only one I’ve been unsuccessful with. I don’t think it’s a coincidence. What Timbaland does to the groove of a track, J. Dilla does to the whole damn song. The syncopated, off-beat flow is a part of that Dilla magic. It’s more of a feeling than timing and 9/10 times it just feels right.