The ten best rap producers of all time

Page 2 of 3

10. Large Professor Besides discovering Nas and producing 30 percent of the most unassailable rap album of all time, Large Professor has been one of rap's most well respected figures for twenty years and counting. His career began in high school when he programmed beats for the legendary Eric B & Rakim. Soon after, he was producing his own classic album with Main Source in Breaking Atoms.

9. Rick Rubin Rick Rubin is arguably one of the finest music producers in any genre, but his contribution to hip-hop has been monumental. He may not have produced a ton of rap albums compared with the rest of his gigantic catalog, but much of his finest work has been rap, from Run D.M.C.'s Raising Hell and the Beastie Boys' License to Ill to Public Enemy's It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back and LL Cool J's Radio.

8. J Dilla J Dilla is both one of the most overrated and underrated producers in all of hip-hop. On the one hand, not enough people know him, or else his irrepressibly soulful cuts would be celebrated well beyond hip-hop walls. On the other hand, the people who do know him love him unconditionally. It doesn't help that he died from Lupus well before he had time to finish up his catalog, but his work with Slum Village and beyond was enough to show that Jay Dee was a one-in-a-million talent, capable of arranging a mess of mismatched samples into a beautiful bouquet and transforming an unrecognizable vocal snippet into an expression of pure emotion.

7. Pete Rock Pete Rock is one of the best samplers of all time, not only in his excellent taste and choice in samples, but in his creativity in recontextualizing those samples and reintroducing them with a hip-hop flair. He had an especially captivating ability to take horn samples, tweak them with effects and layer them over each other or themselves for classy, nostalgic effect. Rock's best musical years were had alongside rapper C L Smooth across the first half of the '90s, but his impact on the musical landscape, even today, is immeasurable.

KEEP WESTWORD FREE... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Noah Hubbell