The 25 Best Rapper/Producers of All Time
"Do the rap and the track/ Triple-double no assist"
We can debate the elements of hip hop all day long, but the essential building blocks of a rap song remain the same: Beats & Rhymes. We all have our favorite MCs, and when they link up with our favorite producers, the anticipation is almost too much to bear. Biggie flowing on a Premier beat. Dre x Snoop. Mannie Fresh x Lil Wayne. Neptunes x Pusha T. You already know before the first listen that certain combinations are going to be fire.
But what about those gifted individuals who can do both? Those who can deliver the rice and the beans, the weed and the blunt, the peanut butter and the jelly? We’re talking about those rare hip hop hyphenates, the double threats, the rapper/producers.
Earlier this month, while delving into the making of Diamond D’s Stunts, Blunts & Hip Hop, we began reflecting on the DITC co-founder’s versatility as both a master beat builder and microphone controller. Never a shy guy, Diamond D did not hesitate to proclaim on the Fugees’ “The Score” that he was, “By far the best producer on the mic.”
“I’m just a fan of hip hop,” the double threat J Rawls once said. “You know what I really like? Yo, I like when my favorite producer grab the mic and let ’em know what time it is. So I had to do a joint like that.” The title of said song was “Best Producer on the Mic,” and it featured Diamond D, Oh No and Kev Brown. That one came out so dope, J Rawls made a part two with Nottz and Oddisee.
All the above-mentioned parties deserve a place in this conversation. But when we talk about a rapper/producer that’s slightly different than a “producer on the mic.” We’re not grading on a curve here. No extra credit for putting in a good effort. And while collaborating with a team is part of the producer’s job, for this list we’re focusing on stand-alone rapper/producers as opposed to those who mostly worked as part of a crew or collective.
Some are much better at one skill than the other (you know where Dr. Dre stands on this continuum), but there are a select few who can do both at the highest levels. That rare balance, the ability to deliver both beats and rhymes at an exceptional caliber, is what we’re talking about right here. The full package. Read on, and prepare for some heated discussions. We certainly had a few while putting this list together. But we can’t stop won’t stop. MASS APPEAL takes our responsibility that seriously, just like we know we don’t have to ask you to let us know how you feel in the comments. We do this for the culture. And so do you.