Monday, June 20, 2011
The Top Ten Best Producers Who Can Rap
(Image taken from: bhphotovideo.com)
Or maybe, this article should be titled, the top ten rappers behind the boards. Either way, it'd be foolish for anybody to say that rap could be good without the beats. Just look at the rapper Canibus. His debut album back in, what was it, 1997, should have been legendary. But it wasn't. And you know why? Because the production on it was soft. Never mind the fact that the lyrics were some of his sharpest ever.
So it's all the more impressive to find a rapper who is skilled on the mic AND can tear it up on the mixing boards. Because usually, it's one of the other. You have the great rapper who does a decent job at producing (See: Eminem), or the excellent producer who does a moderate to poor job at rapping (See: Kanye West). But these ten. These ten are mint. See if you agree with them. And if you don't, go f%*# ya'self (Sorry, it's the hip-hop in me).
(Image taken from: songonlyrics.com)
You might find this entry gag-worthy. But as horrible a rapper as Timbaland is, and he IS pretty horrible, I'd actually say that he's a better rapper than Kanye--who you'll find didn't even make this list since he's such an awful rapper. What works for Timbaland is that his beats, even when they're for somebody else, always seem to fit his easy-going flow. His thick voice just seems to work, and it makes for some pretty cohesive tunes when he actually gets on the mic. I approve.
(Image taken from: hiphopsite.com)
9. Pete Rock
As known for his jazzy beats as he is for his quick, boppity flow, Pete Rock is old school supreme. His lyrics may not be on par with some of the later rappers on this list, but his voice just works over his upbeat tempos and drums. Take a listen.
(Image taken from: leftlion.co.uk)
8. The Beatnuts
Psycho Les and JuJu may not have ever reached the height of popularity that they were searching for, but their sometimes playful, but mostly times dirty, beats and lyrics were always something to look forward to when they were in their prime. Below is probably their most famous song. How could you not bop your head to that beat and smile with those lyrics ("Yo, it's better to take, then to receive")? No, I'm really asking you. How could you not? It's hot.
(Image taken from: billboard.com)
7. Dr. Dre
You may be wondering how a legend like Dr. Dre is so low on this list. Well, here's the thing about Dre. His production is some of the most solid in the business, as his 70s G-Funk sound somehow transformed to become popular even today. But as for his rapping? Well, if Dre has any other talent besides production, it's surrounding himself with rappers who can really make him look good. Slinging lyrics with Snoop or Eminem boosted his own cred, and he didn't sound that bad, either. But that's only because some of his stuff was ghostwritten, and the other stuff that wasn't was genuine hard work to not sound awful in comparison to his guests. For that, he lands at number 7. But it's definitely a respectable 7.
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Madlib has always said that he considers himself a producer first and a rapper last. That's fine. But damn, man, as Lord Quas, you're sick as hell, brother. Even if it DOES sound like you just sucked up all the helium in a balloon, your flow is impeccable. And your beats are as soulful and as jittery as they come. It works. Take a listen.
(Image taken from: xlr8r.com)
El-P, formerly of Company Flow, makes beats for aliens. His space age sounds made Can Ox's The Cold Vein the greatest rap album of all time, and his overall sound is ridiculous. Oh, and his raps, jeez. Sometimes, you need to get a dictionary just to understand what the hell he's talking about. El-P was nerd rap before nerd rap even had a title to it. And for that, he lands on this list. Zap!
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4. J Dilla
Gone but NEVER forgotten, J Dilla was like the perfect mix of lyricism and beats. His flow was silky. I don't know how else to put it. And his beats just complimented him or anybody else he produced for, from Tribe to Ghost. His Slum Village work is still legendary. RIP, Jay Dee.
(Image taken from: giantmag.com)
3. The Rza
NOBODY sounded like the Rza in his prime, both lyrically and beat wise. He pretty much created an empire as the leader of the Clan with his songsmanship, and his flow is the strangest thing since Kool Keith hit the scene. If uniqueness alone could be monetized, then Rza's face should be on the highest form of currency that's available. Even his lisp was awesome, and how many other rappers can you say that about?
(Image taken from: clashmusic.com)
2. MF Doom
Or just plain 'ol Doom these days, drop the MF (Silly!), the metal faced villain is a sampling god. You think Kanye is good? Pfft. Kanye ain't shit compared to how far Doom is willing to go to get his samples. Sometimes, he uses jazz hooks. Other times, he uses prog rock samples. And sometimes, well, jeez, I don't even KNOW where he gets some of his samples from. But they're always genius, and they always sound brilliant. And yo, peep this. Doom has collaborated with both Madlib AND Danger Mouse, and managed to have albums that sounded better when he produced without them. Now THAT'S clout. And his rhymes are beyond perfect. His flow is immaculate. Only one rapper/producer is better than ol' Metal Fingers. And I stand by the man to my dying day.
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Necro's beats are sadistic. They're brutal. They're bonecrushing, and they fit his evil lyrics to a tee. No other rapper on this list is as musically gifted as Necro, and that's the truth. He can play electric guitar with the best of them, and other instruments as well. And his sampling ranges from horror to snuff to straight out porno. It's definitely the most diverse you'll ever hear. And you may think I'm nuts to say this, but I even think he's the best rapper on this list as well, as everything he's ever done has been classic. Every single line. From his very first album to his current one, Necro is king of both production and lyricism. Die!