2012 was a fantastic year for Hip-Hop. While the lyricists may get all the credit, we at Metrojolt would like to recognize all the producers slaving behind the boards, creating the backdrops for some of the best tracks. Realize this list is subjective and you may not agree with all of the selections or snubs. If you don’t drop a comment or bitch us out over email, Facebook or Twitter; we’d love to hear your opinions. Without further ado, we present the top 10 Hip-Hop producers of the year:
10. Harry Fraud
Harry Fraud is no fake. His serious talent with the beats has been a force behind the best weed infused rhymes in 2012. He took off this year, providing spacey beats for Curren$y, Smoke DZA and Wiz, and caused a significant rise in forest fires. Check his absurd work on Cigarette Boats, Rugby Thompson, and ‘Cassette Deck’, a smooth Rozay track that slipped through the cracks.
9. Jake One
One of two Seattleites to make the production list this year, Washington’s very own production legend had another phenomenal year. Working with dope artists across the board, he straight up crushed beats for everyone from Brother Ali to Big K.R.I.T. Listen to ‘3 Kings’, ‘The Grinder’ and ‘Hallelujah’ for a brush with his anthemic production.
8. The Invasion
Honestly this choice might stem from a bit of hometown bias but nothing smacks like a beat from the Invasion. The production team behind HBKGang has been getting solicited by a number of rising West Coast artists. Check out their work on IAMSU!’s KILT & $uzy 6 $peed, as well as on Wiz’s Cabin Fever 2, especially ‘Bout Me’.
7. Kanye West
The most versatile, well-known producer, rapper, musician, rich guy, etc. etc. etc. had another great year. After a platinum single in ‘Mercy’, an intriguing album in Cruel Summer, and single handedly putting the world on Chief Keef, Kanye has shown his greatness once again. However you feel about his personality, which seems to get more and more absurd by the day, it’s hard to discredit his success and his skills. And if you wished he would just return to his sample driven production, take a look ‘White Dress’, his ode to his new BM Kimmie K.
6. The Alchemist
A wizard behind the boards, The Alchemist has been killing it with gritty production since the days of Dilated Peoples. Now an old dog, it’s clear that he still has a few tricks up his sleeves, from his solo project Russian Roulette, his projects with Action Bronson and Domo Genesis to his assistance in the revival of the lyrical New York sound through his work with Roc Marciano and Sean Price. Some of my favorite work of his from this year includes ‘my Homie’, ‘Bitch I Deserve You’ and ‘Flash Gordon’.
5. Ryan Lewis
The new kid from the Northwest, Ryan Lewis came out strong this year. After toiling away in the rain for the past couple years, Lewis broke on to the nationwide scene with Macklemore, his partner in crime, and the smash album The Heist, with the single ‘Thrift Shop’ recently going platinum. Regardless of your opinions on Macklemore and the rhymes on the project, it’s hard to deny the symphonic backing isn’t impressive. For more of his grandiose production, check ‘Make The Money’, ‘White Walls’ and ‘BomBom’.
4. Blended Babies
Blended Babies’ jazzy sample driven production defined the Chicago underground scene this year. Ending 2011 working with Asher Roth and the underrated Pabst & Jazz, they then destroyed 2012 by blessing us with smooth beats for days. Some of their best work this year includes Cathedral with GLC and their work with Kids These Days, ‘Flashing Lights’ and ‘Clear Eyes’.
3. Mike WiLL Made It
Few producers have been able to capitalize on the rise of trap music like Mike Will. His synth driven beats have dominated the 2012 sound scape, with everyone from Jeremih to 2 Chainz to ScHoolboy Q rocking his production. Some of the top songs of the year, including ‘No Lie’, ‘my Hatin joint’ and ‘Bandz A Make Her Dance’, have been backed by Will’s beats.
2. Young Chop
Without a doubt, Young Chop had one of the best years of any producer in 2012. Thrust into the spotlight with the meteoric rise of fellow Chicagoan Chief Keef, Chop has been able to gift a ton of trap and mainstream artists with the heaviest of bangers. With cosigns from everyone from Gucci Mane to Pusha T, his talents are best displayed on Big Sean’s ‘Guap’, Keef’s ‘Kobe’ and Pusha T’s ‘Blocka’.
TDE runs the west at the moment, and their in-house production crew, Digi-Phonics, is a huge part of their success. With fantastic work on all 3 TDE releases from this year, including Habits & Contradictions, Control System, and good kid, m.A.A.d city, this new LA production squad is a force to be reckoned with. Check out ‘Bitch Don’t Kill My Vibe’, ‘blessed’, and ‘Showin’ Love’ for examples of their genius.