Top 15 Hip Hop Producers
List of All-Time Best Rap Producers
While the actual artists and rappers get the majority of the recognition, hip hop producers deserve at least half of the credit, if not more, for being the brains behind some of the best hip hop songs and albums of all time. In no order, below will highlight some of the greatest hip hop producers that the rap game has seen. From the 1980s into present day of the 2010s and 2020s, rap producers have truly evolved into becoming some of the true faces of hip hop, especially as rap music has become the number one genre in the world.
Top 15 Hip Hop Producers
Dr. Dre is the man behind the production of NWA’s earliest hits, Snoop Dogg’s most notarized songs like, “Gin & Juice” and “Whats My Name,” and the classic albums of The Chronic and Chronic 2001. While being credit for West Coast hip hop’s earliest success, Dr. Dre cannot be mentioned without the recognition of his numerous production credits with artists like 2Pac, Eminem, Nas, The Game, Kendrick Lamar, 50 Cent, Mary J Blige, and Busta Rhymes, a career spanning from the late 1980s to the 2000s.
Beginning as one of the main producers for Roc A Fella Records, Kanye would eventually grow into becoming one of the most iconic music producers of all time. While his production credits includes almost all of the top tier rap and R&B artists of the past couple generations, Kanye West’s own production on his albums has led to his most success and biggest production hits.
The one man show who was responsible for all of the production for Cash Money Records, at least until his departure during the mid-2000s. Following his departure from Cash Money, Mannie Fresh would go on to produce for artists like T.I., Young Jeezy, 2 Chainz, Gucci Mane, UGK, Slim Thug, Webbie, and more, but his most notable moment was helping to create one of the greatest independent rap labels.
Mike Will Made It
No producer was hotter than the Atlanta native during the 2010s, as the rap game was transitioning to a new era of hip hop producers. With Gucci Mane being his first major production credit, Mike Will Made It would go on to produce for Kanye West, Future, Meek Mill, 2 Chainz, Juicy J, Kendrick Lamar, Lil Wayne, and just about every big named rap artist, along with pop stars like Miley Cyrus.
The Dr. Dre of the new West Coast hip hop scene, but has built his own name, created his own lane, and separated himself from any other rap producer in hip-hop. Since the beginning of the 2010s, DJ Mustard has been on the very top of the industry with production credits for hits like YG’s “My N****,” “Big Bank,” and “Who Do You Love,” Ella Mai’s “Boo’d Up” and “Trip,” Rhianna’s “Needed Me,” Big Sean’s “I Don’t Fuck with You,” or Tyga’s “Rack City.”
While mostly known for producing a number of R&B hits for Mariah Carey, Usher, TLC, Jagged Edge, and Xscape, Jermaine Dupri’s hip hop production led to the rise of Kris Kross, Da Brat, Bow Wow and Atlanta’s first top independent record label, So So Def, while also producing for other top rappers and hip hop artists.
Starting off with producing records for DMX, the Ruff Ryders and their affiliates, Swizz Beatz would later be acclaimed for production with Jay-Z, Beyonce, Lil Wayne, T.I., Fat Joe, Busta Rhymes, Bone Thugs, Noreaga and many more. Swizz Beatz top production includes songs like DMX’s “Ruff Ryders Anthem” and “Party Up In Here,” fan favorite songs on Jay-Z’s Vol.2 Hard Knock Life, Beyonce, and of course every major Ruff Ryders release during their time on top of the rap game.
Timbaland is arguably one of the most successful producers of our time with a large collection of awards and platinum and gold certifications. Despite getting his started in the rhythm and blues genre, while also producing for some of the biggest R&B acts like Aaliyah, Destiny Childs, Justin Timberlake, and Ginuwine, Timbaland’s rap production is hard to come by with credits for legends like Jay-Z, Missy Elliot and numerous others.
Maybe the producer that was the first to incorporate his name at the beginning of the beat, Just Blaze is one of the true legendary hip hop producers. Known for his affiliation with Roc-A-Fella Records, the beginning of his career included production credits with Jay-Z, Camron, Beanie Siegel and Memphis Bleek. Outside of his work with Roc-A-Fella, Just Blaze has been known for working with Big Pun, Busta Rhymes, Rick Ross, Eminem, Snoop Dogg, Mobb Deep, Fabolous, Nelly, Jadakiss, Mase, and many more.
DJ Paul & Juicy J
Despite their top production hits being in the 2000s, there has been a resurgence of the old Three 6 Mafia sound, which is basically the sound that DJ Paul and Juicy J created. With numerous rappers of today’s era implementing the Triple Six sample, DJ Paul and Juicy J alone were responsible for putting Memphis and the South on the map with some of the biggest club hits and some of the most classic street albums.
Migrating to Atlanta from the Bay Area after working with California legend JT The Bigga Figga, Zaytoven would eventually become renowned for his work with Gucci Mane, but later with other artists. One can say he and Gucci Mane both got their start together as Zaytoven produced Gucci Mane’s first hit “So Icy.” Since the 2005 debut, Zaytoven has been a staple in the Atlanta rap community with production credits with Gucci Mane, Future, and 21 Savage, just to name a few.
Beats by the Pounds
A collection of producers, KLC, Mo B. Dick, Carlos Stephens, DJ Daryl, O’Dell, and Craig B, that played a major role in the success of No Limit during their run during the late 1990s. Everybody knows the dominance that No Limit Records, led by Master P, had on the music industry between 1997 and 1999, but Beats by the Pound were the men behind all of No Limit’s hits. Following their fallen out with Master P, the group would continue under a new moniker, the Medicine Men.
Originally hailing from St. Louis, Metro Boomin’ was one of many producers and artists who made their way into the Atlanta music scene. Also like many other creators in the Atlanta music, Metro Boomin’s would get his big break working with Gucci Mane. Since, he has arguably became one of hip hop’s top producers of the 2010s and 2020s. Now Metro Boomin’ is known for working with Future, Drake, Gucci Mane, Lil Uzi Vert, Migos, 21 Savage, Kodak Black, and more.
The mastermind behind all of the Wu-Tang projects, from the group albums to solo projects of artists like Method Man, Raekwon, Ol Dirty Bastard, and Ghostface Killah, while also a few credits for his work with Big Pun and Notorious BIG. Outside of hip hop projects, RZA has also been known for composing movie scores and producing soundtracks for some Hollywood’s top movies.
With the duo expanding their time in hip hop from the early 1990s to the 2000s, the Brooklyn natives have been known for their work on The Notorious B.I.G’s Ready to Die, Nas’ It Was Written, Will Smith’s Big Willie Style, LL Cool J’s Mr. Smith, Todd Smith, and Phenomenon, R. Kelly & Jay-Z’s Unfinished Business, Foxy Brown’s Ill Na Na, and others.
Honorable Mention Hip Hop Producers
Rick Rubin. One of the first known hip hop producers, with the production of Rick Rubin dating back to the 1980s with the likes of LL Cool J and Run DMC. The co-founder of hip hop’s first major independent label, Def Jam, Rick Rubin is a staple in hip hop with his work with the top hip hop artists of the 1980s, while revitalizing his career in the 2000s with his work with Jay-Z, Eminem, and Kanye West.
The Neptunes. Led by Pharrell Willams, the Neptunes would begin their career by helping to write the classic party hit “Rump Shaker” by Wreckx N Effect, but their real break would be with Noreaga’s “Super Thug.”
Hit Boy. Truly on a trajectory to be one of the best all-time hip hop producers, Hit Boy’s claim to fame has been songs like Nipsey Hussle “Racks In The Middle” and Kanye West & Jay-Z “N***** In Paris,” along with working numerous top rap and R&B artists.
Drumma Boy. In a city that is rich in rap and hip hop history, this Memphis native was one of the top southern producers of the 2000s and early 2010s. Starting with Memphis rap legends Tela and Gangsta Boo, Drumma Boy would get his big break working with Boyz N Da Hood and Young Jeezy. Since, his catalog includes Gucci Mane, Yo Gotti, T.I., 2 Chainz, Plies, Rocko, E-40, Paul Wall, Lil Keke, 8 Ball & MJG, and more.
DJ Premiere. Starting in the late 1980s with Gang Starr, DJ Premiere’s catalog would later include production credits for Nas, Jay-Z, Notorious BIG, MOP, Fat Joe, The Lox, Mobb Deep, KRS-One, Heavy D, Rakim and more.
Scott Storch. Originally starting out with The Roots, Scott Storch would leave and build his own solo career producing for and with Dr. Dre, T.I., Snoop Dogg, Busta Rhymes, Eve, Mobb Deep, and more along with pop music acts like Beyonce, Justin Timberlake, Pink and Christina Aguilera.
Mike Dean. A legendary southern producer that was known for many of Houston’s rap scene and Rap A Lot Record’s earliest hits, but also known for working with Kanye West, Jay-Z, Beyonce, Travis Scott, The Weeknd and many more.
N.O. Joe. Possibly, the most underrated southern producer, N.O. Joe can been seen credited for producing for Ice Cube, UGK, Scarface and Geto Boys, and numerous other top rap artists.
Rockwilder. A respected East Coast hip hop producer who has worked with Jay-Z, Busta Rhymes, Big Pun, Redman, along with a handful of West Coast artist.
Daz Dillinger. The most unknown and underrated West Coast producer, Daz was behind a number of Death Row hits including songs on 2Pac’s All Eyez On Me.
Eric Sermon. Starting his production career in the late 1980s with his group EPMD, Eric Sermon would later become renowned for working with Redman, Method Man, Too Short, Xzibit, Ja Rule and Keith Murray.
NO I.D. Starting with Common in Chicago during the 1990s and continuing his production career with DMX, Jay-Z, Drake, Method Man, Ghostface Killa, Kanye West, Vince Staples and more.
Lil Jon. The era of the 2000s with Lil Jon’s sound led him to become one of the most sought after rap producers for a hit single and a club banger.
Dame Grease. The majority of the production on DMX’s Its Dark and Hell Is Hot was credited with Dame Grease. Dame would later be known for work with LL Cool J, Wu Tang, The Lox, Nas and other rappers in the industry.
9th Wonder. Making music throughout the 2000s since working on Jay-Z’s Black Album, and only to continue by working with Kendrick Lamar, 2 Chainz, Nipsey Hussle, Rapsody, and a number of soulful Hip Hop and R&B acts.