Monday, April 8, 2013
What would hip hop be without the relationship between the MC and the producer. Since back in the day MC's responsibilities were to hype a crowd while the DJ gets them to move. Nowadays the DJ, although still around, has evolved into the producer. A great hip hop record needs both components. A dope lyricist needs dope beats and vice versa. It just isn't the same if you're hearing an acapella rap or hearing trash words over dope beats. So without further ado I give you the best Producer-MC combinations we have. Now i'm talking about producers who are synonymous with artists. Like you can't say the name of one without the other so that's why for example the pairing of Just Blaze and Jay-Z aren't on here. When you think of Hov you don't automatically think of Just Blaze because the man can ride any beat and make it sound good. I also didn't want to rank them because it is too damn hard since all these duos were looking to perfect their own sound so it doesn't make any sense to me to compare guys when they aren't in the same lane or whathaveyou. And one last point is that i'm using one producer and one MC duos so you won't be seeing Clipse and the Neptunes or De La Soul and Prince Paul on here. Here we go.
Waka Flocka Flame and Lex Luger- Obviously not as prolific as others but these two are the ones responsible for bringing trap rap to the forefront. Yeah Gucci and Jeezy were crossover artists before but Luger's hard hitting beats combined with Flocka's over the top enthusiasm pushed it over the top giving old people another reason to hate our generation. All i can say to the old people is that you guys raised us. They just mad they dont Go Hard N Da Paint.
The Foreign Exchange- The reason Phonte and Nicolay aren't on here is because they don't make hip hop music so call it r&b discrimination but if it was any genre then trust me, their three albums speak for themselves and would have been up there on the list. I still don't know if they ever met.
Blu and Exile- These two teamed up for Blu's classic debut Below The Heavens and goddam do these two fit together perfectly. The only reason they aren't on the list is because they haven't put in the same amount of consistently great work as the ones that made it. I know they released another album last year which i need to check out but if they can put another project or two out that is at least on par with Below The Heavens then i'm going to have to make room somewhere.
Dj Premier and Guru, RIP. When you got one of the most legendary producers ever to lay down a beat the MC just has to be average for shit to be poppin. Luckily for our ears, Guru was as nice on the mic as they came. Although Preemo eventually moved on to do side projects and things outside of Gang Starr he will always be remembered as the iconic producer of the duo and same goes to the late great Guru.
If there is one man synonymous with the soul, jazz and horn sampling it is mister Pete Rock. If there is one song that perfectly captures these elements it is the legendary cut They Reminisce Over You, no Lupe did not make the beat. The track would not be the same with any rapper over it. You get the feeling that CL Smooth had to be rapping what he was rapping about, the death of their close friend T-Roy of Heavy D and The Boyz, to bring out the production's full emotion. The fact it is considered their greatest track is a testament to the record. I prefer their second and final album The Main Ingredient with cuts like Take You There, In The House, I Get Physical, Caramel, and every song on the album start to finish. It's a shame they couldn't do more projects because in my opinion they are the best "jazz rap" duo/group of all time.
When New York was having their national renaissance in the mid 90s these two kids from Queensbridge (Havoc at least) were among the driving forces. Havoc produced some of the most gritty, filthy, gotta take a shower after listening to them beats you ever heard while Prodigy talked that tough talk that only someone who lived that life could have spoken. Honestly these two could have made the list based just on one song off of one classic album The Infamous and that's what i did because i'll be straight up, i haven't listened to anything else of theirs but that album hits so damn hard i don't need to. Is it just me or was Prodigy the oldest looking 21 year old ever?
Right here we got the biggest underground duo for sure in history and maybe the biggest underground act of all time i gotta look that one up. Do you know how hard it is just to live in Minnesota with their cold ass winters, the only teams they have to root for are the Twins, Timberwolves, and Vikings which means they actually have to watch hockey. That is just living there so making it big from Minnesota I'm assuming is like 8000 times harder. The only Minnesotanites I know to make it big is the one and only Prince and Atmosphere, so props to Slug and Ant. The number one component a successful duo in any walk of life whether it be music, sports, at the workplace or with a significant other is chemistry. Without it shit is going to fall apart. That is why Ant and Slug have been able to not only stay together but consistently put out great material. You can put their discographies up in a line and be hard pressed to find one of them that is not top quality. Their work over the years rivals anyone, underground or mainstream because they know how to work together. Ant's aggressive beats just mesh with the angst in Slug's voice making it seem odd for the two to be working with anyone else. As much as i liked Slug on Felt 2 it just didn't sound right with Grouch behind the boards (no disrespect intended at all) and not Ant. Leave it two white boys to get it done.
Kanye and Himself
I think Kanye would approve of this.
I know i needa step my game up because i'll be honest and admit the only project of these two i have gave a thorough Slim Samurai inspection to was Resurrection. Now I know i may be sounding like a hypocrite since i left Blu and Exile in the honorable mentions categories but i'm giving Common and No ID the benefit of the doubt because they are legends of the game and have four very good albums with the other three being Can I Borrow a Dollar?, One Day It'll All Make Sense and The Dreamer/The Believer. So tackling at least ODIAMS will be on my to do list but getting back to Resurrection boy was that some fire. Obviously Common is never going to be the one to get a party hyped but you can just sit in your room or walk to school on a nice sunny day with the ipod in and listen to the poet give you diabetes with the candy he is giving your ears. Then No ID is pushing all the right buttons behind the boards making every drum, snare, and sample fit perfectly track after track. The first two tracks are as good of a 1-2 punch to lead off any album i have ever heard and the rest of the project did not disappoint at all. Glad to hear they will be working together again on Com's next album. Peep the full album here if you want.
Amplive and Zumbi have to be the most underrated duo of the last 15 years and maybe even of all time. They refuse to sell out and for that not only kept a loyal fanbase and artistic integrity but that allows them to drop quality projects over the years. Aesop Rock and Talib Kweli recognize the talent and have jumped onto tracks with them showing that they do actually get love outside of the Bay Area. Honestly if these guys were from LA or New York they would have nationwide love. They had one of the best underground releases ever in Mind Over Matter and countless tracks like this, that, and this shit right herrrr. And my man Amplive can get busy on those beats.
I really don't need to say anything about these two. When you think of west coast hip hop and g funk you think of 1 2 3 and to the 4. While Dre's beats defined g funk, Snoop's laid back weed induced voice spoke for the genre. And goddammit who cares if Dre can't write his own rhymes to save his life, he sounds better than 90% of guys who have tried. That being said when talking about g funk we have to give respect to Nate Dogg, RIP, because as we all know "it must be a single if Nate Dogg singing on it," and to the D.O.C because without his pen game whos to say any of it would have popped off. What other credentials could we list for these two. How about 2 and a half classic albums with The Chronic, Doggystyle, and 2001. These spawned the classics Ain't No Fun, Gin and Juice, Let Me Ride, and The Next Episode. These guys have proven that they don't have to do anything together for the rest of their careers and they'll still be legends.
When your name is the God MC all the producer really has to do is not get in the way. Now i'm not knocking Eric B's production because hip hop was still in their Jurassic period and trying to figure shit out but it is safe to say that Rakim carried the weight. Eric B got chances to show his DJ skills on Paid In Full but let's be honest...if you had a choice between hearing Eric B cutting records or Rakim spitting acapella there's going to be a unanimous decision. But looking at it through a historical perspective, Eric B did what he was supposed to and that is let the MC get the shine. And i also feel wrong in knocking Eric B a little too much because i am not a student of that era in hip hop so i couldn't tell you if the production was superior, inferior, or on par with everything else but regardless Rakim was the star of the duo. Usually OG's in any field, not just music, are over rated in terms of skill because they were the first to do something. That is not the case with Rakim. You could drop him off in any era of hip hop, the mid 90s, mid 2000s, or now Rakim would destroy anyone lyrically. People nowadays are still trying to figure out how to rhyme like he was back in 88. Long story short Rakim is the standard for dope lyricists until someone takes it from him. Oh and I almost forgot to link you guys this, this, that, and even a little bit your favorite rappers' line.
Dilla is the exception to my rule that making the list consists of one producer and one MC. Well technically it's not an exception it's a trick question because Dilla actually was a great combination with anyone he worked with. Erykah Badu and Dilla, how about J and Common or even Jay Dee and Madlib. The man was so great at what he did that no matter who he worked with the music that was produced was amazing. He got his influence from Q-Tip and Pete Rock, he then influenced Q-Tip, Pete Rock, 9th Wonder, and pretty much every single producer who has picked up an MPC, he was that good. RIP Dilla. Words can't even express J Dilla's music so if you haven't checked him out before do yourself a favor and type J Dilla into youtube and just sit and listen. It will be one of the happiest things you'll ever do.
The brains behind the operation known as the Wu Tang Clan knew his boys better than anyone. I'm not even going to speak on 36 Chambers because the album speaks for itself but i'll speak on the first wave of Wu solo releases. Again like J Dilla, pick any combination of Ghostface and RZA, Method Man and RZA, RZA and GZA, ODB and RZA, RZA and Raekwon, RZA and Bobby Digital these are all deadly combinations. The great thing about Ruler Zig Zag Allah was his adaptability. One of the things people loved about 36 Chambers was that each member brought their own style to the table. So when it came time for solo releases RZA created a sound for each member individually. ODB's album was bouncing off the wall, Raekwon brought you into the world of a gangsta, Gza's album gave us insight into the mind of an intellect and so on and so forth. Method Man became a star after his release and Ghostface's album was the first of an illustrious career in which many would argue as the premier swordsman of the Clan. These 5 albums are all considered classics in the hip hop community and the one thing they have in common is RZA behind the boards laying down the foundation.
There's my list and i probably left some of your guys's favorites off of it but that's life. I wanna give a shout out to UGK and EPMD because they deserve to be on the list except i have yet to give them a good listen so i didn't want to speak on them without really knowing much about them. Also thank you to whoever has been reading this thing. It's always a good thing to know work is being read by others and so far so good. I haven't gotten hate yet so i must be doing something right. If i suck at this make sure you guys tell me because i don't want to keep putting out shit and not knowing it. Anyways thank you again since the blog started it's gotten 430 views so i really hope it's not two people reading it 200 times each but if it is i got love for you two.
EPMD- You Gots To Chill
UGK- Pocket Full Of Stones pt 2