As technology inexorably and exponentially becomes more complex and more readily available, it steadily penetrates close to every aspect of every day life. One (arguably) positive benefit of this is all the new music that has burst forth. Not even 10 years ago, it was near impossible for up and coming producers to get anyone “big” to listen to them yet now we have 16 year old producers with cuts on giants such as Jay-Z’s album. With technology comes accessibility, and what we have now is an even bigger world stage of art where even the stalwarts of the game can enjoy and be influenced by the teenage bedroom producers. Here are our favourite producers of 2013.
“What more can I say about the one half of Gang Starr? DJ Premier has pretty much done it all and worked with the highest respected men in Hip Hop. He even earned the honor of producing the beats for the BET award cyphers. These cyphers are always talked about for days after they happen and DJ Premier is there in the background soaking it all in.” – Colloso
“2013 marked my introduction to Elaquent, and I won’t be forgetting the name anytime soon. His performance at The Come Up Show’s Six-Year Anniversary was mind-blowing, and I’ve been on the lookout for his music ever since. “Treehome 94 ½” is dope, as is “Break of Dawn” and his album Believing. Strangely enough, my favourite production of his might actually involve Justin Bieber; he flipped Ta-ku’s “Hey Justin” (sampling “Boyfriend”) into an absolute head-nodder.” – M-Bomb
“Ouici’s debut release, She Dreams in Sound, absolutely blew me away. If you’re familiar with Canadian hip-hop, you might recognize the man behind the beats as producer Ric Notes. On She Dreams in Sound, he decided to go with a new moniker and release some of his more experimental, conceptual work – and man, am I ever glad he did. There are so many incredible songs on here, from “The Grand Ballroom,” to “The Joy,” to “The Nest,” to “The Wedding.” Some of the songs on here sound like they could be movie soundtracks, and it’s no surprise that Ouici decided to sync some of them up with a couple of his favourite childhood movies. The bottom line: GO LISTEN TO THIS NOW. It’s well worth it.” – M-Bomb
Is there anything Pharrell Williams can’t do behind the boards? Seriously. This year alone Pharrell has produced for artists including Mac Miller, Jay Z, 2 Chainz, The Weeknd, John Legend, Miley Cyrus, Pusha T, and many others. He also produced the hit record “Blurred Lines” which is nominated for two Grammys, including Record of the Year and Best Pop Duo/Group Performance. Having earned placements on just about every record, big or small, is the reason that Williams makes the cut as one of the best producers year after year. – MLAV
When news broke that a 16-year-old female producer by name of the WondaGurl landed a placement for “Crown” on Jay Z’s Magna Carta… Holy Grail, many wondered who she really was. Having earned 1st place in the 2012 Battle of the Beatmakers held in Toronto, the Brampton, Ontario native soon found herself working alongside the likes of Hit-Boy, Boi-1da, and Travi$ Scott. The sky is the limit for this young producer as it will be interesting to see which project her production lands on next. – MLAV
Much like 2012, Toronto, Canada producer Noah “40” Shebib continued to reign supreme throughout much of 2013, producing smash singles such as A$AP Rocky’s “Fuckin Problems”, and DJ Khaled’s “No New Friends.” However, it was his work on Drake’s Nothing Was The Same, which earns him a spot on the list. Producing the majority of the album including songs such as “Tuscan Leather”, “Furthest Thing”, “Wu-Tang Forever”, and “Come Thru” to name a few. – MLAV
Known for his lyrical ability and production skills, Kanye West is truly a rare breed. Having produced “Black Skinhead”, “Blood On The Leaves” and “Send It Up” off his album. If the Chicago native wasn’t busy working on his own projects, he was helping with others. Assisting label mates Pusha T on My Name Is My Name, John Legend on Love In The Future, and Travis Scott on Owl Pharaoh among others. Always pushing the limits, Kanye continues to establish himself as one of the greatest artists of our generation. – MLAV
“Kanye stays winning. Since “Yeezus” came out, we have witnessed a flurry of opinions and stances, with a lot of these opinions being coloured by Ye’s turnt radio appearances. But (I hate to say this) the haters can go home because “Yeezus” just reached platinum status, making Kanye’s record 7-for-7. Listening to the album, one would be shocked to say the least. Despite the only conventionally radio friendly song being the worst one (“Bound 2”), the rest of the songs are characterized by a really, REALLY raw energy that’s absolutely infectious. Exploring the morbid effects of the sawtooth synths (“On Sight”, “I Am A God”, “I’m In It”, “Send It Up”) to primal force (“Black Skinhead”), it’s no surprise that Kanye has discovered another paradigm for hip-hop to shift into. ” – Bilal
Hailing from Toronto, Canada, “Arthur McArthur” is a 24-year-old music producer who has produced for artists such as Drake, Big Sean, Lil Wayne, and more. He’s also the responsible for “Hometown” by Rich Kidd & SonReal. This year has been exceptional for Arthur, having earned major placements for songs including Pusha T’s “Trust You”, Chris Brown’s “X”, Kelly Rowland’s “This Is Love”, and Ace Hood’s “The Come Up” among many others. – MLAV
A controversial pick but I have to admit that 2013 for a huge year for Young Chop. With 2012 creating a dizzying buzz for Chief Keef and crew, 20 year old Chop finally burst onto the scene in 2013 in full force, doing songs for pretty much everyone including, but not limited to: Pusha T, Wiz Khalifa, Freddie Gibbs, Juicy J, Travi$ Scott, French Montana, Cassie. Characterized by the ominous horns and bells that rap fans have come to associate with Chiraq, Chop’s sounds are both the focus and background of every song, allowing rappers to take free reign and create songs that are both commercially successful and street loyal.
Kanye West’s Yeezus, Eminem The Marshall Mathers LP 2 alone are enough to list Rick Rubin as one of the most important Producers of 2013. If we were to look at his non Hip-Hop collabrations then Lady Gaga, Black Sabbath, Linkin Park amongst other Mr. Rick Rubin had a successful year and this man has been doing it since 1980!
He released his album In My Opinion, Kiddstrumentals 2, his seventh mixtape in the We On Some Rich Kidd Shit series, and provided all the beats of the Legends League mixtape. This isn’t even counting his production for other artists such as Talib Kweli which has an accomplishment in itself.
Honorable Mentions for Favourite Producers
Alchemist, Boi-1da, Harry Fraud, Vokab, 2oolman.