Top 10 Hip-Hop Boom Bap Era Producers

The Boom Bap Era of the mid-1980s to early1990s is widely known as the Golden Age of Hip Hop, where many iconic artists like Tupac, Notorious B.I.G and Dr. Dre originated from. Its hard-hitting looped snare and kick drum beats layered over soul and jazzy samples gave hip hop a simplistic but accessible sound. The success and legacy of this era have a large part to do with the production of legendary producers who cemented Boom Bap as a staple to old-school hip hop.

10. Havoc One half of the legendary New York hip hop group, Mobb Deep, Havoc, alongside Prodigy, produced all of Mobb Deep’s discography. With hard-hitting drums, heavy bass, offbeat pianos and strings looped, the production helped give the group a rugged sound to match the intense vivid lyrics of life in Queensbridge. Some of their most memorable tracks were: Shook Ones Pt II, Hell On Earth and Quiet Storm. Mobb Deep helped solidify the rough dirty sound that the city was known for in the 90s. Havoc has also produced tracks on Nas’s “It Was Written,” The Notorious B.I.G’s “Life After Death” and Method Man’s “Tical 2000: Judgment Day.”

9. The Bomb Squad This group is most notably known for their work on Public Enemy’s discography. Presiding in New York City, The Bomb Squad’s multi-layered samples, along with Public Enemy’s politically conscious lyrics, helped give a voice to the unrest in Black communities across the U.S. throughout the late 80s and early 90s. Some of their best work included aggressive tracks like “Fight the Power,” “Rebel Without a Pause,” and “Bring the Noise.” The Bomb Squad successfully brought socially conscious rap into the mainstream. They are accredited with producing Ice Cube’s debut album “AmeriKKKa’s Most Wanted,” Bell Biv Devoe’s Debut “Poison” and Slick Rick’s debut “The Great Adventures of Slick Rick.”

8. Organized Noize This legendary Atlanta trio came on to the scene in 1992 and would become the fathers of the southern hip hop sound that we know today. They are most known for their production on all of OutKast’s Discography, as well as Goodie Mob’s. Their unique, funky and spacious style put the south on the map for hip hop. Accreted with producing TLC’s critically acclaimed album “Crazysexylove,” Parental Advisory’s “Ghetto Street Funk” and Ludacris’s first two albums, “Back for the first time” and “Word of Mouf.”

7. Q-Tip Known for his Jazzy and Afro beats, Q-tip is one of the founding members of A Tribe Called Quest. Producing on all of Tribe’s discography, he is credited for producing on Run-D.M.C’s “Down with the King,” Heavy D’s self-titled album and Nas’s “One Love off of Illmatic.”

6. Marley Marl One of hip hop’s finest super producers, Marley Marl was an early innovator in the art of sampling. He developed new techniques that resulted in some of the sharpest beats and hooks in rap’s Golden Age. His production work for many artists generally boasted a bright, booming and robust sound that, along with his ear for a catchy sample, helped move street-level hip hop’s sonic blueprint into the more accessible territory. His success presented the opportunity to produce for artists like Eric B. & Rakim, Heavy D & the Boyz, LL Cool J, and TLC.

5. RZA The Wu-Tang Clan Chief produced the group’s 1993 debut album “Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers),” which was one of the most influential hip hop records of the era. RZA’s lean and menacing production is imitated throughout the rap community to this day. He also lent a hand in producing all of the members’ solo debuts. RZA created a dynasty that will never be seen again in hip hop history.

4. Pete Rock Rapper, DJ and producer Pete Rock emerged in the early ‘90s as one-half of a rap duo with C.L. Smooth, later going solo. He has solidified his place as one of the most acclaimed hip hop producers to emerge from the East Coast scene. In addition to his recordings, he’s also worked with dozens of artists over the decades, including Heavy D, Kid ‘n Play, Doug E. Fresh, Redman, RunD.M.C., Will Smith, Nas, Talib Kweli, De La Soul and various members of the Wu-Tang Clan.

3. Large Professor Widely known initially for his work as a producer and MC with the rap group Main Source, Large Professor soon after became a full-time producer working with such acts as Big Daddy Kane and A Tribe Called Quest. He then lent his hand to albums by some of rap’s biggest names, including Eric B. & Rakim, Nas, and Pete Rock & C.L. Smooth. For his full-length solo debut, 2002’s “1st Class,” Large Professor called in favors from friends, including Nas, Q-Tip and Busta Rhymes. 2008’s Main Source featured Big Noyd, AZ and Styles P.

2. Dr. Dre Dr. Dre was responsible for moving away from the Avant-noise and political stance of Public Enemy and Boogie Down Productions as well as the party vibes of old-school rap. Dre pioneered gangsta rap and his variation of the sound, “G-funk.” Along with production credits on one of N.W.A’s records, his 1992 solo debut album, “The Chronic,” is considered a classic. Dre would go on to producing critically acclaimed albums with artists like Snoop Dog, Tupac, 50 Cent and Eminem.

1. DJ Premier Active since 1987, the year he debuted behind Guru as one-half of Gang Starr, DJ Premier is one of the most crucial figures in hip hop. Aggressive and raw, a Premier track is an instantly recognizable sound-clash of battling loops and heavy scratching. All of them have perfectly aged and have a vibe that evokes the sound of Brooklyn better than anyone. Besides helming albums for Gang Starr, Premier’s productions appear on many of the East Coast’s most important records of the ‘90s, including Nas’ “Illmatic,” the Notorious B.I.G.’s “Ready to Die,” Jay-Z’s “Reasonable Doubt,” Jeru the Damaja’s “The Sun Rises in the East” and Mos Def ’s “Black on Both Sides.” In the following decades, Premier attained his highest level of pop success while continuing to power the nationwide rap underground

Author: Saul DeLeon

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