When Wiz Khalifa burst onto the scene with his infectious single “Black and Yellow” people weren’t sure if he was the real deal or just another hit-it-and-quit-it tale of caution. Since then he has established himself as one of hip hop’s biggest stars, and a big part of the reason for that is the man behind the scenes and behind the boards, Sledgren. “Sledgro” as Wiz often calls him when he’s giving him props on various tracks was dubbed one of 2011’s best up-and-coming producers by XXL yet continues to fly under the radar. The self-taught producer’s sound is just the right mix of bass and funk to appeal to a wide audience. At 30 years old, this quiet juggernaut has been called upon to bring the heat for the entire Taylor Gang roster. Like his number one collaborator Wiz, Sledgren’s sound has continued to progress making him one of hip hop’s quietest all stars.
9 Producers You're Still Sleeping On
9 Producers You're Still Sleeping On
“Ali Bomaye! Ali Bomaye!” in 2012 Game dropped the album Jesus Piece, which featured the hard hitting second track “Ali Bomaye” with Rick Ross and 2 Chainz. The track featured a looped vocal sample backed by a chorus of cheers, drums and an energy that made you feel like you really were about to watch Muhammad Ali fight George Foreman. He may not be a household name, but he’s already been called on to make hits for some of hip hop’s top names including Rick Ross, Jeezy, Lil Bibby and Meek Mill.
It’s been a good year for this unsuspecting Canadian beatsmith. After helping produce North Carolina rising star Deniro Farrar’s debut EP Rebirth. In addition to his original tracks for artists like Sasha Go Hard and Tory Lanez, Hemsworth has gained notoriety for his remixes of songs like Kanye’s “All of the Lights,” Outkast’s “Return of the G” and Tinashe’s “Boss.” With a versatile sound that ranges from cult rap to top 40, there truly is no limit to this young phenom’s potential in hip hop and beyond.
Pittsburgh, PA has become a hotbed of hip hop talent in recent years with the emergence of Wiz Khalifa and Mac Miller. A significant part of those two’s success is thanks to production duo ID Labs. In addition to handling many of the tracks from Wiz’s major debut Rolling Papers, E. Dan and Big Jerm also helped Mac Miller become a mainstream star with their work on his debut album Blue Slide Park. The two have continued working both artists and have helped establish Taylor Gang as a dynasty, crafting hits for artists like Chevy Woods and Juicy J.
C-Sick (Twista, Lil Herb, King L)
In just the past few years Chicago has been pumping out new artists like a factory, and behind every great artist is a great producer. While “I Don’t Like” producer Young Chop has been receiving plenty of mainstream love, C-Sick has quietly been amassing an impressive body of work. After becoming the 2008 Chicago Big Tune Beat Battle champion he began making hits for local artists and now, at 23 years of age the Windy City maestro has already worked with heavyweights such as Nas, Fabolous, Logic and OVO’s newest signee King L. C has continued to help Chicago build a dynasty providing heat for artists like Lil Herb (“Mama I’m Sorry”), Lil Durk (“Rumors”) and veteran Twista (“Friend of Me”)
Dun Deal began as a rapper but found his true calling making beats. Before he was working with some of the biggest names in hip hop, he was making music for one of the biggest names in entertainment, Tyler Perry. Since then he has been called upon by everyone from Usher to Drake to Gucci Mane, Future and more to lace the track. Dun was included in Complex’s “25 new producers to watch for” list last year and in 2014 had what might have been his biggest mainstream hit yet, Young Thug’s “Stoner.”
His face may not be as ubiquitous as Kanye or Pharrells’ but Cash Money CEO Birmdan has already called London on da Track “The Best Producer in the Business.” The Atlanta-based producer made a name for himself in the south working with artists like Rich Homie Quan, T.I. and Waka Flocka and is getting ready to put in work on the “Rich Gang 2” album which he has confirmed to XXL will feature Lil Wayne and Drake.
They may not even be old enough to drink, but Michael “Foreign Teck” Hernandez and Rico “5 Star’ Evans already have more than 500 beats to their name. From Ace Hood to Wale to Rick Ross and even Kanye West, the biggest names in hip hop are lining up to work with the two 20 producers with the hard hitting, yet versatile sound. One of rap’s favorite phrases is, “Bad boys move in silence but for these two rising stars the work speaks for itself.
HNHH called this one early and this one man hit factory has since continued his ascension working with everyone from T-Pain to Travis Scott, Sir Michael Rocks, Migos and plenty more. With a sound that slaps and claps, the ATL beatsmith has found himself on plenty of wish lists. Though he’s not a household name just yet, pretty much everyone in hip hop is checking for J. Hill.
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Looking at some of the most underrated producers in the game.
When it comes to establishing yourself as a superstar hip hop producer, branding is everything. Unlike the MCs and vocalists these people work with, gaining exposure can prove a much more difficult task when most of your work remains behind the scenes.
As a result, some of these track masters took matters into their own hands and began showing up in videos and contributing vocals. From Pharrell -- who was one of the most ubiquitous figures in hip hop in the early 2000s -- to Timbaland, who inserted himself in other artists’ songs and videos until his voice became a part of the beat.
Most producers don't achieve this degree of the limelight, and while they’re every bit as qualified as their more famous cohorts, they move like bad boys, in silence. Hip hop’s sonic landscape has changed quite a bit over the years and with every generation there’s a crop of producers that fly under the radar. At HotNewHipHop we like to give props where props are due.