One of the lynchpins in Atlanta’s rap scene, Mike WiLL Made It got his start in 2007 working with Gucci Mane, who he met at PatchWerk Studios. He continued to work under the radar with Gucci affiliates such as OJ Da Juiceman and Waka Flocka Flame before finding commercial success with Meek Mill’s “Tupac Back.” The street anthem put Meek on the map and catapulted Mike WiLL into the big leagues. What separates him from a lot of other buzzing producers was his ability to diversify his sound and not get stuck into just a “trap” lane. He’s done records with Future, Lil Wayne, 2 Chainz, Jay Z, Rihanna, and Miley Cyrus. He executive produced Miley’s last album, Bangerz, and got her to rap on his own single, “23.” Mike has helped launch careers of new artists, such as Rae Sremmurd (signed to his Ear Drummas imprint), but he has also been instrumental in reviving the careers of veteran rappers like Juicy J.
A Guide to Atlanta Producers
“Metro Boomin want some more.” Young Thug’s refrain turned producer tag has been heard on some of the biggest songs and projects of the last two years. Metro is originally from St. Louis, but he moved down to Atlanta for college and Atlanta is where he caught his big break. OJ Da Juiceman was the first to rap on his beats, and through OJ he connected with Gucci Mane, and eventually artists affiliated with Gucci, such as Young Thug and Future. As Thug and Future gained notoriety, Metro’s stock rose, and soon he had himself big hits like “Karate Chop.” Metro is known to collaborate with other producers on this list, and has branched out of Atlanta to work with YG, Wiz Khalifa, and Travi$ Scott. While you will continue to see his name across the board over the next few years, two upcoming projects of note are Monster, Future’s mixtape which he is executive producing, and Metro Thuggin, his highly-anticipated collaboration project with Young Thug.
Signature Song: “Danny Glover” Young Thug
When Waka Flocka Flame convinced two of his in-house producers, Lex Luger and Southside to join together to form his in-house production group, he created an unstoppable force called 808 Mafia. With Waka and his Brick Squad Monopoly label red-hot initially, the group was responsible for nearly all things Brick Squad. Luger would leave the group in 2011 (more on him later), but 808 Mafia continued to drop bangers, helmed predominantly by Southside and TM88. The two collaborated on two of 2013’s biggest records: Rich Gang’s “Tapout” and Young Thug’s “Danny Glover.” Unfortunately, early 2014 marked TM88’s departure from the group.
Signature Song: “Stoner” Young Thug
Dun Deal is the man behind Young Thug’s other big single, “Stoner.” But he’s got some other significant records under his belt, such as Migos’ “Hannah Montana” and Ca$h Out’s last big single, “She Twerkin.” But he’s not just about the singles; his collaborative EP with the slept-on Rome Fortune, Drive, Thighs, & Lies, shows that he has the range and ear required to put together a solid body of work from start to finish.
Signature Song: “Versace” Migos
Zaytoven was born on an army base in Germany, raised in San Francisco, and yet his name is synonymous with Atlanta’s signature trap sound. A pivotal part of Gucci Mane’s camp since they first started working in 2005 (he produced Gucci’s first hit single, “Icy,”), he’s found a way to remain relevant by incorporating new, bizarre sounds into his style. He might be responsible for the bulk of Gucci’s ill-fated collaboration with V-Nasty, but he’s also responsible for OJ Da Juiceman’s “Make The Trap Say Aye” and Migos’ breakout single “Versace,” which Drake jumped on in spectacular fashion.
Signature Song: “Make It Rain” Travis Porter
FKi is a group known for blending EDM with hip-hop and working with a wide range of artists, such as B.o.B., Diplo, and Iggy Azalea. While they’ve been artists for several years now, they’re best known for producing Travis Porter’s big single “Make It Rain.” They’ve been on a roll of late, producing “Sloppy Toppy” for Travi$ Scott’s Days Before Rodeo and a full EP with Key! called FKeyi.
London On Da Track
Signature Song: “Lifestyle” Rich Gang
London On Da Track might be one of the newer names in this guide, but he might be the most important. Birdman called him “the best producer in the business, as we speak today,” and considering the fact that he once had Mannie Fresh as an in-house producer for Cash Money Records, that’s high praise indeed. London’s name started circulating in 2013, but 2014 was his breakout year: Tyga’s “Hookah,”T.I.’s “About The Money,” and Rich Gang’s “Lifestyle” have all had extended runs on the Billboard charts. The one thing all three songs have in common is an appearance from Young Thug, who considers London one of his go-to producers. Expect the next year to be even bigger.
Signature Song: “Same Damn Time” Future
It’s interesting to go back and examine “Racks” three years after its release. While YC eventually faded into obscurity as a one-hit wonder following the success of this single, Future would go on to become a star, and it’s is thanks in part to the production of Sonny Digital, who is responsible for two of the best songs in Future’s catalog in “Same Damn Time” and “Covered In Money.” He is also partly responsible for Beyonce’s “Bow Down/I Been On,” and iLoveMakonnen’s “Club Going Up On A Tuesday,” which Drake would eventually remix.
Da Honorable C.N.O.T.E.
Signature Song: “Servin Lean” Peewee Longway
Da Honorable C.N.O.T.E. is not from Atlanta, nor does he limit himself to working with Atlanta rappers. He’s worked with Lil Bibby, L.E.P. Bogus Boys, Kevin Gates, and Meek Mill, among others. But his connection to Atlanta’s scene is undeniable, as he’s contributed frequently to projects from 2 Chainz, Migos, Gucci Mane, and others. His style is grittier than some of the others on this list, which helps his beats stand out, even when the songs aren’t necessarily as big as his contemporaries. See “Who You,” a song he produced for Havok Jones featuring Young Thug, for an example.
Signature Song: “What You Know” T.I.
Toomp is a legend, whose catalog dates all the way back to 1988 with his work for MC Shy D. While he’s best known for his work with T.I., including “24s” and “What You Know,” he’s also produced huge records for Kanye West, Jeezy, and Ludacris, among others. And of course, he’s still at it; he landed a placement on 2 Chainz’s last album, B.O.A.T.S. II, and will be behind the boards for some work on T.I.’s long-awaited album, Paperwork.
Signature Song: “U.O.E.N.O.” Rocko
Despite the controversy surrounding Rick Ross’ verse, Rocko’s “U.O.E.N.O.” was one of the biggest songs of 2013, spawning hundreds of remixes (including one from the entire Black Hippy crew). The producer of the smash, Childish Major, went on to display amazing range the rest of the year, collaborating with smaller acts like Rome Fortune, Matik Estrada, and Vince Staples. He was a major contributor to Jeezy’s recently released Seen It All, producing three songs.
Ceej (of Retro Su$h!)
Signature Song: “Pusha Man” Chance The Rapper
Ceej is one-half of Retro Su$h!, which is part of the Two-9 collective that is now signed to Mike WiLL Made It’s Ear Drummas imprint. As such, he’s had a hand in producing a lot of songs for that crew, along with some of their many affiliates. He’s also responsible for track two of Chance The Rapper’s critically-acclaimed Acid Rap, “Pusha Man.”
Signature Song: “You The World” Young Thug
Another Gucci Mane recruit, C4 has been dropping bombs as a steady go-to producer for Gucci for several years now. He’s also developed a steady relationship with Young Thug, and the two will soon drop a joint project titled Nerds. The first single, “You The World,” shows C4’s strength, his ability to tap into Thug’s unique potential in ways few other producers can, with his very unorthodox style. For another example of just how unique C4 is, check out Rome Fortune’s “Four Flats.”
Signature Song: “God’s Whisper”
To call Raury a producer is somewhat misleading. While the Stone Mountain native produced the entirety of his debut project, Indigo Child himself and can play the guitar, he doesn’t exactly send out beats to other artists. But despite that fact, the genre-blending Raury is carving out a lane for himself with his mix of folk, soul, and hip-hop, and the production is as important as his voice.
Signature Song: “OG Bobby Johnson” Que
It would be wrong to not credit Bobby Johnson, despite the fact that he has never lived in Atlanta; in fact, the German producer only visited America after his first major song placement broke. However, that song, “OG Bobby Johnson,” happens to share his name, which only added to the hype around it. Que’s biggest song would land him at Atlantic Records, and while he continues to work with the Atlanta rapper, he’s gone on to work with a lot of Chicago rappers, most prominently King Louie.
Signature Song: “U Guessed It” OG Maco x Key!
Brandon Thomas might not be a household name yet, but he’s partly responsible for one of the biggest records in the South right now in “U Guessed It.” As the go-to producer for OG Maco, his minimalistic, simple loops capture Maco’s energy perfectly. As Maco’s career continues to grow, expect big things from the pair.
Signature Song: “Look At Wrist” Father
Father is the founder of Awful Records, a rapper in his own right, and the producer of his biggest song to-date. In fact, he produced all but one song on his recently released project, Young Hot Ebony. Everything about the emerging talent screams unconventional, and that’s why you can expect to see his name on some big songs in the coming months.
Signature Song: “I Just Might” Young Thug
DJ Spinz is better known for being a DJ, with his mix shows on Atlanta’s Hot 107.9 and Sirius XM radio and being a key member of the influential Hood Rich DJ crew. But he’s also had a hand behind the boards, working with guys like Metro Boomin and Dun Deal and adding a finishing touch that does wonders. He’s also occasionally cooked up bangers on his own, like Young Thug’s “I Just Might.”
Signature Song: “Hard In The Paint” Waka Flocka Flame
Lex Luger connected with Waka Flocka Flame at the right time; one year after they connected, their song “Hard In The Paint” took off and became Waka’s second successful radio hit. Luger’s trap sound came to define Waka’s earliest recordings, and with Waka becoming successful, it wouldn’t take long for others to come looking for heat from Luger: including Ace Hood, Rick Ross, and Jay Z and Kanye West, whose Luger produced “H.A.M.” became the lead single for Watch The Throne. For two years, he was arguably the biggest producer in the game, and then things slowed down significantly for the next two. Nowadays, he’s diversifying his sound by working with the Underachievers on their project Lords Of Flatbush and collaborating with A-Trak to form the Low Pros.
Drumma Boy is a veteran producer who represents Memphis, but he’s been an instrumental part of Atlanta’s hip-hop scene since he started making beats. An early member of Gucci Mane’s inner circle of producers, he’s been a part of 25 Gucci albums, which sounds insane except for the fact that Gucci has been dropping at least one album per month despite having been in jail for almost a year now. He’s responsible for big hits like Waka Flocka’s “No Hands,” Birdman’s “Money To Blow,” Rocko’s “Umma Do Me,” and Young Jeezy’s “Put On.” And he’s still putting in work in 2014, contributing the lead single to Jeezy’s Seen It All, “Me OK.”
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We give you a run-down of all the Atlanta producers you should know about, as well as their most noteworthy record.
Someone once remarked that Chicago and Atlanta had replaced New York City and Los Angeles as the capitals of modern rap music. As blasphemous as that claim might seem, it’s 100% true in 2014. Atlanta has been a dominant force in hip-hop for over a decade now, but since 2010, it has experienced a lot of change. T.I., Jeezy, and Ludacris (sorta) are still around, but a new crop of artists has emerged. Young Thug, Migos, and Future, to name a few, have been able to experiment with cadences, flows, and structure, but they have also ushered in a new Atlanta sound with the aid of talented producers. And there are a lot of talented producers in Atlanta.
Here’s a brief rundown of all the major producers to follow in the A. It’s worth noting that most of the names on this list got their start working with Gucci Mane. GuWop’s ear for talent is uncanny.