Chuck Inglish is actually the opposite of hot. He’s one of the coolest kids out. And his beats match. While this producer rose to fame producing and rapping as The Cool Kids, a duo comprised of himself and Sir Michael Rocks, Inglish has continued to have a thriving solo career since the duo’s break (split?). The best way to describe Chuck’s beats is actually to use the word ‘cool.’ His instrumentals are ones you can vibe too, chill out too, and are most definitely filled with bass. He also gives them away for free a lot (see his WRKOUT and WRKING instrumental tapes). Chuck has made a name for himself producing in the indie rap market, but that’s not say he hasn’t put in work with some of the mainstream stars, like Rick Ross (“Party Heart”). On top of all this, dude can also spit some dope rhymes (see Droptops).
There’s no denying that the TDE label is currently trending. All four of the Black Hippy rappers have been buzzing this year, and while we have to give credit to each individual rapper for perfecting their own rhymes, we also have to give credit to those TDE in-house producers that keep the bangers coming.
THC is one of those in-house producers, but that’s not say he doesn’t produce for rappers outside of TDE. He’s worked with fellow West Coast natives like Dom Kennedy and OverDoz and he’s even done a cut for Chris Brown (“Like You”). Nonetheless, it seems the best chemistry is a result of his TDE collabos such as his production on that track that really gave K. Dot some buzz—“Cartoons & Cereal.” More recently, he did the beat for ScHoolboy Q’s single “Collard Greens.” THC has the ability to create a mainstream sound (there’s even a touch of it in “Collard Greens”) but he can also make those chilled out cuts with a very West Coast feel (see Dom Kennedy’s “Why The Hell Not”).
Editor’s Favorite: Kendrick Lamar- Cartoons & Cereal Feat. Gunplay
We also have to give props to Digi + Phonics who are a production collective consisting of Dave Free, Willie B., Sounwave, and Taebeast. While all four producers can create stand-out instrumentals on their own, they often team up together to create something really dope. Digi + Phonics have been essential to the rise of TDE, having contributed to each rapper’s projects since they started out. Their sound has progressed just as Black Hippy has.
Hottest Track Right Now: Kendrick Lamar- Bitch, Don’t Kill My Vibe [Prod. By Sounwave]
There is no denying that DJ Mustard is one of the hottest producers currently. Not only L.A., but just about everywhere is fiending for that Bay Area sound. The very particular sound took off after Tyga’s “Rack City” became a strip club anthem. Since then, Mustard has basically been responsible for defining T-Raww and YG’s sound, which has also led to their increase in popularity. In the midst of producing for those two West Coast natives, he’s also put time in for B.o.B (“Headband”) and 2 Chainz (“I’m Different”), among many, many others. Mustard’s beats are minimal, often incorporating clapping, and tailor-made for the strip clubs; it’s guaranteed DJ Mustard will get your head nodding. With DJ Mustard’s career sky-rocketing, he recently released a compilation mixtape (obviously) titled Ketchup, and he’s inked a deal with Roc Nation for management.
Editor’s Favourite: Freddie Gibbs- Every City Feat. YG
Juicy J has always been a great producer. His work with Three 6 Mafia may be the single most important influence on the rampant trap movement (Gucci Mane's recent namecheck of Project Pat as his favourite rapper is further evidence of this). Juicy experienced a resurgence in the last few years when he linked up with the Three 6-indebted, of-the-moment producer Lex Luger. J sounded surprisingly natural on the modernization of his proto-trap formula, but fans wondered if he'd ever get back behind the boards.
Alongside Crazy Mike, J has returned to the production game, providing beats not only for his own efforts, but for other artists as well. Among his notable credits are some of the only interesting moments on Lil Wayne's otherwise uninspired I Am Not A Human Being 2.
Juicy's "Yeah Hoe!" ad-lib has served as a memorable production stamp, as well as effective element of many of the duo's beats. In fact it has even shown up in the work of other beatmakers, which while strange, demonstrates the mark they have already made in rap.
Hottest Track Right Now: Juicy J- Boss Nigga
Editor's Favorite: Lil Wayne- Gunwalk (Feat. Gudda Gudda)
Although New Jersey producer Clams Casino has been relatively quiet as of late, there's no denying the influence he's had on contemporary Hip Hop. With a diverse production style that ranges from minimalist ambient soundscapes to powerful bass anthems, he helped define A$AP Rocky's sound early on, as well as the spacey "cloud rap" subgenre embraced by underground acts such as Lil B and Main Attraktionz.
He handled a third of the production on Rocky's debut Live.Love.A$AP mixtape, and contributed to his debut studio album Long.Live.A$AP as well. He was involved in the production of Mac Miller's debut album Blue Slide Park, and, most recently, his sophomore project Watching Movies With The Sound Off. His other production credits include work for Lil' B and Main Attraktionz (as mentioned), DOOM, Mikky Ekko, The Weeknd, Havoc of Mobb Deep, Soulja Boy, Deezy D, The Jealous Guys, Sha Stimuli and Hardware, as well as official remixes for Lana Del Rey, Big K.R.I.T., XV and electronic musician Washed Out. He's also released two instrumental mixtapes and an EP that sound just as good without rappers' vocals, if not better.
Clams certainly isn't the most prolific producer in the game, but he's one of its most unique, and whenever he drops new music, we take notice. Not to mention he's been co-signed by the godfather of ambient music, Brian Eno. Keep an eye on this one.
Hottest Track Right Now: Mac Miller - Bird Call
Editor's Favorite: A$AP Rocky ft. Main Attraktionz - Leaf
At the moment, there's no producer in the game quite like Providence, Rhode Island's araabMuzik, aka the "MVP of the MPC." Although he cites Dr. Dre, Swizz Beatz, 9th Wonder and Just Blaze as influences, he's also inspired by genres such as trance, electro and dubstep. As such, his sound is extremely diverse, ranging from more traditionalist Hip Hop instrumentals to immense, electronic anthems that most emcees wouldn't dare spit over. His sample-based approach involves fast-paced, real time MPC triggering and complex drum programming, and his live performances are a sight to behold compared to some of the more complacent artists in his field.
Since coming under Dipset Records' Duke Da God's imprint in 2006, he's produced for The Diplomats as a whole, Cam'ron, Jim Jones, J.R. Writer, Hell Rell, Lloyd Banks, Capone-N-Noreaga, The U.N., Jae Millz, Styles P, Tragedy Khadafi, 50 Cent, A$AP Mob, Slaughterhouse, Joe Budden, Danny Brown and many more. He's also a sought-after remix artist. But, as became evident with the release of his excellent studio debut Electronic Dream in 2011, he's just as comfortable without an emcee on the assist, if not more so.
Unfortunately, araab was shot in early May after several unidentified men attempted to rob him in his native Rhode Island. His wounds weren't fatal, though, and he's since recovered nicely. The talented young musician has a long, promising career ahead of him, and we're looking forward to what he'll deliver next.
Hottest Track Right Now: Fabolous - Money Talks
Editor's Favorite: The Prince Is Coming
How could we leave out the man behind YC's "Racks," Future's "Same Damn Time" and 2 Chainz' "Birthday Song," tracks forever emblazoned in our collective memory, for better or worse. Inspired by contemporaries such as Drumma Boy and Shawty Redd, Atlanta producer Sonny Digital's infectious club sound is distinguished by his particular use of rapid hi-hats, 808s and heavy bass.
Since creating his own Sonny Digital Music Group imprint and releasing his Digital History mixtape in 2011, he's gone on to produce for many notable acts, among them Gorilla Zoe, Gucci Mane, Rick Ross, Ace Hood, Juicy J, Waka Flocka Flame, Chevy Woods, Wiz Khalifa, Mac Miller, Gunplay, Kirko Bangz and Roscoe Dash, as well as those mentioned above. He's also a frequent collaborator, having worked with Young Chop, Lex Luger, 808 Mafia and Will A Fool, among others.
The way Hip Hop's sounding at the moment, it doesn't look like Sonny will be going anywhere any time soon.
Editor's Favorite: Chevy Woods ft. Wiz Khalifa - M'Fer
Since his early work on Gucci Mane's 2007 mixtpae No Pad, No Pencil, Atlanta's Mike WiLL Made It has gone on to become one of the most buzzed about producers in the game, so much so that his services are now sought by some of the top R&B and pop acts as well. Influenced by a range of producers including Dr. Dre, Timbaland, Shawty Redd, DJ Toomp and Pharrell, his diverse sound is characterized by vintage synths, trap-oriented drum claps and amplified strings, and it only continues to evolve.
To list all of his accomplishments in a feature this brief would simply be too much. In short, since starting his own production company EarDrummers Entertainment in 2010, he's been responsible for Future's "Turn On The Lights," G.O.O.D. Music's "Mercy," Ace Hood's "Bugatti," 2 Chainz' "No Lie," Juicy J's "Bandz A Make Her Dance," Lil' Wayne's "Love Me," Rihanna's "Pour It Up," Ciara's "Body Party" and Miley Cyrus' "We Can't Stop." Enough said.
Not to mention, he produced the track "Beach Is Better" on Jay-Z's imminent Magna Carta Holy Grail album, and will be contributing to upcoming projects from Ace Hood, Pusha T, Rick Ross, Miley Cyrus, Curren$y, Nelly, Ludacris, Big Sean, Fabolous and Eminem. We have no doubt he'll be around for a minute.
Hottest Track Right Now: Rihanna ft. Young Jeezy, Rick Ross, Juicy J & T.I. - Pour It Up (Remix)
Editor's Favorite: ScHoolboy Q - My Hatin' Joint
This Brooklyn native is an auteur when it comes to production. He is somehow one of the hottest in the game, one of the most versatile, and still one of the rising talents in hip hop. The average hip hop fan might not spit Harry Fraud’s name when rapping off influential beat artists, but any aficionada, or real fan will tell you that “La Musica Da Harry Fraud” is that rhythmic soul-touching crack music. A true crate digger, Fraud’s sound is rich and often filled with obscure and eclectic samples.
Behind mega street anthem and club-friendly hits of both French Montana’s “Shot Caller,” and “Pop That,” his ability to create commercially viable records is undoubted, but this maestro creates some of the most sonically smooth smoker’s cuts. His project collaborations with Curren$y, Smoke DZA, and Action Bronson have pulled out some of the best from these emcees.
Editor's Favorite: Curren$y - Cigarette Boats EP
His ear for creating chart-toppers is what separates Hit-Boy from the crowd, but his love for rapping is what elevates him into another stratosphere as he can craft over-produced sugary tracks for The Pussycat Dolls, but then produce a rapper’s delight posse cut.
The genius producer behind the genre-bending ascendant tune “Niggas In Paris,” also was on the boards for G.O.O.D. Music’s “Clique” which was blended using minimal style production. Focusing on his own budding rap career, the Cali native surprised us with the stellar HITstory mixtape. He continues to make tracks to get paid from some of the world’s most successful recording artists, but don’t let that skew the fact that his production is integral in today’s hip hop landscape.
Editor's Favorite: Hit-Boy - "Fan"
A year ago Mac Miller would not have even been considered for this list. It's amazing how quickly the rapper was able to flood the rap game with his production, making his name as a beatmaker in a mere matter of months, as he worked with the likes of Ab-Soul, Earl Sweatshirt, Freddie Gibbs, and more. Not only did Miller blossom into a notable left field sampler, he also became a much more interesting artist in general.
His sophomore album, Watching Movies With The Sound Off was the apex of this, a project that proceeded further into the experimental territory he promised with his beat-work. His prolific nature remains consistent, releasing a collaborative mixtape with Odd Future affiliate Vince Staples the same week as WMWTSO, and he seems to be improving on all levels with each release.
Hottest Track Right Now: Mac Miller- Suplexes Inside Of Complexes And Duplexes
Editor's Favorite: Ab-Soul- The End Is Near (Feat. Mac Miller)
Cardo is partially responsible for the creation of the influential sound of Wiz Khalifa's Kush & OJ. Many beatmakers have taken notes from the hazy, yet catchy instrumentals found on the mixtape, but Cardo has also expanded his pallette beyond that as well. His most recent hit is a more straight-ahead banger, far removed from the smoked-out jams of his earlier career.
His recent output suggests that not only is he an innovative producer, who is capable of creating and devloping sounds, but also operates within a wide range of styles.
Hottest Track Right Now: Meek Mill- Levels
He didn’t create it, but Young Chop has been the poster child for the drill scene. Coming from the war-torn streets of Chicago, Chop and his rapping counterpart, Chief Keef are like a bizarro version of “40” and Drake. The Chi-town native’s beats are characterized by their minimal production and have a melodic grime. Similar to his “softer” contemporaries, Young Chop’s music makes you feel something, it’s just not a warm feeling.
To label his tracks as infectious would be selling them short. On the surface his hits may seem simple, almost catchy, but this is a deliberate sound crafted by the newly-turned 19 year old. His bread and butter is working with his close friend Keef, but major names have reached out including French Montana, Ace Hood, and Pusha T – who even squashed minor ‘beef’ with the producer to use his hot sound.
Hottest Track Right Now: Pusha-T - "Blocka" Feat. Travi$ Scott & Popcaan
Editor's Favorite: Ace Hoot - "Root Of Evil (Intro)"
Honing his skills in Toronto, Boi-1da, like much of TO’s soundscape, was influenced by his music coming out of the Caribbean, and the sound can be heard by not only the blasting air-horns that echo through his tracks, but the cascading flowing quality of his beats. One of the beatmakers responsible for creating Drake’s uber-successful sound, this producer found himself at the front of a commercial hip hop revolution of sorts, as a track with a soft quality that features thumping beats moved to the forefront.
Biggest Track Right Now: Ace Hood - "We Them Niggas"
Editor's Favorite: Nas - "Trust"
The other and more influential part of Drake’s production team, 40 was instrumental in recording Thank Me Later, but arrived as one of the game’s best for his work on Take Care. It’s not only his OVO collabos that have garnered him attention, as the Toronto-area native has produced hits for Nas, DJ Khaled, Tyga, and many more. As seen with Drizzy’s take on 40’s songs, his beats lend themselves to helping rappers emote and get personal on a record.
Biggest Track Right Now: Drake - "The Motion" Feat. Sampha
HNHH breaks down the hottest producers in the game right now.
Producers are generally the ones responsible for hot sound and trends, but they are often outshone by the more visible artists in front of them. HNHH is taking the opportunity to shed light on some of the most innovative and and prolific beatmakers in the game right now. We've included DJ Mustard, Mac Miller, Mike WiLL Made It, as well as a few names you might not be as familiar with in our list of the Hottest Producers Right Now.