On every hip-hop record that stands the test of time, the beats matter just as much as the lyrics that get delivered over top of them. In reality, very good emcee needs a solid production base to make his or her song a hit. Think of some of the most iconic albums in the history of the genre and ask yourself where they would be without the quality beatmakers that were running the show behind the board or, in a lot of cases these days, on their laptops in their home workspaces. Missy Elliott would not have sounded the same without Timbaland's work on the instrumentals, nor would Snoop Dogg have discovered his signature sound without the help of Dr. Dre. But what about today's group of production masterminds?

The good thing is that there are no shortage of amazing beatmakers working today. With the explosion of Soundcloud rap allowing even more aspiring artists to break into the game at an unprecedented pace, the demand for quality beats and savvy skills in crafting the perfect instrumental has never been higher. That being said, off all those who are killing it in the hip-hop community right now with their production chops, five names have risen above the rest to stake their claims as true trendsetters for the sound of rap music overall.

Below is our list of the 5 producers who are defining hip-hop right now.


Metro Boomin

The Missouri-born producer has already earned himself many Platinum plaques and helped define the ATL trap sound with his bass-heavy beats. He’s worked with everyone from Drake to Kanye West, as well as Southern staples Migos, Future and Gucci Mane. His notable productions include Future's “Karate Chop," 21 Savage's “No Heart” (as well as the entirety of Savage Mode), Drake & Future's “Jumpman,” Post Malone's “Congratulations” and the banger from Migos and Lil Uzi Vert, “Bad & Boujee.”


Murda Beatz

This Canadian kid has quickly taken the hip-hop world by storm, working with the likes of 2 Chainz, Travis Scott, Drake, Nicki Minaj and more in his budding career. Often featuring high-pitched keyboard or synth melodies in his mixes, his name is behind multiple singles that have charted on the Hot 100. His notable productions include Drake,Travis Scott & Quavo's “Portland,” Gucci Mane & Drake's “Back on Road,” Nicki Minaj featuring Drake & Lil Wayne on “No Frauds,” Travis Scott's “Outside” and Migos' “Get Right Witcha.”


Ronny J

A Florida native, Ronny J has been making major noise lately. He’s given rise to the energetic sound coveted by the new wave of Soundcloud rappers. He’s worked with Denzel Curry, XXXTentacion, Lil Pump and Ski Masl, helping them craft some of their most popular work. He was even signed to Atlantic Records earlier this year. Notable productions of his include: Smokepurpp's “Audi,” The Underachievers' “Play That Way," Lil Pump's “Flex Like Ouu," Denzel Curry and Rick Ross' “Knotty Head,” Ski Mask the Slump God's “Take a Step Back.”



An OG compared to the other producers on this list, Zay is known for using his piano-playing skills to great effect. He’s continued to kill the game with his Southern-style production, collaborating with names like Gucci Mane, Migos, Lil Uzi Vert and Future. This producer’s catalogue of hits only continues to grow, including the entirety of Future’s Beast Mode, 2 Chainz & Lil Wayne's “MFN Right,” Gucci Mane’s “Icy," Migos' “Versace” and Lil Uzi Vert's “Buy It.”



Last but not least, TM88 is one of the foremost beatmakers in hip-hop today. After scoring major exposure on Waka Flocka’s 2012 track “Lurking,” the Atlanta producer hasn’t looked back, linking up with the likes of Future, Young Thug, Travis Scott and 2 Chainz. He’s generally become the go-to for any would-be rap star. Some of his notable productions include Lil Uzi Vert's “XO Tour Llif3,” Future's “Codeine Crazy,” Young Thug's “Wyclef Jean," Wiz Khalifa and Travis Scott's “Bake Sale” and Juicy J featuring Kanye West on “Ballin.”


Check out our video about all the producers and their work below.