The Unkut Guide To The Top 30 Hip-Hop Producers of All Time
Sunday December 01st 2013,
Filed under: 45 Kings,Features,Listicles,Non-Rapper Dudes,The Unkut Guide
Written by:


Since I threw out the statement that “I respect Jay Dee but he doesn’t crack my top 25″ comment earlier, it’s only right that I back it up by providing the Unkut top 30 in no particular order. Send all hate mail to the usual address.

DJ Pooh

His work with King Tee, Threat and Ice Cube cemented his place is the history books.

DJ Muggs

The sound of the first three Cypress Hill albums reminded New York of something that had been lost for a minute.

Paul C.

Scientific drum programming that was five years ahead of his time.

Howie Tee

His work with Special Ed, Real Roxanne and Chubb Rock was running shit on the dancefloors in his day.

Easy Moe Bee

Defined the sound of the times at his prime with Bad Boy.

Dr. Dre

Efil4Zaggin was the most state of the art release of it’s day, and The Chronic changed rap forever.


Made flipping dollar bin 80′s R&B records work in 1999 and reminded us what this shit is all about – making something out of nothing.

The Beatnuts

Brought the Spanish influence into the game and provided some of the best drinking music ever.

Da Beatminerz

Their work on Da Shinin’ is flawless.

Prince Paul

Took it back to the weird and obscure without sacrificing the thump.

Bomb Squad

Future shock sampling before samplers were even up to the task.


Took us back the dungeons of rap and made some of the dirtiest music major label rap ever.

Larry Smith

Made Run-DMC and Whodini into the powerhouses of 80′s rap that they became.

Duke Bootee

Mastered the Linn drum like no one else before or after.


Technical wizard who took the drum machine to new hights with his work for Mantronix and T La Rock.

Pete Rock

Pushed the SP-1200 to previously unimaginable levels with Mecca and the Soul Brother, while he built on the 45 King’s horn science and made it his own.

DJ Premier

Defined the raw New York sound for most of the 90′s with a stripped-down, unorthadox approach.

Large Professor

He’s got so much soul, he don’t need no music.


Unfinished Business was the most sophisticated production of 1989, and that was only one of their four incredible achievements.


Took rap to it’s rawest form and conquered it with “P.S.K.” and “Gucci Time”, and evolved into the sampling era with equal aplomb.

The Alchemist

Studied under Havoc from Mobb Deep and has since overshadowed his master by taking the essence of QB back to the west.

Rick Rubin

Proved that less is always more with “It’s Yours”, the first LL album and the Beastie Boys debut.


Kept Bambatta’s dream of experimentation alive.


Changed the sound of thug rap forever with soulful, desolate loops and masterful snare work.

Diamond D

The epitome of crate culture on record. “Sally Got A One Track Mind” cannot be touched.


The essence of The Bronx sound who made big band samples pop like no one had before.


On the strength of “Time’s Up” and “Woah” alone, Buck has the versatility that most lack.


So far ahead of his time that the world still hasn’t caught up, Ced took production into orbit with his advanced programming science.

45 King

The first producer to kill horns on hooks and loop the stuff you’d never think to flip.

Marley Marl

Invented the concept of sampling drums from records instead of using drum machines, and therefroe the most important hip-hop producer of all-time by default. Not to mention he gave us “The Bridge”…

42 Comments so far
Leave a comment

GREAT fuckin list, Robbie! Can’t be mad at that in any way. And personally, I’d have Jay Dee aka J Dilla on my list, but that’s just me…

Comment by Wicked 12.01.13 @

Great list. Most wouldn’t even think to consider Bomb Squad, Rubin or Larry Smith (been saying it for years) despite being the three next to Marley that really set blueprints. Props.

Comment by Tom Rock 12.01.13 @

If J Dilla’s so good, why’s he dead?

Comment by Derk McJerkd 12.01.13 @

Dilla shouldn’t even crack anybody’s top 1000 rap producers list.

Where Pumpkin at?

Comment by brian beck from wiscompton 12.01.13 @

Great list, Rob…Once thing I wanted to add: Steve Sola once told me that he was the one adding the famous reverb on Havoc´s snares. I don´t know if this is true, but if it is he played a major part in making Havoc´s joints what they are.

Comment by Maze 12.01.13 @

replace Rick Rubin with Jazzy Jay..he did the First LL Cool j records, he was cut creator It’s yours ,plus he inspired produced for Diamond d, showbiz Q-tip Jb’s brand Nubian etc

Comment by justsayin 12.01.13 @

k-Def, T-Ray, Dilla, NO ID, Domino, Araabmuzik (just kidding), MadLib, Just Blaze… I don’t know who else i would put on a best producers list…Daz? considering he did a lot of the stuff that dre gets credit for.

Comment by P Wil 12.01.13 @

Solid list. The most glaring omission is DJ Quik though. I also would have made room for QDIII, Tony D, Bobcat and maybe Sir Jinx.

Comment by hotbox 12.01.13 @

[…] Check out the top 30 producers here. […]

Pingback by The Unkut Guide To The Top 30 Hip-Hop Producers of All Time | Blackout Hip Hop 12.01.13 @

Peace Money…no Finesse?

Comment by Shareef 12.01.13 @

Nice list, but I’d add some personal favourite as it’s DR Period, 4th Disciple, or RNS, raw producers from New York, creating this grimy raw Hip Hop NY sound of the 90s.

Comment by djmarioka 12.01.13 @

This list is correct

Comment by jesse 12.01.13 @

about time someone repped schoolly d and Howie the list iz on point dilla is cool but this list was before him

Comment by jake up 12.01.13 @

Madlib should be on this list.

Comment by esto 12.01.13 @

Timbaland !!

and Dilla

and for us 35 and under cats you gotta add Just Blaze and Kanye.

that is all.

Great list.

Comment by p-money 12.01.13 @

Lord Finesse needs to be on the list too, and I think Hieroglyphics’ producers (Domino, A Plus, Jay-Biz, etc) are criminally under appreciated.

Comment by esto 12.01.13 @

This list is fucking solid… ‘ Stunts Blunts and Hip Hop ‘ needs a deluxe package reissue … yesterday.

Comment by bboycult 12.01.13 @

Great list Robbie, but I would have 9th Wonder (in my opinion easily one of the best to do it)on that list and Jazzy Jeff. Peace from the suburbs in leafy Hertfordshire.

Comment by BetOnBlack 12.01.13 @

Dilla a fine rapper (hah hah) but whatever as producer… he was OK, I guess. Definitely overrated by white boys and the Roots.

Sometimes I think the Beatminerz huge fall off is one rap’s greater sorrows but then I remember those two crappy producer’s albums they made and…

I’m tempted to through Rick Rubin off the list for producing far more ass than heat throughout his career but I dunno… Wasn’t he given control of Sony Records and then gave Jim Jones a huge deal? Yeah, great motherfucking ear, asshole.

Kill Rick Rubin in 1986 and OK, he stays.

Comment by Half-Intelligent Air Hoodlum 12.01.13 @

ask Pete Rock, Doom, Tip, Premier or even Alchemsit if Dilla was overrated. Don’t trip just cos he’s shown love..

Dope list and on point as always however.

Comment by massimo 12.02.13 @

Yo P-Money, Just Blaze and KanYe West??? Fuck no!! Get real.

Comment by Wicked 12.02.13 @

I’ve never been overly fanatical of Jay Dee either. A few names I’d consider above him would be Kenny Dope, Lord Finesse, Salaam Remi, K-Def, No ID, Unknown DJ & DJ Slip.

Comment by Mark563 12.02.13 @

Are you OK, Robbie?!?

You finally made a totally rational list, LMAO

Comment by BKThoroughbred 12.02.13 @

Y’all buggin’, Dilla was NICE … and no Q-Tip/Ali/ATCQ on this list means FAIL … no DJ Quik, Boogiemen (West Coast Bomb Squad w/ Pooh, Jinx, Cube, Bobcat), LA Posse (Bobcat n nem, produced Bigger And Deffer), Ready Red/Mike Dean/Rap-A-Lot, Timbaland, BDP, TEDDY RILEY?? Shoulda taken more time compiling this thing … great choices listed though…

Comment by RBI 12.02.13 @

Q-Tip doesn’t get enough propers.

Comment by ab 12.02.13 @

Q-Tip made the list.

Comment by Robbie Ettelson 12.02.13 @

Just a brief digression from the topic:

CANNABIS OIL [The ESSENTIAL OIL extracted from the cannabis plant using a solvent such as isopropyl alcohol or 190 proof Everclear] cures internal cancers within 3 months and skin cancers in weeks–on record–as well as a host of other ailments [diabetes, migraines, asthma, arthritis,...] Please YouTube Rick Simpson’s video “Run from the Cure.” For medical/scientific analysis, please search: Dr. Robert Melamede [U. of Colorado-Colorado Springs]; Dr. Manuel Guzman [U. of Madrid]; Dr. Sean McAllister [CA Pacific Medical Research Institute]; Dr. Prakash Nagarkatti [U. of South Carolina]; Dr. Dennis Hill [MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston]. Also, YouTube Dr. Sanjay Gupta’s CNN Special called “Weed.” In it, he documents a 5 year old girl successfully treating her Dravet syndrome [severe epileptic seizures] with CANNABIS OIL. Nobody is selling anything. With any good strain of cannabis indica, you can make your own CANNABIS OIL and cure yourself and your loved ones.

Back to Hip Hop: Preemo is the G.O.A.T. Hands down.

Comment by ab 12.02.13 @

@Robbie, haha, fail on my part re: Q-Tip … but I stand by the rest of it!!!

Comment by RBI 12.02.13 @

cosign that list, although I’d add Gunshot’s White Child Rix as a personal favorite of mine

Comment by TimSki 12.03.13 @

Good list. You pretty much covered everyone who matters/ed. My only thought: EPMD should have been EPMD/Erick Sermon “cause E held it down with and without PMD. His run from about ’94-’99 is underrated and underacknowledged.

Comment by oskamadison 12.03.13 @

Agree with the reasons for Buckwild but didn’t OK have that loop first or something? Time’s Up, I mean.

Comment by silent minority 12.03.13 @

herby luv bug ?

Comment by discdolo 12.03.13 @

kay gee: 3 classic naughty albums, plus classic tracks by miilkbone, rotten razkalz, and even some nice zhane tracks.

honorables: dj kenny parker, nick wiz [cella dwellaz & miilk], and dj eddie f [that smooth uptown sound], and plugs 1, 2, and 3 [Stakes is High and beyond]

Comment by ab 12.03.13 @

Agree with oska, completely forgot about the E-double. Herby Luve bug shouldn’t be considered; his tracks did not age well at all.

LOL at “classic tracks by millkbone, rotten razkalz”

Comment by hotbox 12.03.13 @

Dr. Dre is one of the best ENGINEERS ever, not producer…Case in point: Produced by Dr. Dre AND DJ Yella, produced by Dr. Dre AND Mel-Man, produced by Dr.Dre AND Stu-B-Doo, produced by Dr. Dre AND Scott Storch…see a pattern? (and I’m not even mentioning the beats he outright stole and slapped his name on…) He’s overrated, but this list is mostly on point…

Comment by da commanda 12.03.13 @

I totally cannot find fault in that list at all.

Comment by vollsticks 12.05.13 @

I love lists and this is one of the best I’ve ever seen. There’s a few legit arguments by dudes in the comments re: notable beatmakers who didn’t make the cut, but all in all this list is pretty unfuckwittable.

Props to Robbie for putting an exclamation point on another stellar year of rap journalism. Don’t stop bloggin’.

Comment by Bang 12.05.13 @

I like Robbie’s top 30 list and agree with most of it.
Good List though.

Comment by Davito 12.05.13 @

I think the list should be divided up.Some of the producers on that list where slapping their names on stuff and others where doing the actual digging and programming.That being said I miss a couple of names that should be on that list:

King of Chill(Kibbles and Bits was crazed genius) so much stuff it’s one of the best imo.
Roc Marciano is amassing a great body of work,same goes for KA as far as production goes
Teddy Riley should be in the top 10
Hollywood Impact(King Sun,Twin hype,LA Starr),if I have to explain,you won’t get it but hip/house sounded good when he did it.
LA Kid of Tuff crew,listen to Danger Zone and Back to Wreck shop,amazing.
Bilal Bashir(Rhyme Syndicate,Ice T,Divine styler)
Ice T’s Power album has his footprints all over it.
Chuck Nice(3xDope)2 albums worth of classic material,Original Styling is a classic and Live from Acknickulous Land is a personal favourite

Comment by Breed500 12.06.13 @

Great list, I’d like to give a honorable mention to Matt Dike & The Dust Brothers, especially for ‘Paul’s Boutique’ but also ‘Know How’, ‘Bust A Move’, ‘Funky Cold Medina’ & ‘Wild Thing’, pop rap, yes, but still funky as fuck and infinitely better than the shit that gets in the charts these days.

Comment by sonny7 12.07.13 @

Showbiz,Diamond D, Buckwild, Lord Finesse
DITC changed the game

Comment by GIFF 12.08.13 @

Simon cowell

Comment by Dan_E_Fresh 12.09.13 @

Leave a comment
Line and paragraph breaks automatic, e-mail address never displayed, HTML allowed: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>