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25 Greatest Rap Producers of All Time: Staff List

To conclude hip-hop’s 50th anniversary year, Billboard ranks 25 of the genre’s most influential producers of all time.

This year, hip-hop celebrated its 50th anniversary. A bevy of rap luminaries, esteemed groups and influential DJs received their flowers for their groundbreaking impact on the culture that originated from a house party in the Bronx during the 1970s. While we revel in the soundscapes that make our bodies move and ears perk up, we often forget the masterminds behind these memorable moments: the producers.

The producers have proven to be the anchor and backbone of hip-hop because of their masterful sonics. While lyrics resonate with people most, what instantly lures them in are the production and backdrop behind those words, as it captivates listeners to tune in. Whether the mood is melancholy, joyous, or downright reckless, producers are the song’s engine, as it’s usually the first thing that grabs our attention.

Marley Marl, Larry Smith and The Bomb Squad helped bring hip-hop from the basements to the radios in the ’80s, while Dr. Dre, DJ Quik, DJ Premier and RZA helped fortify both coasts with undeniable beats in the 90’s. And even in today’s current hip-hop climate, we have Metro Boomin, Hit-Boy, 40 and other newer greats leading the crusade, with their handprints on some of the biggest songs and albums we’ve seen in this young decade.

Today, hip-hop is a melting pot of noteworthy producers who strengthened the genre through their unequivocal love for the sport. After previously narrowing down the top rappers and groups of all-time, below we close the door on hip-hop’s 50th year with our list of the top 25 greatest hip-hop producers of all time.

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