No man is an island, and no music producer lives in a vacuum. You can swear up and down that there’s no father to your style, but every beat is born from some inspiration, and the best and most creative producers spend as much time listening as composing. You need to go to the well, kid, if you want to perfect chopping kicks and snares. We suggest revisiting the classics as much as possible: names like The Bomb Squad, Dr. Dre, Timbaland, and the list goes on.

Obviously, beat-making has evolved alongside the technology available. It’s still all about finding a hook and a dope sample, but a Waves plugin bundle is a long way from a turntable and a cross fader. Nonetheless, beats from back in the day can be just as instructive in their rawness as the latest Kanye West track is in its complexity. Here (in no particular order) are ten producers to know and love.