Mike WiLL: “This list could go on forever. Dr. Dre and Timbaland are definitely the pioneers. Dr. Dre was the first one with that knock on a street level. I always admired his drums, and his sounds were always so crazy.
“Timbaland was the first crazy pop producer and I liked his melodies. He brought so many artists to the game. That’s what I really respect; being able to pull so much from the beats that they turn an artist into a major factor. He brought Aaliyah, Nelly Furtado, Justin Timberlake, Magoo, and Missy Elliott—even though they kind of rubbed off on each other, her being a great producer as well. He’s a genius.
“Coming up in the South, I was also looking up to Shawty Redd. He was the first producer to really bring that dark trap energy and sound. I really admired his work on the earlier Gucci Mane and Young Jeezy records, and even Drama’s ‘Left Right Left.’ He was going crazy.
“Also coming out of the south was DJ Toomp. I was kicking it with him last night. He’s like my big brother or my mentor. I love what he does. He’s had some bangers with T.I.”