From: Queens, NY
Has Produced For: French Montana, Kid Ink, Meek Mill, Freeway
Signature Song: French Montana f/ Drake, Rick Ross & Lil Wayne "Pop That"
It took rapper-turned-producer Anthony Lee three hours to produce French Montana's 2 Live Crew-sampling posse cut "Pop That," one of the year's hottest party anthems. Additional credits to the 22-year-old's resume include Kid Ink's "Is It You" and co-production on Freeway's “Superstar” featuring Meek Mill. Apparently, he wanted to be an A&R back in high school, but it looks like he's better off now.
Digi + Phonics
Twitter: @daveisfree / @SounwaveTDE / @taebeast / @ichibanWillie
From: Los Angeles, CA
Has Produced For: Kendrick Lamar, Schoolboy Q, Ab-Soul, Jay Rock
Signature Song: Schoolboy Q "There He Go"
Top Dawg Entertainment’s in-house production collective, Digi+Phonics, consists of Dave Free, Willie B, Taebeast, and Sounwave—all of whom have contributed one way or another to each of TDE’s multiple releases this year. Sounwave produced Kendrick’s “Bitch Don’t Kill My Vibe" and Schoolboy’s “There He Go," with Dave Free. Meanwhile, Dave Free provided the backdrop for Ab-Soul’s “Terrorist Threats” and Willie B worked on Schoolboy’s “Gangsta In Designer (No Concept).” Taebeast also gave Ab an anthem with “Track Two.” As long as TDE is winning, these guys will continue to as well.
From: Los Angeles, CA
Has Produced For: Tyga, Y.G, Nipsey Hussle, Meek Mill, 2 Chainz
Signature Song: Tyga "Rack City"
DJ Mustard's 808s and heavy barrage of claps have made him a pioneer of the "ratchet" sound best exemplified on Tyga's infectious strip club anthem, "Rack City." The Los Angeles native often stays true to his roots by providing sounds for locals such as YG, Nipsey Hussle, Ty Dolla $ign, and E-40. He's also produced Meek Mill’s "I'm Rollin'" and 2 Chainz’ “I’m Different."
From: Atlanta, GA
Has Produced For: Ca$h Out, Waka Flocka, Future, 2 Chainz, Rick Ross, Travis Porter
Signature Song: Ca$h Out "Cashin' Out"
DJ Spinz's production was a huge reason why Ca$h Out's "Cashin' Out" became a radio smash overnight. He's new to the game, working as a DJ in the late 2000s before making his way to the boards. The Hot 107.9 radio host has already crafted beats for some of the South's biggest artists, but it appears as if his best days as a producer are still ahead of him.
From: Atlanta, GA
Has Produced For: Travis Porter, Tyga, Ludacris
Signature Song: Travis Porter "Make It Rain"
FKi are the beatsmiths behind Iggy Azalea's "I Think She Ready" as well as her latest mixtape, Trapgold, and Travis Porter's strip club anthem, "Make It Rain." The ATL duo provides a new, refreshing sound for bass-lovers and they've also worked with party-music heavyweight, Diplo. Next up for them is a sequel to their own mixtape, Transformers N The Hood.
From: Brooklyn, NY
Has Produced For: French Montana, Rick Ross, Wiz Khalifa, Juicy J, Action Bronson, Curren$y
Signature Song: French Montana f/ Charlie Rock "Shot Caller"
From his signature "La Musica de Harry Fraud" drop to his production on French Montana's "Shot Caller" and Juicy J’s “Stoners Night 2,” Fraud is not to be taken lightly. His hard-hitting drums, eclectic sampling, and work alongside many of hip-hop’s best makes him not only a hot producer in the Empire State, but also throughout hip-hop. Beyond hip-hop, he's been composing original music for the International Emmy Awards for the past seven years.
From: Glasgow, Scotland
Has Produced For: TNGHT, G.O.O.D. Music
Signature Song: Teyana Taylor and John Legend "Bliss"
Hudson Mohawke is one of the year's breakout stars. The producer and DJ spent years connecting with underground audiences through YouTube remixes and solo EPs while staying true to his electronic sound. His biggest exposure to American audiences came when he was called on to help produce numerous tracks on G.O.O.D. Music's Cruel Summer.
From: Chester, PA
Has Produced For: Chris Brown, Lil Wayne, Tyga, Fabolous, Rick Ross, Meek Mill, Diggy Simmons
Signature Song: Meek Mill f/ Big Sean "Burn"
The 23-year-old is responsible for cooking up one of the year's hottest tracks, Meek Mill's "Burn." He’s also been working high profile names like Jay-Z, J. Cole, Rick Ross, and No I.D. after signing with Roc Nation last year. Now his little brother, The Beat Bully, is another hot commodity in the game. Talent runs in the family.
From: Phoenix, AZ
Has Produced For: G.O.O.D .Music, Swizz Beatz, Game, Lil Wayne, Baby, Cory Gunz, Los
Signature Song: G.O.O.D. Music "Mercy"
The DJ-turned producer started buzzing after crafting Game's HoodMorning (No Typo): Candy Coronas mixtape and working with Bad Boy signee, Los. The musically-diverse Lifted is now an in-house producer for G.O.O.D. Music, famously helping with much of the production on the crew's hit, "Mercy."
From: Seattle, WA
Has Produced For: Macklemore
Signature Song: Macklemore & Ryan Lewis f/ ScHoolBoy Q & Hollis "White Walls"
The past few weeks have been good for Macklemore's partner Ryan Lewis. He's coming off the release of his and Macklemore's debut studio album, The Heist, which sold over 74,000 copies in its first week of release—impressive for an indie project. After making that type of splash, there's no doubt that his sound will catch on outside of Macklemore and the Seattle hip-hop scene.
The Beat Bully
From: Chester, PA
Has Produced For: Rick Ross, Meek Mill, DJ Khaled
Signature Song: Rick Ross f/ French Montana & Drake "Stay Schemin'"
True to his name (and not to be confused with Atlanta's The Beat Bullies), the 21-year-old has provided the sounds to Rick Ross hits "Stay Schemin" and "So Sophisticated," as well as Meek Mill's "House Party." Now that he's under the tutelage of New Orleans legend, Kenoe, one can only expect more major looks for him in the near future.
The Maven Boys
From: Houston, TX
Has Produced For: G.O.O.D Music, Kanye West
Signature Song: G.O.O.D. Music "Sin City"
We were all thinking "Who is Travi$ Scott?" when the rapper/producer appeared on G.O.O.D Music's Cruel Summer album. The 20-year-old's production was introduced to the world on album cuts "Sin City," "To The World," and "The Morning." He's currently finishing up his EP, Owl Pharaoh, and after his turn on Cruel Summer, expectations are rightfully high.
From: Chicago, IL
Has Produced For: Chief Keef, Drake, Gucci Mane, Lil Reese
Signature Song: Chief Keef f/ Lil Reese "I Don't Like"
Young Chop isn't old enough to (legally) get into the clubs, but his sound sure is a staple there. The Chicago producer is best known for hooking up with Chief Keef to make one of the year’s best songs, "I Don't Like."
Since then, he's turned out a multitude of bangers for Chicago artists. Lil Durk's "Right Here" and Lil Reese's "Us" are standouts, but he has plans to move beyond his region. Apparently, he's working with Drake, too. Plus, Chief Keef's latest jam "Love Sosa" has us anticipating Chop's beats on Keef's debut, Finally Rich, more than ever.
From: Greenville, SC
Has Produced For: Rick Ross, Meek Mill, Yo Gotti
Signature Song: Rick Ross "911"
When Rick Ross' God Forgives, I Don't dropped this past summer, most weren't expecting to see Young Shun's name on the liner notes for one of the album's best cuts, "911." Now, after producing the standout record on Meek Mill's album, "Believe It," his appeal is more clear. The Carolina-bred producer is only known for his work with MMG for now, but expect him to move beyond their tutelage soon.