15 New Producers to Watch for in 2014

With so many producers on the rise, we give you the scoop on the 15 you should be paying attention to.

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Complex Original

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Y’all know the deal: another year, another crop of aspiring beatsmiths crawling out from under a veil of obscurity to carry the torch from their predecessors and expand hip-hop’s boundaries into unforeseen territories. We’ve picked 15 for you this time, from super-producers’ apprentices poised to change the game to independent loners making waves outside the major label machine, nostalgia-inducing boom bap formalists and dystopic futurists alike.

A wealth of scenes are represented; we’ve got New York heavy hitters, Southern sound sculptors, and promising Midwest prospects alongside harbingers of Toronto’s hostile takeover and rising voices from overseas. As usual, peep the picks, get familiar with their catalogs, and hit us up in the comments to vent about who we missed. These are 2014’s new producers to watch for, presented as always in alphabetical order.

Written by Craig Jenkins (@CraigSJ)

Allan Kingdom

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Notable production credits: Future Memoirs EP

From: St. Paul


If you haven’t heard of Allan Kingdom yet, get to work. This summer’s Future Memoirs EP found the Winnipeg-born, Minnesota-based newcomer rapping, singing, and producing with help from Kid Cudi’s one-time go-to producer Plain Pat. Kingdom’s rhymes are cut from the same cloth that molded Midwest peers like Chance the Rapper, but it’s his beats you should watch out for: the staccato flute stomp of “Evergreens” and the plinking synths and late-night vibes of the Spooky Black collab “Wavey” showcase a producer unafraid to make off-the-cuff choices as much as their rhymes showcase a rapper dedicated to doing the very same.

Apex Martin

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Notable production credits: Apex EP, Ibn Inglor “Belief” (2013)

From: Houston

Twitter: @apexmartin

Apex Martin is a Houston producer who, at just 18, has pieced together a nightmarish, dystopian sound that’s sure to be in demand as the volatile death disco of Yeezus, Travi$ Scott, etc. continues to wash over the consciousness of rap listeners and artists. Over a series of EPs including this year’s Apex and End of Time, Martin advances sinister modes and powerhouse synths, drawing in Jay Z and Travi$ Scott collaborator WondaGurl and Chicago rap wonder Ibn Inglor into the mix as collaborators in the process.

Eric Dingus

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Notable production credits: Jimmy Johnson “Northside” (2014), Bones f/ Spooky Black “IfYouHadAZuneIHateYou” (2014)

From: Austin, Texas

Twitter: @ericdingus

Fans of the darkly enticing sonics of L.A. rapper Bones’ recently released Garbage mixtape have resident producer Eric Dingus to thank for the gothic trap of cuts like “ReturnOfThePimp” and the Spooky Black-assisted “IfYouHadAZuneIHateYou.” The Austin-based upstart has produced the last two Bones releases in full and also bangs out ghostly soundscapes for rapper Sik Boy as one half of the rap duo Drone, in addition to crafting solo beat tapes like last year’s Subliminal Innocence and an OVO-cosigned remix of Drake’s “Worst Behaviour.” Barely drinking age with a growing list of production credits that includes Three 6 Mafia alum Gangsta Boo, cloud rap impresarios Main Attrakionz and members of Spaceghostpurrp’s Raider Klan, Eric’s definitely one to watch in the next year.

Hagler Tyrant

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Notable production credits: Drake “Trophies” (2013), Drake “Furthest Thing” (2013), Vince Staples “Blue Suede” (2014)

From: Toronto

Twitter: @HaglerTyrant

Did you spaz out to Vince Staples’ “Blue Suede” last week? Did that glorious racket have you looking around your room for inexpensive objects to break? Me too. Get familiar with Toronto’s Marvin Thomas, a.k.a. Hagler Tyrant, then, who lassoed razor sharp synths and trunk-rattling low end into the monster beat that helps smack Staples’ debut Def Jam single outta the park. Hagler’s got more fire too, after co-production with Noah “40” Shebib on Drake’s confessional Nothing Was the Same album cut “Furthest Thing,” and hotter still, the alley-oop on Drake, 40, and Hit-Boy’s mammoth “Trophies.”


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Notable production credits: GoldLink “Sober Thoughts” (2014), Vic Mensa “Wimme Nah” (2014), Mobb Deep “My Block” (2014)

From: Montreal


Canadian producer Kaytranada’s output pursues the commonalities between hip-hop and dance music, treating two disparate strains of beat music like acquaintances you know would get along famously if only they spent more time together. You might know him best for his swanky remixes of R&B anthems (Jill Scott’s “Golden,” TLC’s “Creep,” Missy Elliott’s “Sock It 2 Me” and scores more), which have awarded tried and true hits with an unsuspecting dance floor traction they didn’t know they needed. He’s set his sights on hip-hop dominance this year, though, and in a few short months has scored bangers for Mobb Deep (“My Block” off their underrated The Infamous Mobb Deep), Virginia rapper GoldLink (“Sober Thoughts”), and rising Chicago star Vic Mensa (“Wimme Nah”).

Ludwig Göransson

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Notable production credits: Childish Gambino “Sweatpants” (2013), Childish Gambino “3005” (2013)

From: Linköping, Sweden

Twitter: @ludwiggoransson

Ludwig Göransson has made a name for himself as a composer for TV shows and movies, amassing a growing body of work including last year’s heartbreaking Oscar Grant biopic, Fruitvale Station, and the quirkily charming roommate sitcom New Girl. He also scored NBC’s Community, where he met one Donald Glover and went on to produce both of Glover’s albums as Childish Gambino nearly in full. Göransson’s prodigious skills as a multi-instrumentalist award Gambino’s projects an understated musicality that colors the tracks without distracting from the raps. If you ever wondered who ripped that wild key-changing guitar solo on Because the Internet’s “The Worst Guys,” for instance, look no further.


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Notable production credits: R. Kelly f/ 2 Chainz “My Story” (2013), Drake f/ Majid Jordan “Hold On, We're Going Home” (2013), Drake “Too Much” (2013), Drake “0-100/The Catch Up” (2014)

From: Toronto

Twitter: @Nineteen85

From T-Minus to Boi-1da to Noah “40” Shebib, Drake’s roster of in-house producers over at OVOSound is a who’s who of Toronto beat wizards. One of the lesser-known names in the OVOSound production stable is Nineteen85, but it won’t stay that way for long. He helped with production on Drizzy’s platinum, collaborating with Sampha on the confessional “Too Much” and Majid Jordan on the smash hit “Hold On, We’re Going Home.” The Toronto native has also produced cuts for Juicy J, Tiara Thomas, and R. Kelly, including Kells’ 2 Chainz-assisted Black Panties lead single, “My Story.”


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Notable production credits: Kevin Abstract's MTV1987

From: Connecticut / Austin, Texas

Twitter: @RomilMp3

On this year’s excellent MTV1987, Connecticut producer Romil plays Dot da Genius to Houston rapper Kevin Abstract’s Cudi, dousing Kev’s exacting ruminations on insecurities and self-medication in rave-ready DayGlo. The chemistry’s undeniable, and the album’s series of sprawling epics derive a fair piece of their intrigue from Romil’s production choices. “Hell/Heroina” rides a plodding Crystal Castles flip into a squelching synth meltdown; “Drugs” ping-pongs from a blown-out synth fanfare to a jazzy coda replete with Cassie homage. He can play it straight, as he does on the poppy house romp “Degas Park,” or dirty it up, knocking bleating synths around your headphones like on the dizzying “27.”

SEVN Thomas

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Notable production credits: Mobb Deep “Low” (2014), Tre Capital “Love for the 6” (2014), Kelly Rowland “Love Me Til I Die” (2013)

From: Toronto


SEVN Thomas is another Boi-1da protege poised for takeover. After scoring placements with everyone from Mobb Deep (on The Infamous Mobb Deep’s “Low”) to Kelly Rowland (Talk a Good Game bonus cut “Love Me Til I Die”), SEVN released the solo instrumental EP Hidden Hand this spring, showcasing a knack for the dejected hypnagogic sounds currently en vogue in his city (Toronto) and incorporating sly flips of '90s classics from Usher and the Roots throughout.

Stefan Ponce

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Notable production credits: Vic Mensa “Down on My Luck” (2014), Chance the Rapper “Good Ass Intro” (2013), Childish Gambino “3005” (2013)

From: Chicago

Twitter: @StefanPonce

If you vibed to the sounds of Chicago rapper Vic Mensa’s breakout single, “Down on My Luck,” at all this year, you should get to know Stefan Ponce, who produced the slick, house-inflected cut. Ponce’s from the Chi too, and he’s been lacing local talents Alex Wiley, ShowYouSuck and Chance the Rapper with lush, electro-minded productions for a minute. He caught his biggest break as part of Childish Gambino’s Because the Internet production braintrust; he co-produced on the project’s left-field radio and Billboard Hot 100 hit “3005” and the Jhene Aiko assisted deep cut “Pink Toes.”

The Antydote

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Notable production credits: Isaiah Rashad f/ SZA “Ronnie Drake” (2014), Isaiah Rashad “Banana” (2014)

From: Chattanooga, Tenn.​

Twitter: @TheAntydote

One of the breakout rap releases of the year is Top Dawg Entertainment newcomer Isaiah Rashad’s debut EP, Cilvia Demo, and if you paid attention to the production credits there you’d note that a good number of the cuts off the Tennessee native’s TDE debut were produced by the Antydote, a friend of Rashad’s who took to production as Rashad took to rhymes. On the cuts they’ve crafted on Cilvia Demo and elsewhere, the Antydote laces Rashad with instrumentals that tease out his cerebral rhymes, bathing them in spectral, jazzy textures.

Thelonious Martin

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Notable production credits: Curren$y “Hi Top Whites” (2014), Joey Bada$$ f/ Chance the Rapper “Wendy N Becky” (2013), Theophilus Martins “Show Me Around” (2013)

From: Chicago

Twitter: @KingThelonious

Thelonious Martin is only 21, but his beats are steeped in a gritty, sample-based boom bap that defies his age. Fitting, then, that his work has laced the rhymes of true school revivalists from Joey Bada$$ to Ab-Soul and East Coast mic fiends like Action Bronson and Freeway. See, Martin resides in Chicago, but he grew up in the Tri-State area, and you can hear the influence of old guard New York architects colliding with Midwestern sample wizards like Dilla and Kanye in work like the glut of songs Martin produced for Curren$y’s Drive-In Theatre tape earlier this year. Implacably familiar, but still refreshing and new.


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Notable production credits: Nicki Minaj f/ Lil Herb “Chiraq” (2014), Lil Wayne f/ Drake “Believe Me” (2014), Jay Z f/ Rick Ross “FuckWithMeYouKnowIGotIt” (2013)

From: New York

Twitter: @ Vinylz

Dominican-American producer Vinylz reps Manhattan’s Washington Heights, but he’s blown up nationwide as an apprenticeship with Toronto super-producer Boi-1da has led to work with many of the biggest names of the era. It’s time to give the kid some shine. The list of hypnotic minimalist loops-turned-hits he’s touched is tremendous: Jay and Ross’ “FuckWithMeYouKnowIGotIt,” Drake’s “The Language,” “5am in Toronto” and “0-100/The Catch-Up,” Wayne and Drake’s “Believe Me” and “Grindin’,” Nicki and Lil Herb’s “Chiraq,” Travi$ Scott’s just-released “Don’t Play,” and more. Attention must be paid.

Yung Gud

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Notable production credits: Yung Lean “Kyoto” (2013), Yung Lean “Yoshi City” (2014), Yung Lean “Gatorade” (2013)

From: Stockholm

Twitter: @yung_gud

Rap fans can debate Yung Lean’s worth and intentions till the end of time (I’m a sympathizer.), but the talents of the Sad Boys’ general’s producer cannot be denied. Like Lean, producer Yung Gud resides in Stockholm, and together the pair has forged a vision of hip-hop that bangs with a distinctly Eastern Hemisphere flair. Their work on Lean’s debut mixtape, Unknown Death 2002, was promising (see: “Gatorade”) but occasionally crude; new cuts “Kyoto” and “Yoshi City,” off Lean’s upcoming debut studio album, Unknown Memory, find their aesthetic snapping into high definition on a pair of spacious, ambient productions that sound like Toronto rap guys sharing studio time with, like, Brian Eno.

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