N*ggas Try To Be The King, But The Ace Is Back

As someone who studies, performs, and enjoys classical music, you might be surprised to learn that my 2nd favorite genre of music is rap.  As someone who has said “fuck” more in the last 5 minutes than everyone reading this sentence combined has in the last month, you might not be as surprised to learn that my 2nd favorite genre of music is rap.

While I may be able to present my thoughts and opinions about some incredibly obscure piece of music or composer I may have encountered (who’s excited about my forthcoming post on George Templeton Strong’s ‘Sintram’ Symphony?!) the way only a true pseudo-intellectual can, I cannot do the same for rap music.  I’m not incredibly familiar with a lot of rap music outside the stream just east of the mainstream (although I know enough to know that Immortal Technique is clinically insane and that Del the Funkee Homosapien says “motherfucker” better than anyone except Paul Giamatti in the Howard Stern movie), but I feel at least competent enough to have an opinion, which is why I’m writing this.

The role of the rap producer is an interesting one, and one that has taken on great significance in the last 10 years or so.  The lyrics are obviously huge, and we all love the Eminems, Ludacrises, and Jay-Zs of the world for the great rappers (and lyricists) they are.  But the question of “who made that beat?” has created a mystique around the producer that seems to grow larger and larger.

I love Kanye West as much as the next guy, and all of his albums have been terrific, in my opinion.  The same goes for Pharrell Williams, who has produced some of my absolute favorite songs (I still think “When The Last Time” by Clipse is probably the best beat ever).  I’ve never been all that much into Timbaland, but he’s produced some incredibly successful shit as well.  I’ve always liked Rick Rubin, at least in part because I think I could look like him if I tried.

But, for me, the undisputed king of producers is Dr. Dre.  There is no discussion.  He is to rap producing what Jerry Rice is to the concept of being a wide receiver.  He produced Straight Outta Compton.  He produced Doggystyle.  He produced The Chronic.  He produced 2001.  He produced The Marshall Mathers LP and Encore.  The songs he’s produced would make anyone’s iPod fully decked out: Nothin’ But A G Thang, Let Me Ride, No Diggity, Forgot About Dre, Let Me Blow Ya Mind, and on and on and on………needless to say, he’s a legend, and the best at what he does.

All of this is simply to say that when I heard the upcoming single from Eminem’s new album, Relapse, entitled We Made You, and enjoyed the shit out of it, I assumed it was thanks to the good Dr.  I was correct.  Another Dre classic.  Do enjoy.


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