Who You Wit: XXL Ranks Jay-Z’s Best Go-To Producers

It goes without saying. Jay-Z has a great ear for beats. From creating classics alongside established producers (DJ Premier, Timbaland) to breaking upstarts (Kanye West, Just Blaze), Hov’s track selection has been instrumental in keeping him current throughout his 15-year career. He even ushered in a new sonic wave (sped up soul sample) with his 2001 masterpiece, The Blueprint. But whose production brings the best out of Hov?

Watch the Throne, Jigga Man’s highly anticipated full-length LP with Kanye, was born out of ‘Ye and Jay’s solid track record as a rapper/producer combo. But, with all due respect to Mr. West, there are at least two hands full of frequent Hov producers who could have teamed up with The God MC to release a buzzworthy joint project. In lieu of WTT‘s digital release today (August 8), XXL looked back at Jay’s solo catalog (and his collabos with R. Kelly) and dug up statistics on 10 of S Dot. Carter’s track masters of choice to crown the Brooklyn legend’s best go-to producer based on a point system that includes album appearances, official singles released, Grammy nominations, top 40 hits, and signature tracks. Who you wit?—XXL Staff

10. Dr. Dre
The G.O.A.T. MC and G.O.A.T. producer joining forces sounds great on paper, but aside from the Jay-penned “Still D.R.E.,” Jay and Dr. Dre’s collaborations haven’t produced much classic material. There was a flash of brilliance (“Lost One”) and a wet dream fulfilled (“The Watcher 2”). The former— a single that introduced R&B singer Chrisette Michele— found Hov subliminally addressing his split with Dame Dash and a failed relationship (rumored to be actress Rosario Dawson); the latter— an unofficial passing of the torch between the original God MC Rakim and Hov— was solid despite the instrumental being a minimally reworked version of Dre’s “The Watcher” off of 2001. “30 Something” did spawn a new slogan (30’s the new 20), but “Trouble” and “Minority Report” were OK at best. Three out of five ain’t bad, but Jay and Dre’s collaborative catalog falls short of the bar these two giants have set through their respective works.

Released Tracks: 5
Album Appearances (1pt): 2 = 2pts
Officially Released Singles (2pts): 2 = 4pts
Grammy Nominations (3pts): 0 = 0pts
Top 40 Singles on Billboard Hot 100 (4pts): 0 = 0pts
Signature Track (s) (5pts): “Lost One” = 5pts
Total: 11pts

Stay tuned as XXL continues to count down Jay-Z’s best go-to producers throughout the week.

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  • fidel_cash_flow

    Just number 10 ?

    Where is the rest of the list ?

  • http://xxlmag JRGR

    My vote goes to Just Blaze.

    • Hi-Cee43

      Agreed. I think that Just brings out the best in Jay too. Shame they haven’t really put too much down together lately.

  • http://64dollacologne.tumblr.com/ CRAMZY

    That “Trouble” was dope as hell to me. Hov went IN on the last verse

  • Azrael

    I see you guys forgot about “Beach Chair” which was co-produced by Dre. So, it would be more like 4 out of 6.

    And, if the number one slot doesn’t go to The Neptunes…=\

  • brooklyn

    they also forgot “watch me” off of vol. 3….and the second verse on lost ones was about beyonce not rosario dawson….he said that to angie when the song came out…why did you thing beyonce is walking in the video during that verse

    xxl get ur shit together or bring eskay back

  • kumanikuwareru

    It’s somewhat suspect to call a man who released one decent record in the last eight years G.O.A.T.

    • jimmyjam

      well ull call eminem a goat, ull call rakim a goat and nas and krs. none of those guys have released a truly great album in years. specially rakim and krs.

      • kumanikuwareru

        I was thinking Petey Pablo. But I would argue that Nas’ “Untitled” is, at least lyrically, his best since “Illmatic.”

  • sdakar


  • Coke on her black skin


  • Coke on her black skin


  • Coke on her black skin


  • Dj

    Using the Word GOAT wrongly offends me, Seriously !!!!

  • jesterxxl

    Chrisette Michele wasn’t on The Watcher 2 you fucking fools it was Truth Hurts.

  • Los Angeles Angelz

    It has to be Kanye, there is no coincidence that this list comes out during the release of “Throne”- Kanye All Day..Err Day….

  • Truth

    No ID works better with Jay than Dre… and Trackmasters.