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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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