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XXL Ranks Nas’ Best Go-To Producers

Since he burst onto the scene with his verse on Main Source’s “Live at the Barbeque” and then cemented himself as a force with his classic 1994 debut, Illmatic, Nas has grown to become revered as one of rap’s greatest lyricists of all-time. Over the last two decades, his pen has almost always been sharp, from his vivid storytelling to the gems he’s dropped—all fit into intricately pieced together verbal structures. The variable between when he’s been good and great, often, has been his beat selection.

He’s teamed up with some of hip-hop’s best beatsmiths of all-time, like DJ Premier and No I.D., and has also crafted a signature sound with the likes of L.E.S. and Trackmasters, just to name a few. With fans still talking about Nas’ latest work, Life Is Good, XXL looked back at Nas’ solo catalog (including The Lost Tapes and his collab with Damian Marley, Distant Relatives) and dug up statistics on 10 of Esco’s producers of choice, to crown the Queens MC’s Best Go-To Producers based on a point system that includes album appearances, official singles released, Grammy nominations, top 40 hits, and signature tracks. Who’s best at helping God’s Son reach musical heavens? —XXL Staff


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