Executive producing an album takes a lot of patience, experience, and true comprehension of the human psyche—and as the buffer between the business and creative sides of the album-making process, it can be a tough balance to maintain. The relationship between artist and executive producer is one of the most essential aspects of bringing an album to life. Fans will listen to an album, but rarely understanding the sleepless nights, disagreements, and hard work that go into it.

XXL spoke to some of the hottest producers in the game today to get a true understanding of what the executive producing process truly entails. From sample clearances to label pressures to reproducing an artist's vision, DJ Khaled, DJ Drama, Just Blaze and Organized Noize take us through the ins, outs and shortcuts of being an EP. Layne Weiss and Dan Rys