Jake One is one of the biggest producers in hip-hop right now, having worked with everyone from Drake to Snoop Dogg throughout his career. In his early days, the Seattle native was an underground force, teaming up with Freeway for 2010’s The Stimulus Package, as well as Brother Ali on his fifth album Mourning In America And Dreaming In Color in 2012. His big break wasa production credit for Rick Ross’ "3 Kings" featuring Jay Z and Dr. Dre, a track that exploded his popularity and pushed him into the mainstream.

In the last two years, Jake One has seen a significant rise in his profile, notably making smooth album cuts with the hip-hop elite that grow on you over time. Recently, Jake One has produced two records on 50 Cent’s upcoming Animal Ambition“The Funeral” and “Hustler”—which shows the year is already going pretty well for him. We caught up with the Northwest veteran over the phone to get his favorite songs he’s produced so far in his career. From De La Soul’s “RockCo.Kane Flow” to Drake’s “Furthest Thing,” here are five songs he thinks are clear highlights of his catalogue. —Eric Diep

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De La Soul featuring MF DOOM, "RockCo.Kane Flow"

Jake One: It was one of the first joints I did that I saw people go crazy over. 50 actually rapped on that too. There’s a version of him rapping on that. It’s called “Hole In Your Back.” It was the first one I did that really connected with a lot of people. And people to this day tell me that’s their favorite song that I have ever done.

I didn’t even know [MF DOOM] was on it until I heard the song. The thing with that song is like, for De La to end all their shows that I’ve seen them do with that song, with the kind of catalogue they have? That’s amazing to make a song like that.

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Jake One, “Home” featuring Vitamin D, Note, Maneak B and Ish

Jake One: The video got a lot of play on MTV and kind of showed the city. It was early on, obviously, before shit went crazy here. All the people that are in that video made their come up. It felt kind of cool and it was a kind of interesting period of time.

I was kind of reaching back to guys that I grew up [with] on that. There wasn’t anybody new necessarily on that song. It’s just an important song to me for whatever reason.

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Rick Ross, “Three Kings” featuring Dr. Dre and Jay Z

Jake One: That was obviously a big one; to hear Jay Z rap on my beat was pretty amazing. Rick Ross was somebody I wanted to work with for an album. I’ve been trying to catch up with him for a while. To get one with him and be that? That was crazy.

You know the funny thing is that was a Dre thing. That was one of Dre’s songs. Dre was the one who really made it happen. But after that, I obviously connected with his people and did more joints for him. I never had a direct connection to him, but that was a big record.

I think maybe for a younger generation, I guess [it was my breakout record]. After that happened in 2012, the last two years I’ve been working with all the new rappers. That was something that I wanted to do, kind of transition to the new wave of guys that are popping. It was important, definitely, in that way, for sure.

It was just exciting to me when it was just a Ross and Dre song. When Jay got on, that obviously makes it into something else. I actually went to New York the day it dropped on Hot 97. I heard it playing on the radio everywhere, so that was surreal. I don’t think that will happen again.

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Photo: Ryan Muir

Drake, “Furthest Thing”

Jake One: I’ve met Drake before. That’s the thing with the younger dudes that I’ve noticed, there’s not as many middlemen involved. Drake hit me directly. He brought me out to Toronto and we kicked it at the OVO Fest. You know, I send him some direct and he tells me what he likes and he doesn’t. It’s different. I get that from all the younger dudes that I work with. The newer generation. It makes things a lot easier for me.

I just thought he wouldn’t even know who I am. For him to reach out and like what I do, I think it's dope. Any time when you have the elite of music that they do, you gotta be honored when they hit you up. I’ve been lucky to get that co-sign from damn near all of them at this point. It just makes me feel that I'm doing the right thing.

Drake is still on his way up. I don’t think he can put limits to what he is capable of doing 'cause there hasn’t been a rapper who is capable of making a Migos song and then “Hold On, We’re Going Home.” Equally as good as that. There’s just nobody that [has done] that before. Maybe Kanye. But I don’t think Kanye is pure pop to some of the shit that Drake could do. He’s still got a different kind of edge to him.

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Chance The Rapper, “Acid Rain”

Jake One: A friend of mine who works at a label put me on to him. I just thought he was dope. I followed him on Twitter. He hit me with, “Let’s do something.” I sent him maybe four or five beats, he came up with that song maybe two days later. I really had no idea that it would be as [big an] impact as it was going to be. It usually doesn’t happen for me in that way. I kind of like that part of it as much as the song so I thought that was kind of cool. And it’s a different kind of beat for me. People haven’t heard me do those beats necessarily—more melodic stuff.

I did a song for Snoop and Wiz called “French Inhale” that came out. It was an old beat and people liked it so much. I gotta get back in and do another one of those. That’s how I made “Acid Rain.” I kind of sat there for a minute and it kind of just came. We got the right joint out of it.

What Chance is doing is different. He’s not necessarily trying to get a deal, but he’s on a Bieber single. He has all the people willing to work with him and he’s got a big fan base. I think it's cool. I think it’s a new thing. He’s a different kind of rapper, too. It’s kind of challenging to listen to some of the stuff he is doing. Anything that succeeds like that, I have more respect for him.

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