There have been many formidable producer/rapper duos in hip-hop—Dr. Dre and Eminem, DMX and Swizz Beats and Jay Z and Kanye all exuded exemplary rapper and producer combinations. Besides providing beats for Jay and several others, some of Kanye’s most notable work came with his fellow Chicago brother, Common. Common’s musical opus, 2005's Be—which received a XXL rating by this mag—was produced by Kanye West and catapulted him even further into hip-hop’s history books. Kanye’s soulful production aligned with Common’s lyrical candor has always left fans in awe.

Despite Common leaving G.O.O.D Music and continuing his musical bond with longtime collaborator No I.D. on his most recent album, Nobody's Smiling, the two rappers are still on good terms. Recently, Com sat down with XXL to tell us his favorite Kanye West beats of all time, and which beat Kanye took back to for himself. —Carl Lamarre


"Guess Who’s Back"

Scarface featuring Jay Z and Beanie Sigel
Why: The one he did with Jay Z and Scarface. One of his earlier beats. That shit was dope.


"Jesus Walks"

Kanye West
Why: "Jesus Walks" was one of my favorite Kanye beats of all time. Just for him sampling that and turning it into a song was dope.


"Heard 'Em Say"

Kanye West featuring Adam Levine
Why: It’s funny for me to say that, actually, because he made that beat for me. And I never ended up using it. I didn’t have writer’s block or anything. It was just one of those things where I was like, "It’s cool." He was playing it for me. He made it in the studio right there for me. I was like, "It was cool." He was like, "Man, if you don’t want it..." And he just wrote the song in about 15 minutes.



Kanye West featuring Pusha T


"The Corner"

Common featuring The Last Poets