2007 was the year when producers and songwriters collectively stepped up to bat and solidified their star power for all the right reasons. Here’s my top 10 reasons why I feel producers ruled 2007
10) Polow Da Don got more buzz off his guest appearances on two Rich Boy singles- “Throw Some D’s” and “Good Things”- than Rich Boy did. Fuck a 2nd LP, when’s the Polow album drop?
9) The Runners and Danjahandz give DJ Khaled two of the biggest hip-hop records of the year- “We Takin Over” and “I’m So Hood- making the rotund DJ more than just another annoying guy screaming on records.
8) Alchemist gives Prodigy all the blaxploitation backdrops he needs to make his Return of the Mac project successful, and in then process makes us forget about all the garbage Mobb Deep has put out since the Murda Muzik album. Havoc album, Kush? Not so successful.
7) Tired of just giving away beats with hooks on them, Swizz Beats rhymes on his own shit and “It’s Me Bitches” becomes a surprise hit. New York finally has something resembling a pulse on a mainstream level.
6) Little Brother drops The Getback in October, minus 9th Wonder, and hardly anyone pays attention, proving once and for all that the NC beatsmith is what people had been checking for all these years, a la Pete Rock and CL Smooth.
5) Will.I.Am drops his criminally slept-on solo album Songs About Girls, and while it doesn’t sell shit, it’s a creative high point for the Black Eyed Peas front man. Far from a traditional hip-hop project, I’m chalking its failure in the marketplace to A&M not knowing what the fuck they are doing, and Will.I.Am being too stuck in artist mode to want to promote it.
4) Wyclef allows TI to hang with the yardies by producing “You Know What It Is,” proving that the Southern rapper can do more than trap rap. Then he gets Lil Wayne and Akon on “The Sweetest Girl,” before dropping his ecleftic opus Carnival II, which even has Minister Farrakhan playing violin on it. What white tee-shirt rocking rapper you know who can pull that off?
3) JR Rotem produces singles for Plies, Freeway, Chamillionaire and countless hollywood poop, err, i mean pop tarts, all while impregnating then de-impregnating Britney Spears and sticking the great white hype in Lindsay Lohan. Oh, and his artist Sean “I don’t know if I’m a rappa or a sanga” Kingston had one of the biggest hits of the year, “Beautiful Girls,” which was hip-hop blasphemy sampling Ben E. King’s “Stand By Me,” but who really gives a fuck about that kinda shit anymore?
2) Timbaland releases Shock Value, and while initially written off by critics as a hot steaming shit sandwich, the project eventually spawns the single “The Way I Are,” and Timbaland officially becomes a certifiable pop star in his own right. “Ayo Technology” could have been a bigger hit WITHOUT 50 on it.
1) Kanye West outsells 50 Cent and in the process makes the Queens MC about as irrelevant as Ja Rule and Ray Benzino ever were. Wanna know why? He just makes better music and better records, period. He’s a musician, not just a rapper. 50 Cent is a rapper. He writes raps lyrics to pre-made rap beats. That shit is dead. Kanye is a guy that started out tapping on MPC pads and looping up samples on an ASR10. A producer who’s now arguably one of the biggest stars on the planet. The world mourned the death of his mother, Ms. Donda West, along with him. Can you count on two hands how many rappers, or even musicians period, that you would give 2 shits about if one of their family members died? I can’t.