A Project Where An Artist Works With One Producer? Hmm

It was only a matter of time. To be honest, it surely started before this, but I just missed it: rappers making reference to the new most hated trio in sports, LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh.

Game does so on his newly released track, “M.I.A.,” where he spits about keeping three heats on him. 45, Glock, and the Gauge. LeBron James, Chris Bosh and D-Wade. Okay. Not bad.

The track is produced by Cool & Dre and is off of Game’s upcoming mixtape, Brake Lights. The production duo will reportedly be handling all the beats on the project. They’ve worked with Game plenty before and created major hits like “Hate It or Love It” and “My Life,” as well as bangers like “Red Magic” and more. From their past work together, I have no doubt that this mixtape will bump. And it’ll be interesting to hear Game do an entire album with just one production team.

On Wednesday, when we had Styles P in here for the fourth installment of Channel Live, he began taking fan questions, as we do every week. Some fans wanted to know if he’d ever make a full album with either Alchemist or Statik Selektah (Beantown, what up), both of whom he’d worked with in the past. SP answered without hesitation. “Nah,” he said. He then expanded, detailing something to the effect of, he has different feelings at different times, and has a handful of different sounds, and doesn’t want to pigeon hold himself into recording with just one dude.

Cool. I can get with that. I can’t tell the man how to work, even if I do think that full length projects with Alc and Statik would be dope.

That said, it seems like, a lot of times, when rappers work with producers for an entire album or mixtape, the end result feels whole. You have a sound that carries consistently throughout the record. Not in a boring way, though, as if it all sounds the same. More like you just get a feel for what they’re doing, and the album has a constant thread.

A little more than a decade ago, Mannie Fresh was handling all the production for Cash Money. 400 Degreez, Chopper City in the Ghetto, and Tha Block Is Hot were all entirely his touch. 9th Wonder is another producer who has done a handful of albums with just one rapper. From Skyzoo to Murs to Buckshot to David Banner to Wale, 9th seems to like working on full length offerings. It happens a little more often with mixtapes it seems like. Jake One and Freeway released The Stimulus Package, Talib Kweli and Madlib had Liberation, and Statik and Saigon created All In A Day’s Work, to name a few.

Of course, there are dudes that produce all of their own shit, like Kanye, and groups like Gang Starr and Pete Rock & CL Smooth, but those are a little bit of a different beast.

I’m definitely forgetting and leaving out a bunch. What are your favorite rapper/producer collabo albums? Do you like it when artists work with one producer for an entire project, or would you rather it be spread out? —Adam Fleischer

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  • Smokey

    don’t forget Exile’s work with Fashawn and Blu too. It works good for some producers who can have an array of sounds but iono if i would want to hear whole albums with Boi-Ida or Ron Brownz beats.

  • ri067953

    Yo, Styles P should do a full album with Alchemist. “Return of the Mac” came out pretty good and it made Prodigy sound better then he had in a long time. I am pretty sure that it would do the same for P.

  • TT

    Yeah, I disagree with Styles’s decision to never work with one producer for a complete project. Happy weekend.

  • Axeo

    It really does come down to the producer. Like Smokey said I wouldn’t want to hear Boi-1da or Ron Brownz beats on an entire album. There are a lot of producers who i could easily see doing 2-4 tracks but not entire albums.

    At the same time though if you told me a legend like Dj Primiere or Pete Rock had 10 beats all dope ready for me no hesitation I would do a album. I’ve also enjoyed albums 9th Wonder has done with artist.

  • Justin

    Hands Down, Dre/Snoop Dogg On Doggystyle
    Timbo/Missy On Every Missy Album Except The Cookbook
    Mannie Fresh/Cash Money Artists Album
    Organize Noise/Outkast On Every Album

    We Would Be Here All Night If I Continued. I Feel It’s Better When You Work With One Producer On An Entire Project. That Is What Makes An Album A Classic & Recieve XXL Ratings. There Is Nothing Worse Than Having To Hear An Album That Has Songs That Sounds Like They Should’ve Been Left On The Cutting Board, The Same Goes For Mixtapes.

    • http://www.emcdl.com EmCDL


      A project with just one producer and one rapper is the best way to put out an album, especially your debut one and a few that follow afterwards; its like the producer having the blueprint for multiple buildings and the rapper is the architect laying the foundation.

  • DownSouth

    My fav rapper/producer collabs would be:
    No Limit artists/Beats By The Pound
    Old Cash Money artists/Mannie Fresh
    Snoop, Ice Cube, and Eminem/Dr. Dre
    Outkast/Organized Noise
    Wu Tang/Rza
    Ruff Ryder artists/Swizz Beatz
    Michael Jackson/Quincy Jones (oops, that’s not hip hop, lol)


  • http://HipHopSymposium.blogspot.com Rufus Smith

    This is a great article. I do think it would be better if more albums had 1 producer throughout the entire album. I thoroughly enjoyed Curren$y’s most recent album, Pilot Talk, produced by Ski Beatz. He handled all but 2 tracks I believe. Ski Beatz is also one of my favorite producers. Check out Pilot Talk if you haven’t though. It’s great.

    Check out my blog… HipHopSymposium.blogspot.com

  • http://www.mrbeatz.com Mr. Beatz

    I think that’s strange of him to say that. There are many dope producers out there who have a wide range of sounds that he can work with. Him and Statik would be dope in my opinion or maybe even someone like Pete Rock, but I guess according to what he said it will never happen.

  • William B Reece II

    Dre and Snoop Doggy Dog.Classic.Timeless.

  • deuces

    neptunes + clipse
    timbo + missy
    no i.d. + common (and later with kanye)
    dre + snoop
    rza + ghost or rae or gza

  • http://Pierzy11@gmail.com Pierzy

    ’93 – ’94 Snoop & Dre
    ’93 – ’97: Wu & RZA
    ’89 – ’03: Guru & Preemo
    ’90s – Missy & Timbaland
    ’00s – Clipse & Neptunes
    ’09 – Eminem & Dre

    The producer(s) needs to be diverse enough that all of the beats don’t sound like they’re all from the same producer. To me, “All In A Day’s Work” eventually begins to sound repetitive.

    “Doggystyle,” “Liquid Swords,” “Cuban Linx” all manage to sound cohesive and flow together but still not repetitive.

  • http://xxlmag.com yunggee

    ya cud sleep but dat torae n marco polo is fukin crack………

  • jackBuddha

    It does feel complete if the producer is versatile. The ron brows’ nd polow da dons’ definately cant pull ths off. Y dnt artists do more of ths? Dre_Snoop(snoop needs to make ths happen nd FAST),theWu_Rza, Gangstarr, hey i stil like rakim nd eric_b

  • SmokinAces

    Reasonable Doubt, Life After Death, All Eyes On Me and Illmatic are examples of classics made with various producers. I think it’s more about having a consistent yet engaging sound rather than one producer. Like some have said it depends on the producer.

    • Brahsef


      I could give two shits if an album is produced by one producer or numerous as long as it has a continuous cohesive sound to it.

      Not many producers have the ability to truly craft an entire cd by themselves. It’s insanely difficult to maintain a certain sound while not becoming repetitive.

      Of course, there are some producers who are beyond this.

    • bk

      Those albums were all made a while ago, before the era of “we need a track for the streets, the club, the radio…etc..”. Are there recent examples of a bunch of different producers on a release with no skippable tracks?

      Nowadays production styles are more diverse, and the results sound less focused. Rappers need to select beats for albums, not just for individual tracks. Otherwise, the album is not worth purchasing… because it’s not even an album.

  • gndi

    ahh yes the producer and artist collabo a dream made by Quincy and Mike I enjoy artist that collaborate with one producer it creates this one album that has a complete story and that one producer knows exactly how to shift the mood and tone and it’s better than an album handled by various producers cuz then it’ll sound like a bunch of songs just randomly put together a good example is Mobb Deep’s Infamous havoc’s production was on point and p knew exactly what to spit but an album I would love to see done is LES and Nas

  • Chris S

    the best ever is probably Common & Kanye.

    even though this doesn’t really count cuz they’re a group, Atmosphere is one of the best producer/rapper combos

  • Stan-Layy

    That Kool Keith and TOMC3 “Project Polaroid”= Beast.

    That Prince Po and TOMC3 “Saga of the Simian Samurai”= Beast

    I don’t know why it takes me a couple years to get on Good Music sometimes

  • ff1one@yahoo.com

    i think it depends on the producer. i don’t like a total timbo or neptune produced album cause they all sound the same.

    Kayne can do it.

    its a good thing to blend them with other people because we have different sounds and emotions and certain producers have a certain lane.

    idk abt the cool and dre str8 thru cause there beats sound some kinda way.

    • SmokinAces

      You don’t like Lord Willin’ or Hell Hath No Fury or In Search Of? Or Kelis’s first album? All albums produced fully by Neptunes that were banging. And, I know this is a hip hop site, but Timbo did do Future Sex Love Sounds which was crazy. As well as Ginuwine The Bachelor and Supa Dupa Fly. Maybe you need to listen to whole albums produced by them because they got joints, trust.

  • Crackee

    Gangstarr Moment of Truth is prolly my fave album of all time. my vote goes to Premo and Guru.

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  • Slick

    Didnt Styles just do the Green Ghost Project with mostly Green Lantern Beats though??? He did have a couple other producers like Alchemist on there, but it was most Green Lantern beats.

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  • http://j-mace.deviantart.com Shawty J

    Using just one producer can get monotonous, but I’d prefer that format to one producer per track.

    If I were a rapper I’d prefer to use one main producer to produce the bulk of the album, but I’d still have a few other producers here and there.

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  • http://www.xxlmag.com PhreshOxford

    Didn’t have time to read all the comments so I don’t know if this collabo was stated, but Common Sense and No I.D. for the Resurrection album is fukkin CRAZY…

  • 91&^UP

    look no further than Below The Heavens by Blu & Exile

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  • Killa

    In todays music industry, the idea of a classic album is the stuff of folklore. Albums don’t sell, plain and simple, take it from someone who’s worked in the industry for a few years. Whatever it is; shorter attention spans, file sharing or youtube, a hot single can make an artist and in the fast paced world we live in, everyone wants to make that quick buck. For that reason, it makes sense that rappers (or labels) would want to work with as many different big names as possible in order to produce as many singles as possible. If one were to use just one producer there would be continuity, but also the issue of a common theme throughout the trax which takes away from the hit potential of individual trax. That being said personally I miss albums and hope they somehow make a comeback. Big ups to Game for having some balls and doing stuff differently.

  • swype-matic

    I think it really depends on the artists’ themselves. But there is a major difference in having one producer produce a full album vs a variety of producers. Nice shout out to all the old Cash Money stuff, which I call the Real Cash Money, with Fresh behind the boards. There’s nothin’ that can replace that sound from that era. Prodigy’s HNIC is still in my rotation, Eminem Show had a nice mesh of Dre & Em beats before they went kinda pop, of course Dre’s ’2001′ album was nice. A lot of Little Brother stuff is nice too, as there are a variety of producers (9th, Illmid, Khrysis, etc), but they all fit the same soundscape.

  • http://www.soundclick.com/showtimeny ShowTimeNY

    Im an artist who has made 7 projects so Ill give an artist Insight. (good post by the way)

    The main point was that or main reason that you stated is that it can give the whole album a cohesive Feel.

    Heres the problem and probably eludes to Styles P answer.

    It all depends on the producer and their versatility in their sound because most artist have different moods and vibes they want to express.

    Also, Some producer make great beats but they all sound the same.. Hours upon Hours of listenin to producers on Soundclick has proven this to me. And I deduce its no different in the Majors.

    Now, You can achieve that cohesive feeling with different producers by doing two things having great sequencing skill and a good ear.
    Think of it like being a Good DJ mixing at a party.

    Illmattic is a good example of this.
    It had Pete Rock, Large Professor, Q-Tip, and Peter rock and the Tracklisting was 10 trks deep!!

    Infact my latest mixtape is 21 trks deep and it is pretty cohesive.

    • ShowTimeNY

      I will also add if your an MC that switches their flow from track to track 9/10 your gonna use diff producers because the beat gives you flow and I notice that producers not only make a lot of simular beats but the groove/rythem of the beat is simular.

      Down to the tempo and drum pattern.. It makes it boring for the artist.. How many times are you gonna rid the same groove..

      You wanna be like hmmm how am I gonna ride this shit..

  • solidpine

    Some classics

    MF Doom & Madlib – Madvillain
    Clipse & Neptunes – Hell Hath No Fury
    Common & J Dilla – Like Water For Chocolate (minus 1 Premier Beat)
    Snoop Dogg & Dr Dre – Doggystyle

    Still hoping for Royce and Premier to do a full ablum, but that ain’t happening!

  • Depends

    It depends on the collaboration. A producer has to be able to sound different on different tracks.

    Be (Common and West minus two or so tracks) had similar styled tracks, but they were different enough to just pull it off.
    Exile’s collabs with Blu and Fashawn are the same case. Similar styled tracks, but the beats were different enough.
    It works the other way though. Illmatic had a bunch of different producers, but still maintained a greatness as a complete work.

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