GA’s Most Wanted – Rd. 2, Producers Bring the Noise
It isn’t just the rappers that make Georgia hot. Much of the state’s musical dominance is due to the producers who craft the sound. Thick syrupy bass lines, 808 drum knocks and deep, southern soul samples are what keeps GA artists at the top of the charts and hot in the streets. In day two of XXL’s weeklong GA’s Most Wanted series, we breakdown some of the Peach State’s most sought after hit-makers. —Rob Markman
The production trio consisting of Rico Wade, Ray Murray and Sleepy Brown made a name for themselves as the chief orchestrators behind the Atlanta’s Dungeon Family (OutKast, Goodie Mob, Cool Breeze, etc.). Outside of that, they’ve made hits for Bubba Sparxxx, Lil Jon and Ludacris. Now their credits on Big Boi’s funky solo debut Sir Lucious Left Foot: The Son of Chico Dusty prove that even after 16 years in the game, Organized still have the magic touch in and around the studio.
Xavier “Zaytoven” Dotson may hail from the Bay Area, but he has helped craft Atlanta’s distinct sound in recent years. After relocating to the A, Zay made a name for himself producing Gucci Mane and Young Jeezy’s 2005 hit “Icy.” In 2009, he had a breakout year, crafting singles for Gorilla Zoe (“What It Is” feat. Rick Ross), OJ Da Juiceman (“Make Tha Trap Say Aye”) and Usher (“Papers). Since then Zaytoven’s gotten in the lab with Plies, Young Jeezy and is said to be getting back in with Gucci for his upcoming album, The Appeal: Georgia’s Most Wanted.
POLOW DA DON
When it comes to mixing pop sounds with street sensibilities Polow Da Don is the best of both worlds. After getting his start with the rap group Jim Crow, Polow got deeper into production, landing tracks with Will Smith (“Party Starter”) and Ludacris (“Pimpin’ All Over the World”) in 2005. Sure, the CEO of Interscope’s Zone 4 music label has dabbled in the studio with the sugar-sounding Pussycat Dolls and New Kids on the Block, but his work with Rich Boy (“Throw Some D’s”) and 50 Cent (“Baby By Me”) has given the Don all the street cred he needs.
Anyone that’s still sleeping on Drumma Boy clearly hasn’t checked the man’s resume. The Memphis, Tennessee producer made his bones after moving to ATL by building a steady discography of hit records. With joints like Rocko’s “Umma Do Me,” Plies’ “Shawty,” Jeezy’s “Put On” and Birdman’s “Money to Blow” under his belt, it’s no wonder why Drumma is in such high demand. Most recently he laced the Jezzy with “Lose My Mind,” the lead single off of the Snowman’s highly-anticipated TM103. There is no telling who Drumma will work with next, but it’s a safe bet that it’ll be hot.
Shawty Redd got his start in 2000, producing Drama’s single “Left, Right, Left.” Although Drama’s career in music has since faded away, Redd continued to rise lacing mixtape tracks for Young Jeezy (“U Know What It Is”) and eventually big radio hits for Snoop Dogg (“Sexual Eruption”). Unfortunately, real life drama has Redd facing a murder rap for the shooting death of Damon A. Hall, but no matter the outcome the producer is sure to flood the streets with his signature southern sound. His latest look, Young Jeezy’s “All White Everything” is sure to be a summer mainstay and rock—well, at least until Labor Day.
Though this Des Moines, Iowa transplant is most know for his work on Lil Wayne’s “A Milli,” Bangladesh has been providing hits for the better part of this decade, starting with Ludacris’ debut single “What’s Your Fantasy.” He’s since collaborated with everyone from 8Ball & MJG and Petey Pablo to Beyonce (“Diva”) and Gucci Mane (“Lemonade”). While Bangladesh is indeed versatile, his frantic drum patterns and bouncy melodies are a part of his current appeal, that is until he decides to once again change the sound in the ATL.
Toomp got his start as a tour DJ for Miami rappers MC Shy-D and JT Money, but he got fame producing for T.I. After manning the beats on Tip’s 2001 street anthem “Dope Boyz,” Toomp went on to give the King of the South some of his biggest records, including “24’s,” “U Don’t Know Me,” and “What You Know.” In 2007, the talented beatsmith branched out and delivered three records for Kanye West, two off which were picked as singles off ’Ye’s Graduation (“Good Life” and “Can’t Tell Me Nothing”). Now, Toomp is back in the lab with T.I. and is expected to land a number of tracks on the upcoming King Uncaged.
Fatboi has a pretty bright future ahead of him. Although he had previously landed placements with Juvenile, Gorilla Zoe and Bow Wow, the Savannah, Georgia native didn’t get recognized for his production prowess until after crafting Gucci Mane’s 2009 party-starter “Wasted.” Since then, he’s hooked Gucci up with “Sex in Crazy Places,” “Bad, Bad, Bad” and “Atlanta Zoo,” featuring Ludacris. Fatboi may be a relative newcomer but he remains one to watch.
Granted, Don cannon may be Philadelphia born and raised, but since relocating down south, he’s helped re-shape the musical landscape in Atlanta. In 2005, he banged out Young Jeezy’s “Go Crazy,” featuring Jay-Z, and hasn’t looked back. With a sound as diverse as it is compelling, Cannon has delivered album cuts to 50 Cent (“Don’t Mess With 50,”) Asher Roth (“La Di Da”) and Ludacris (“Undisputed”). He’s not exactly flooding the market, but Cannon has supplied hip-hop’s best with some of their more memorable moments.
Some say rap is like wrestling, and if that’s the case than 19-year old Lexus “Lex Luger” Lewis is providing the soundtrack. He may just be getting started, but after providing Waka Flocka Flame with his fiery “Hard In Da Paint” and Rick Ross with his gangsta-fueled “B.M.F.” the Virginia transplant is well on his way. Look out for single placements with Diddy and Soulja Boy. It won’t be long until this youngster is holding the belt.