3. The Neptunes

With apologies to Jay-Z’s new-age Big Apple anthem (too regional), the ‘Tunes manned the boards behind the Brooklyn boy’s most beloved cut, “I Just Wanna Love U (Give It 2 Me).” Bad broads, mean-mugging thugs and multi-colored drinks spill onto the dance floor whenever this track comes on. Over Chad Hugo and Pharrell Williams’ spry synths, snare kicks and tingly chords, Hov speaks gospel to the Virgina Beach duo’s work: “Get you bling like the Neptunes’ sound.” Although it was a sound that was ubiquitous--from Britney Spears to Busta Rhymes--it was never recycled for the Jigga Man. “Excuse Me Miss,” with its slow, sweeping progressions sounds nothing like the b-boy meets d-boy composition that’s “Blue Magic.” The curtain behind Pharrell and Jay’s chemistry was pulled back in “Fade To Black,” where an excited P tells the MC he has a beat that’ll be his own “Carlito’s Way.” All Shawn Corey Carter did after that was spin a theatrical tale that detailed the consequences every Charli Baltimore faces when dealing with a dealer for a boyfriend and the thrill he himself had of riding in former friend Klein’s green 5. The song was Scorsese-esque. That’s also an apt way to describe their collaborations, reflecting the famed director’s work: classical, innovative and timeless.

Released Tracks: 11
Album Appearances (1pt): 6 = 6pts
Officially Released Singles (2pts): 5 = 10pts
Grammy Nominations (3pts): 1 = 3pts
Top 40 Singles on Billboard Hot 100 (4pts): 3 = 12pts
Signature Track (s) (5pts): “I Just Wanna Love U (Give It 2 Me),” “Excuse Me Miss,” “Change Clothes," 3 = 15pts
Total: 46pts

Check in later as XXL reveals Jay-Z’s third best go-to producer.