Genius Behind the Mic: 7 Unsung Producers You Should Know

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FILE - In this Aug. 28, 2016, file photo, Drake, left, presents the Michael Jackson Video Vanguard Award to Rihanna at the MTV Video Music Awards at Madison Square Garden in New York. Rihanna thanked Drake on Instagram Friday, Sept. 2, 2016, for his presentation, calling the rapper's speech "touching." (Photo by Charles Sykes/Invision/AP, File)
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One of Hip Hop’s oldest arguments is what is more important to a song: the beat or the rhyme? And while this argument will never die, one cannot deny the value of an MC’s ear for the perfect beat. Check out these low-key producer greats whose artistry is responsible for some of your favorite songs and albums:

1. Bandplay

Krishon “Bandplay” Gaines unique sound caught the ear of fellow Tennessee native Key Glock, who introduced him (Bandplay) to his cousin Young Dolph. The cousins loved the producer’s big band sound so much that 20 of the 22 songs on their Dum & Dummer album was produced by Bandplay.

Notable works:

French Montana – Water

Kizaru – Ballin

50 Cent – N**** N****

Megan THEE Stallion – Ungrateful

Kodak Black – Vulnerable

2. WondaGurl

The world may have come to know WondaGurl’s work after she worked with Drake, but she’s been producing since the age of nine. From an up-and-coming Travis Scott to a living legend like Jay Z, her work has always had range and distance.

Notable works:

Jay-Z – Crown

Drake – Fair Trade

Lil Uzi Vert – Feelings Mutual

Rihanna – B*** Betta Have My Money

Travis Scott – 90210

3. HitKidd

There’s no question that HitKidd ruled the summer of 2022 by producing the hypnotic beat for fellow Memphis native Glorilla’s F.N.F. (not sure why he didn’t get paid tho), but with credits since age 14, HitKidd is a young veteran who’s just getting started.

Notable works:

Megan Thee Stallion – NDA

GloRilla – F.N.F. -remix

A$AP Rocky ft. Taylor Swift – WETTY

Baby Tate – Slut Him Out

Bladee – Wrist Cry

4. Sevn Thomas

A well-rounded producer, songwriter, and singer, Thomas has made his rounds producing hit records for Drake, Kelly Rowland, Lil Wayne, and others.

Notable works:

Drake – 10 Bands

Kanye West – Real Friends

Rihanna – Work

The Carters – FRIENDS

Lil Wayne – Let it Fly

5. Trakgirl

A Hampton University graduate, Shakari “Trakgirl” Boles was mentored by legendary producer No I.D. Her production credits are diverse, working with artists such as Jhene Aiko, Belly, and Luke James while promoting her 7% Series that pushes for the inclusion of women in the music business.

Notable works:

Vic Mensa – Rebirth

Belly – Maintain

Luke James – Pearls

Jhene Aiko – Overstimulated

DAWN ft. Brooke Candy – Slim Thicc

6. Harmony Samuels

A lowkey veteran, Harmony Samuels’s production credits date back to 2005; he is also a songwriter and multi-instrumentalist.

Notable works:

Ciara – I Bet

Freddie Gibbs ft. MoneyBagg Yo – Too Much

Chris Brown – Mirage

Rick Ross – Summer Reign

Teyana Taylor – Put Your Love On

7. Sounwave

As part of the Top Dawg in-house production team, Sounwave worked on critically acclaimed records, from Kendrick Lamar’s DAMN to the commercially successful The Lion King: The Gift by Beyonce.

Notable works

Kendrick Lamar – Poetic Justice

Jay Rock ft. Future – King’s Dead

Schoolboy Q – That Part

Taylor Swift – London Boy

Baby Keem – Honest

Click HERE for the Genius Behind the Mic playlist.

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