The casual connoisseur would argue that Dr. Dre , Pharrell, Timbaland, and Swizz Beatz are the Mount Rushmore of the culture. DJ Premier, Kanye West, Mannie Fresh, 9th Wonder, and the late, great J.Dilla would be Top 5—dead or alive—amongst purists. And any backpack-wearing, Timbs-in-the-summertime, underground lover will always remain loyal to the Alchemist, Bomb Squad, and Heatmakerz of the world. But even for the whole Lucky Charms pot of gold, the average Hip Hop music fan could not name at least three female producers. Besides Missy Elliot, any music lady genius behind the keyboard has a slim chance of even a mention in any of those categories. So to help change the narrative, let’s shine a light on Hip Hop female producers who are creating their own space in this Hip Hop boy’s club.
From Brampton, Ontario, Canada, Ebony “WondaGurl” Oshunrinde’s earliest genius can be traced back to age 9. She (WondaGurl) worked with Travis Scott early in her career until her biggest shots came when she produced songs for Drake (who she DM’ed her beat on Instagram) and Jay-Z (who was sent her beat from Travis Scott).
Southern VA resident and Hampton University grad, Shakari “Trakgirl” Boles credits being raised in a musical family for her industry success. Solo rounds perfecting production skills in the industry soon presented her with the opportunity to meet, and later be mentored by, legendary producer No I.D. Trakgirl is also advocates for women who share her same dream by promoting her 7% Series that pushes for inclusion in the music business.
Along with being the gift behind the melody, Gaines is also a songwriter and artist who grew up in the same Harlem neighborhood as ASAP Ferg. Knowing of her talent since childhood, ASAP Ferg asked for an assist from Gaines to produce a track off his debut album Trap Lord.
That’s not all. Here are a few more ladies on the production side to keep an eye out for: TOKiMONSTA, who has worked with EARTHGANG, Anderson. Paak, and Isaiah Rashad; DOT, who has collaborated with SZA; and fellow producer/artist GRIMES, signed to Roc Nation—aka House of Hov .
Although this small number of women is barely enough to make a dent in the male-dominated wall of beatmakers, it is an optimistic start to ensure the next decade of musical milestones has more of a lady’s touch.