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9 Producers To Watch In 2018

March 17, 2018

Read the full list on Complex.com!

It all starts with the beat. Rappers are becoming stars more quickly than ever, and which producer they choose to work with is probably the most important decision they will make. Obviously, there are producers whose presence on a track will automatically make you sit up and take a listen. But even more interesting and vital are the beatmakers who are next up. These producers aren’t household names yet, but each one has shown the ability to jumpstart an artist’s whole career. You should be paying attention.

Working On Dying

The Working On Dying production collective—which consists of F1lthy, Oogie Mane, Forza, Brandon Finessin and The Loosie Man—has brought eyes to a criminally underrated rap scene developing in Philadelphia. The group has spent the last couple of years working on their sound, helping to cultivate underground waves with artists such as Black Kray, Tracy, and Five Finger Posse. In 2017, their profiles significantly grew through their association with pre-teen rapper Matt Ox, as his viral hit “Overwhelming” was produced by Oogie Mane. They carried that momentum into entirely producing the recent Bladee mixtape. Their 2018 looks even more promising: Lil Uzi Vert snippets produced by the crew are currently floating around. —Alphonse Pierre

Tay Keith

Tay Keith’s beats, paired with Blocboy JB’s energy, have taken Memphis by storm. With the recent Drake feature and Top 10 debut on the Billboard charts for “Look Alive,” Tay Keith’s massive year is now inevitable. If you’re looking for further proof, just check out some of his lesser-known collaborations with Blocboy, such as “Rover” and “Shoot”—productions that show his skills lie in crafting beats that are both catchy and hit hard. It’s only a matter of time before the industry’s biggest names come knocking at Tay Keith’s door. —Alphonse Pierre

Romil Hemnani

Last year, Brockhampton had the kind of success that makes you can’t wait to see what’s next. The “boyband,” helmed by Kevin Abstract, counts three producers among its ranks, but Romil is the highest profile and, at least according to the fan forums where the group was formed, the most influential. With a trilogy of well-received albums in a single year under their belt, all eyes are on what the collective does next. Romil is going to be the one deciding what that sounds like. —Brendan Klinkenberg

Ness

The Rochester, New York producer Ness hasn’t received the credit he deserves. He produced the standout track on A Boogie Wit Da Hoodie’s debut album—the bright “Say A,” the most joyous beat of last year—provided the beat for Drake’s controversial “KMT,” and even stole the show on Kodak Black’s Painting Pictures with “Patty Cake.” This should be enough to have his name mentioned with rap’s other high profile producers, which hasn’t happened yet. That makes the Highbridge-signed artist an easy bet in 2018. —Alphonse Pierre

Zach Sekoff

For his first album, the near-classic Summertime ’06, Vince Staples tapped the veteran No I.D. to helm the production side of things. For his second, he tapped a relatively unknown producer named Zach Sekoff. Sekoff—stepping into the shoes of one of the most decorated and reliable producers of all time—pulled off his role on Big Fish Theory with confidence. Staples typically picks beats that sound like they shouldn’t be rapped over, and the U.K. garage-indebted sounds they used for his latest album fit the bill: Sekoff provided backdrops that were paranoid, aggressive, mournful, and beautiful. —Brendan Klinkenberg

ThankGod4Cody

At 26 years old, Cody Jordan Fayne is already celebrating a Grammy nomination for his work on SZA’s CTRL. He was introduced to the singer by her labelmate Isaiah Rashad, and the partnership immediately led to some of SZA’s biggest hits to date. ThankGod4Cody has production credits on four of the breakout record’s songs, including “The Weekend” and “Love Galore,” and has in one sweeping motion gone from relative obscurity to a producer to watch closely. —Shirley Ju

Ronny J

Twenty-five makes you an elder statesman in the anything-goes landscape of Florida rap today, and Ronny J is a shaping force in the rapidly mutating SoundCloud rap scene that counts Miami (and South Florida in general) as its epicenter. Ronny provides disorienting, disintegrating assaults to rappers like Lil Pump, XXXTentacion, Ski Mask The Slump God, and Smokepurpp, providing something close to a definition for what this generation of teenagers are listening to right now. —Brendan Klinkenberg

Menoh Beats

Lil Skies is on the rise. The Pennsylvania rapper has hit a vein with a pop-leaning take what the teens are listening to, and is currently riding a tidal wave of support. That wouldn’t have been possible without Menoh Beats. “Red Roses” and “Lust” are racking up millions of plays across all streaming platforms, and Menoh handled a significant portion of Skies’ latest mixtape Life of a Dark Rose, providing the accessible, complex backdrop that allows Skies to execute his vision. —Shirley Ju

CashMoneyAp

CashMoneyAp is the king of YouTube. In the last couple of years, the market for “type beats” on YouTube and SoundCloud has exploded, hitting a new gear as it becomes a viable way for producers to both get looks and make money. A lot of the credit goes to CashMoneyAp, who proved that giving the market what it asks for could be an avenue to succes. CashMoneyAp’s credit list is now stacked—he’s produced for artists like YoungBoy Never Broke Again, Lil Skies, Ski Mask The Slump God, and Chief Keef. The special part is that each beat sounds radically different. For CashMoneyAp, things can only get better from here. —Alphonse Pierre

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