Here we go once again with another monthly mix of local hip-hop producers worth checking out. This is not a best-of list, rather a collection of artists loosely organized by a like-minded approach to crafting sounds. Each artist represented here has a unique handle on laid-back production. Though no one here is mired down by that one style, the tracks selected were all standouts from the producer's discography that happened to come together in a profoundly chilled-out mix. Enjoy!
A producer for Cherry Sky Studios, Diatonic first came to my attention with his collaborative efforts with rap group Escape Artists, as well as his series of albums with O-lay. With a knack for facilitating O-lay's Pimp C-meets-Andre 3000 flow with jazz and soul samples, his progression towards the self-applied genre of "soul-trap" is innovative but still reflective of his past work. Diatonic is the type of producer to spend a lot of his time in the studio improving the craft, and you can hear it in the range of projects with his name attached.
Beyond handling production for some of the We Flo Entertainment and Rush City Lions artists, producer Brand Nu also produced all the beats for his own solo mixtape, Mind Of A Madman, on DatPiff. The smooth and subdued vibe on this beat is indicative of Brand Nu's aesthetic which pulls from traditional boom-bap but keeps an eye on progression.
Slamborghini's dark and downtempo beats pulls from a number of sources of inspiration to create a holistic take on electronic hip-hop. His latest instrumental album In The Shade Of Night carries shades of trap rhythms alongside the ambience of chill electronica. An impressive introductory effort, there's a lot to look forward to from Slamborghini.
Franz Diego's 2012 album Sense Of Self was a strong aesthetic statement that challenged what a Minneapolis rap record is expected to sound like, and it was largely thanks to the forward-thinking production handled by North Minneapolis beatmaker J-Hard. His sound pulls from a number of influences, equally smooth and booming without getting stuck in any one style. J-Hard is also a rapper in his own right and has hinted at some new material dropping in 2014.
With a left-field approach to bass-heavy chill beats, Prime Cut has been steadily releasing an impressive array of music to the world over the past few years. A smattering of Soundcloud one-offs and remixes reveal a unique approach to beat production, and his official LP Raspberry from 2011 is a listen that you'll be likely to return to often.
Rez Rap Records' resident producer Garlic Brown has a daunting amount of music to his name as the label's sole producer and engineer, and he commands a variety of styles that provide the roster out of Red Lake Reservation Ojibwa Tribe with a formidable collection of music. "Get Ya Mind Right" is taken from the last year's excellent collaboration with rapper Baby Shel for Impeccable Intellectual Rez Electric Music, which manages to explore a range of beat types while maintaining a consistent vibe for the lyrics to sink into.
Prophis walks the line between hip-hop and electronic production, creating spacey psychedelia that still maintains rap's bump. Tackling beats for The Chalice (both "Push It" and "Double Dutch" from 2012's We Are The Chalice EP) raised his profile on the local radar, but his recent instrumental EP Subcool is sure to solidify his name as one that deserves attention.
Audio Perm affiliate Yakub's claim to fame is producing Ghostface Killah's lead single "2getha Baby" from his 2010 record Apollo Kids, and the dusty sample-based banger fit with Ghost's street-soul aesthetic perfectly. Yakub has also produced for himself as a rapper, and has released instrumental albums that reflect the full breadth of his stripped-down crate-digging style. His new project, #KidsEatFirst, is coming soon.
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