Best Hip-Hop Producers of 2020
In 2020, hip-hop has no signature sound. Back in the day, the genre could perhaps be identified by distinct drum patterns and melodies that were made in a certain year, but now, anything goes. We live in a time where some of the most bold, talented producers in the game are creating beats with limitless potential. Over the last 12 months, hip-hop producers proved just how lucrative the pool of talent is as the beats they’ve crafted have been certified as streaming hits and chart-topping successes.
For some producers, full projects were the way to solidify their stamp on 2020. Hit-Boy, a Grammy Award-winning audio architect, executive produced albums for Nas (King’s Disease), Big Sean (Detroit 2) and Benny The Butcher (Burden of Proof) this year. On these offerings, he effortlessly ricocheted between different chord progressions, sample packs and drum kits to create revered collections.
The same goes for the trap savant Metro Boomin, who challenged himself to keep his sound fresh this year. Housed on the long-anticipated Savage Mode 2 album with 21 Savage are Metro’s beats like “Runnin,” which will make you want to catch a body, and “Steppin On Niggas,” a soundscape to inspire anyone to grab some cardboard and start breakdancing.
Not every producer needs an entire LP to flex their artful muscle though. For chart-topping producers like Ayo and Keyz (Cardi B and Megan Thee Stallion’s “WAP”); KBeaZy, Omer Fedi and Blake Slatkin (24kGoldn and Iann Dior‘s “Mood”); and SethInTheKitchen (DaBaby and Roddy Ricch‘s “Rockstar”), their firepower came in the form of singles that went No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100. All of these multiplatinum-selling songs did monstrous streaming numbers too, with infinite replay value.
Coming off the success of 2019’s “Suge” and “Bop” with DaBaby, South Carolina’s own Jetsonmade kept his hands on the boards this year by co-producing the beats for Jack Harlow’s “Whats Poppin” (and the remix), Playboi Carti’s “@ Meh” and J. Cole’s “Lion King on Ice,” among others.
And before we jump into this entire list of producers, OG’s like The Alchemist have refused to fade away as well. He’s only getting stronger with time and projects like Freddie Gibbs’ Alfredo, which recently got a 2021 Grammy nom, is a testament to that amongst the other prolific beats he’s shocked life into.
There are plenty of names that are worthy enough to crack this top 50 list, and even more aux chord go-to songs that prove why they should be in this discussion. So today, XXL highlights 50 of the best beat curators in 2020. You can peep some of your favorites below.