Essential Hip-Hop Producers to Look Out for in 2021
In 2020, the world may have stopped due to the coronavirus, but the music didn’t. Yes, things slowed down entirely too much, especially for those who rely on the art of hip-hop like oxygen. But there were still plenty of worthwhile songs and projects to throw into rotation, with beats crafted by dozens of talented producers. Now that we’re back at the top of a new year, there’s a solid armful of beat architects that have recently gone on impressive runs. And they’re certainly looking to keep that momentum going in their direction in 2021.
Production duo Take a Daytrip did their thing last year. The standout pairing lended helping hands on the production for Travis Scott and Kid Cudi’s Billboard Hot 100 No.1 track “The Scotts,” Big Sean’s Detroit 2 cut “Wolves” with Post Malone and Juice Wrld’s “Bad Energy,” housed on Juice’s first posthumous album, Legends Never Die. To cap things off, they earned multiple production credits on Kid Cudi’s Man on the Moon III: The Chosen, most notably on “Tequila Shots.” Why would they slow down now?
Quay Global had similar success in 2020. He was one of the go-to guys drafted to build the sound of Lil Baby’s My Turn, which was the best-selling album of last year. With production on tracks like “Emotionally Scarred,” “Sum 2 Prove” and the Gunna-assisted “Heatin Up,” it’s safe to say that Quay was in his bag. He’ll only step deeper this year.
Remember the name Jay Versace, the comedic wunderkind known for hilarious Vines and laugh-inducing viral memes? He gets busy on the boards now. Last year, he was recruited to add some production value to the Griselda clique. Months after producing on Westside Gunn’s Pray for Paris album with the song “Versace,” the internet sensation produced the entirety of Boldy James’ The Versace Tape. With the quality of the beats on that effort, you can mark that moment down as the beginning of what will likely turn out to be a long and flavorful run in hip-hop.
After looking back through everything that dropped last year, from under-the-radar music to the most celebrated, XXL narrowed down 18 producers to you should look out for in 2021. Check them out below and expect to hear their tags all over rap this year.