Top 7 Producers Like Kanye West

No matter what you think of his ego, we can all agree that Kanye West is one of the greatest hip-hop producers of all time. One of his best qualities is his ability to reinvent his style and find new forms of expression. Although Ye's production style of production has evolved from album to album, he's most famous for changing the game with soul samples. If you like that aspect of his aesthetics, then you're going to like the producers on this list.

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J Dilla

J. Dilla

Rakim influenced Nas (lyrically that is), just as J Dilla influenced Kanye West. Before he died from lupus-related complications on February 10, 2006, Dilla was well known as the man who pioneered the soul-hip-hop fusion that Kanye West and others later adopted. In the tradition of Pete Rock, Dilla tweaked, turned and transformed soul, funk, and blues samples into a realm that few producers could visualize.

Choice Cut: The Pharcyde - "Runnin'"

Essential Album: Donuts

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J. Cole

J. Cole
J. Cole. © Roc Nation/Sony

 J. Cole will be the first to admit that he gets his soulful style of production from Mr. West. You can see Ye's fingerprints all over the atmospheric sound of and .

Choice Cut: "Hi-Power" (Kendrick Lamar)

Choice Album: Born Sinner

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When Oddisee joined Halftooth Records as a producer/MC, one of his first tasks was to breathe some soul into labelmate Wordsworth's already poignant album, Mirror Music. Oddisee's version of the album yielded a superb ten-track CD, forcing Halftooth to re-package Mirror Music as a 2-disc album. Production-wise, he's probably the closest to Kanye West on this list.

Choice Cut: Wordsworth - "Gotta Pay"

Choice Album: The Good Fight

of 07


Nicolay and Kay. © Nicolay Music

Hip-hop has always been universal, transcending time and space with minimal restraints by the day, and Dutch producer Nicolay is a testament to this. Mainly recognized for his internet-stanchioned collaboration with Phonte (of Little Brother), Connected, Nic often employs plush piano loops and booming basslines to create melodious soundtracks.

Choice Cut: Foreign Exchange - "Sincere"

Choice Album: Connected

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Producer/DJ RjD2 is one of the most effective at amalgamating soul, funk, and rock 'n' roll into one sound template. The Ohio native raised eyebrows with his stellar debut, 2002's Deadringer, before following it up with the solid Since We Last Spoke two years later. The alt-rap beat maestro recently teamed up with his Soul Position partner, emcee Blueprint, for their sophomore LP, Things Go Better With Rj and Al.

Choice Cut: RjD2 - "Smoke & Mirrors"

Choice Album: Deadringer

of 07

9th Wonder

Even if you've never heard of Little Brother producer 9th Wonder, you've probably heard his boardwork on Destiny Child's "Girl" and Jay-Z's "Threat." 9th has a signature sample-infested and bass-laden production style that has garnered him collaborations with the likes of Pete Rock, M.O.P., Buckshot, Murs, Memphis Bleek, and even Kanye West.

Choice Cut: "Still Lives Through"

Choice Album: The Minstrel Show

of 07

MF Doom


Metal Fingers Doom is another soul-jacking predecessor of Kanye West's. His beat-making style ranges from dark and nostalgic to stouthearted and gritty. Like Kanye, Doom works the mic as effectively as the boards, but his lyrics may come appear esoteric to new fans. Doom, hip-hop's favorite multiple personality disorder patient, has also dropped gems as Zev Luv X, King Geedorah, Viktor Vaughn, and DangerDoom.

Choice Cut: MF Doom - "Deep Fried Frenz"

Essential Album: Mm...Food