Nathan S. 's avatar

Who’s the Best Rapper/Producer of All-Time?

Posted by Nathan S. on 09/25/13 | Filed under Debates, RH Nation Answers

It's Wednesday, and you know what that means, time to jump through a flaming hula hoop dressed like a mascot for another "Question of the Week". For this week's question I was a little stumped, so I reached out to RefinedHype Nation via ye olde Twitter, and y'all came through. Or to me more specific, @A2ZAlecZisi sparked a "Who's the Greatest Rapper/Producer of All-Time?" debate in my head. So let's do it.

As always, first let's set some parameters. Anyone who's ever rapper and produced on the same track is technically eligible, although obviously both quantity and quality count. For example, Eminem's rapped over his own beats, but he doesn't do it that often, and while he's produced a lot more than you might realize for others, his production contributions tend to be more of the "co-production" kind.

In terms of quality, we're considering both rapping and production quality equally. To continue to use Em as an example, on a rap score he gets a 10/10, but on a production score he gets a...I'm realizing as I type this that he's probably an underrated producer because people focus so much on his rapping....but still, his production's not really top shelf. If he never rapped, would he have made it as a producer? (Great test for this question, by the way.) Maybe, but not a particularly big one, so his production score is more like...5/10. Giving him a combined rapper/producer score of 15.

On the flipside, Dr. Dre's production score is 10/10, but his rap score? Would he have made it as a rapper if he didn't produce? Probably not, I'd give him a 3/10, so his combined score is 13, making Eminem the better combined rapper/producer.

The last five years have been a golden age for rappers/producers, of course the first names that come to mind are J. Cole and Big K.R.I.T. Both have large quantity scored considering they often produce all, or almost all, of their own projects. And both have really high combined scores, they're both top shelf rappers and producers. Who would I rank higher? Hmmmm....I'd give it to K.R.I.T. by a slim margin considering I think he's an absolutely incredible producer and a hell of a rapper, but Cole really closed the gap with his improved production on "Born Sinner". (And I know a lot of Cole fans are going to lose their shit on me for going with K.R.I.T..)

But if we're talking about all of hip-hop history, where do Cole and K.R.I.T. rank? Are they above Eminem and Dr. Dre? Excellent questions that I'm trying to work through as I type this - that's the point of these questions of the week, to figure out this shit. But before I let y'all have at it in the comments below, I have to make a case for another name in the rapper/producer conversation: Outkast.

That's right, a lot of people don't realize it, but the "Greatest Rap Duo of All-Time" (aka Andre 3000 and Big Boi) also produced a lot of their own shit, including some serious classics. "Rosa Parks", "SpottieOttieDopaliscious" and ""Chonkyfire"? All produced by Kast. "Ghetto Musick", "The Way You Move" and "Tomb of the Boom"? All produced by Kast, and that's just their better known songs.

Now, I don't think they've produced enough of their own shit, or other artist's shit, to earn the top spot, and it's hard to know whether we should include the as a group or try to separate them out as individual artists, but their combined score has to at least place them in the conversation. Speaking of which, I'll shut the fuck up and let RefinedHype Nation get to it. So how about it my people, who you got as the Best Rapper/Producer of All-Time?

UPDATE: Holy shit, I forgot about Kanye. How could I forget about Kanye? That's like naming your favorite planet and forgetting the Earth. 

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