Early this evening, I tweeted famed hip-hop producer Just Blaze, above, with a simple question:
For the record, here’s the list, from the magazine, about which I was speaking:
10. Scott Storch
9. Wyclef Jean
8. The RZA
7. Swizz Beatz
6. Jermaine Dupri
5. The Neptunes
3. Kanye West
2. Sean “Puffy” Combs
1. Dr. Dre
Now, though I know or have met almost all 10 of these, the talented names on XXL magazine’s list of knob-twiddlers, I don’t know Just Blaze. I do know of his reputation. However, I haven’t met him, and didn’t even really expect him to reply.
So, I was a bit suprised when, fewer than ten minutes later, I got this tweet:
Help me out, here: Is Just Blaze pissed? In other words, by the fact that he’s not on the list?
And should he be on it?
Like I said, I don’t know him, so I can’t say if he’s pissed. Maybe he’s just resigned. You know: Kinda, “Ah, well. Maybe next year.”
Or maybe not. I mean, musicians play cool about it, typically, but they tend to be very conscious, aware, and even covetous of industry status, some even legendarily so. (Kanye West, right—who I also don’t know and haven’t met—springs to mind, here, like a pubescent gazelle.)
Furthermore, this void can’t come at a good time for Blaze, with the Twittersphere quasi-trending about the complete absence, on Jay-Z’s upcoming The Blueprint III, of a single track produced by him. Note this comment by XXL Superproducer #7:
The XXL list was compiled by Matt Barone, Carl Chery, Jesse Gissen, Clover Hope, John Kennedy and Rob Markman.
The criteria was simple, and each of these gentleman needed to meet the majority of the proceeding demands—The producer must be a star himself, must have a long string of hit records, must have crossed the boundaries of either region or genre, must have had a substantial and tangible impact and must be consistently sought after.
As the 135 comment responses below the piece indicate, this discussion draws strong feelings. But as those voices also prove, hip-hop is too important to be left to hip-hop magazines.
So, what do you think? Given the criteria, should Just Blaze be on this list? If so, why? If not, why not?
Given XXL’s stated standards, above, are there producers ranked in this top 10 that should not be? Should someone be taken off the list, as Just Blaze replaces him? Or, should there be different ways of measuring excellence in the area of producing for hip-hop and, if so, what are they, and why? Explain your responses. Let’s keep it bumpin’.