As VIBE's Greatest Producer Of All Time Tournament draws to a close, we're finally down to the Final Four. Creme de la creme, homie: Kanye West (Soul Sample) Vs. Dr. Dre (Homegrown) and The Neptunes (Mass Appeal) Vs. DJ Premier (Boom-Bap). Will the kids throw their hats in the ring for Yeezy, the (disputed) voice of our generation? Or will the Doc rise to the top? Will Premier get his just due? Or can Pharrell and company zoop-zoop their way to the final round? In this edition of Blogger's* Circle, VIBE rounds up several Web gurus to argue over who's hotter!
>CHUCK CREEKMUR (AllHipHop): Does it get any crazier than this? The Neptunes vs Preemo and Kanye vs Dr. Dre? Well, in boxing they say styles make fights and this one really depends on what sort of Hip-Hop the fans are going for these days. But, there is another status that is an X-factor that we haven’t discussed and that’s what are cats doing right now. Unfortunately, the current fan of Hip-Hop has a bit of a long-term memory loss. The Neptunes have hit after hit after hit, and I mean smash hits on a commercial level. Commercial means votes. However, DJ Premier is endeared by the hardcore fan of rap music since the 80’s. With the recent Guru controversy, he’s even more beloved by the fans. Also, the Neptunes’ hit factory has been churning out the smashes like that did in the early 2000’s. I think Preem is going to edge them out.
Kanye Vs Dre. This is a tough one. On one hand Dr. Dre is probably the single-best Hip-Hop producer ever. But, fans are starting to get really, really impatient with him now with Detox. Also, they are questioning his abilities as a pure producer. Kanye’s been a beast on every album he’s put out, maybe with the exception of 808 and Heartbreaks. At the end of the day, I think legacy favors Dre right now, even though momentum is with Kanye.
>LOWKEY (YouHeardThatNew): The Neptunes Vs. Premier: My god, that's like day and night right there. On one hand you have The Neptunes, whose records have pretty much crippled every radio station, nightclub and first singles since the early '90s. And you can't really say The Neptunes' involvement in the underground is anything parallel to what Preemo's done so how can you really judge either side. You have your personal favorites from both but you can never creatively compare either or. DRAW!
Kanye Vs. Dre: Let's get one thing clear- Dr. Dre is a vet. So the logical thing to do would announce Dre as the victor. But considering the HUGE impact Kanye's made on the culture as a producer in such a short period of time, the argument becomes debatable. Dre's track record shows no remorse to any of the aforementioned to be honest. But Yeezy's diverse attitude on the boards was almost as brash as his lyrical ability, which clearly was the driving force behind his career. If I had to choose, with a gun to my head, and please don't kill me for this...I'm going with Mr. West.
>JAY CASTEEL (BallerStatus): The "Greatest Producer of All-Time" is a really tough call, simply because there have been so many great, talented beatmakers over the years. Obviously, some have more celebrated résumés than others, but there's always the skill factor that can make a lesser-known producer shine just a little more than maybe his more famous peers.
Kanye versus Dre is a difficult call. While Dre has proven he's worthy of any producer accolade due to his history in music, 'Ye has shown that his ear for music is unparalleled. Since storming into hip-hop as a solo artist, his consistency as a producer and ability to make hits has really cemented him as one of the all-time best. However, Dre's longevity and long-history in pioneering specific hip-hop sub-genres, I'd say would put him a bit above Kanye in this match-up. So Dre is my choice to win. Not just this match-up, but overall as well.
DJ Premier versus the Neptunes. Wow, this one is difficult for me. DJ Premier's work as a member of Gang Starr puts him in a category next to Dre, as far as being a pioneer in hip-hop. But in recent years, his work has stayed below the radar. Outside of producing for Christina Aguilera, Premier has really stayed on that underground level. The Neptunes, on the other hand, continue to churn out beats for an A-list clientele. This match-up could go either way in my book. But, simply off of popularity level in today's hip-hop, the Neptunes probably have an edge here.
*We reserve the right to use the term "bloggers" loosely