Don’t tell will.i.am that he’s one of the 64 names vying for hip hop supremacy in VIBE’s Best Producer of All-Time competition. “I’m honored to even be mentioned,” the unpredictable music visionary and front man of the multi-platinum pop act the Black Eyed Peas told VIBE. “But I would choose Teddy Riley. Teddy is a producer who can also do hip hop. You talking about a person who produced Guy and did Doug E. Fresh’s “The Show.” Hello? Teddy Riley did “The Show!!!” If there wasn’t a Teddy Riley there would be no Timbaland, no Neptunes and or me.
While some fans have balked at will’s rather low seeding (the #16 seed goes against #1 The Neptunes in the Mass Appeal category), it should be noted that his domination in the pop world from his work with such standouts as Fergie, Chris Brown, Rihanna and the late larger-than-life icon Michael Jackson was a major factor. Still, when you are banging out hip hop gems for the likes of Nas (“Can’t Forget About You”), Common (“I Want You”), and Game (“Compton”), such a strong diverse skill set cannot be ignored.
“That’s who I patterned myself after because Teddy is not just a hip hop producer,” will.i.am explained of his production style. “That’s how I try to approach music. I make beats, produce and do things without samples and at times I flip samples.”
As for other talents will.i.am is keeping an eye on in our hip hop producers tournament? “You look at somebody like a Herbie Luv Bug. A lot of people forget about him,” he said of the Salt & Pepa, Kid & Play, and Dana Dane producer. “That nigga was dope. And I love what J Dilla was able to do. He could make a beat without drum machines.”—Keith Murphy