Rick Rock is a realist. Even if he had defeated Prince Paul in the second round of VIBE’s Greatest Producer of All Time tournament last week, the Southern California producer wasn’t expecting to be crowned the best beatmaker in the business.
“When I got past Juicy J in the first round, I thought I could get past Prince Paul,” he told VIBE.com from his home studio in Sacramento, Calif. shortly after taking an L. “But I would have lost to Dr. Dre in the next round anyway. Even I would have voted for Dre! So I knew it was coming.”
Still, Rick is happy just to be recognized. Though he helped launch the hyphy craze in the mid-2000s by putting in work with E-40, The Federation and other Cali artists, he’s also contributed tracks to Jay-Z (“Change The Game”), Fabolous (“Can’t Deny It”), Mase (“Breathe, Stretch, Shake”) and G-Unit (“Rider, Pt. 2”) in the past. But he doesn’t feel he always gets the credit he deserves for the work he’s done outside of the West Coast.
“I super-duper believe that people just don’t realize how much stuff that I’ve done,” he says. “That’s my Achilles. I’ve never really matched my music with one person so that people could put it together and be like, ‘Oh, he might have a little talent.'”
It’s one reason he was surprised to hear that he was mentioned in the same breath as some of the other producers in the tournament. “The last thing I expected was to see my name in a producer’s tournament at 6 o’clock in the morning one day,” he says. “I found out on Twitter and I was shocked. To tell you the truth, I didn’t even expect to beat Juicy J in the first round.”
And, as for his prediction for the Greatest Producer of All Time? “I’m gonna say Timbaland,” he says. “Or Dre. I predict Timbaland or Dre. But it’ll be fun to watch. And I’m glad I was a part of it. It was fun while it lasted.”—Chris Yuscavage