BRIAN “B.DOT” MILLER (RapRadar): My heart wants to say Kanye West, but i’d have to get my head examined for not checking in with the Doc. Andre Young, by a nose. This is a tough one. As much as I adore Premier’s production, I’ve been blinged by the Neptune sound one too many times. I’ma roll with Pharrell & company. Once the smoke has settled, I think Dre will emerge as the final victor. I just hope he has Detox is his pocket if he does.
MICHAEL “ICE-BLUE” HARRIS (HipHopWired): Dre Vs. Kanye: For producers who also rhyme, hands down Kanye. One, Kanye writes most of his own rhymes and two, Dre has been riding the backs off a lot of ghost producers for years. Kanye has also had more success outside of Hip-Hop as well. Personally, I believe Timbaland ranks above both but Dre being the best producer in the game has just been the politically correct thing to say for far too long.
Neptunes Vs. DJ Premier: From a Hip-Hop perspective, it’s Preemo but you can’t classify The Neptunes in a box. They can go from Jay-Z, Snoop and Clipse to Madonna, Shakira and Christina Aguilera. Premier puts you in a zone that producers still try to emulate to this day. Chad & Pharrell are light years ahead as far as innovation but personally I’d have to ride with Preemo. Overall pick to win it, Kanye.
ALVIN “AQUA” BLANCO (SlangRapDemocracy): Kanye West vs. Dr. Dre is the toughest match up. While there is no denying the good Doctor’s catalog of beats, his lack of visibility in the marketplace—check the delay of the now mythic Detox—gives the edge to Kanye. Consider this, all five of Kanye’s solo albums and outside productions (i.e. Jay-Z’s The Blueprint) have been released since Dr. Dre’s last album, The Chronic 2001.
DJ Premier vs. The Neptunes is closer than it appears on paper. While the commercial friendly Neptunes are either feast or famine when it comes to their radio hits, DJ Premier’s name is stamped on a steady clip of classic tracks and albums from Gang Starr, the Notorious B.I.G., Nas and Jay-Z. The elder statesman’s consistency may be enough to sneak him into the finals. My personal favorite to win is easily DJ Premier. Even if he is from Texas, there is no producer that epitomizes the New York boom-bap sound like the late Keith “Guru” Elam’s DJ. But prudence says Kanye West, who Common dubbed “the new Primo” anyway, will be the champ. I don’t think either one would mind.