Throughout the 2000s Cool Dre were popping up on albums from Killer Mike, Christina Milian, The Game, and so much more. The Miami natives broke out on the scene with Fat Joe producing on his Jealous Ones Still Envy and Loyalty albums. Soon afterwards, Marcello "Cool" Valenzano and Andre "Dre" Christopher Lyon moved on to create hits for Angie Martinez, Rick Ross, Lil Wayne, Scarface, Trick Daddy, and Jeezy. Their biggest credits of 2015 include Lil Wayne’s “Pick Up Your Heart” on the Free Weezy album and numerous tracks on Curren$y’s Pilot Talk III.
Rappers throughout the Caribbean islands, South America, and the United States have heard of or have had the privilege to work with veteran production duo, Luny Tunes. Dominican producers Francisco Saldaña (Luny) and Víctor Cabrera (Tunes) first major placement on Ivy Queen’s “Quiero Saber” led to their first major break on Hector y Tito’s 2002 album, A La Reconquista. After DJ Nelson signed them to his Flow Music imprint, Luny Tunes made their label debut with Mas Flow, which featured the best in Reggaeton Daddy Yankee, Don Omar, Tego Calderón, Wisin & Yandel, Hector & Tito, Zion & Lennox, Baby Ranks, Nicky Jam, Trebol Clan, and many more. Eventually, their style set the standard for reggeaton and went on to produce Daddy Yankee’s international hit “Gasolina” as well as other major hits with Don Omar, Zion y Lennox, and Nicky Jam. Today, Luny Tunes lives off their international success in Puerto Rico, where their studio is estimated to be worth around $3.5 million.
For the unfamiliar, no we’re not talking about comic book heroes. You’ve probably heard their unforgettable tag of a seemingly hot babe whispering “Justice League” in Rick Ross’ “Aston Martin Music.” Dominican Erik "Rook" Ortiz and Puerto Rican Kenny "Barto" Bartolomei joined forces with Kevin "Colione" Crowe to create the well-known production trio. After first working with Jeezy, Juelz Santana, and Mary J. Blige in 2005, Justice League moved on to work on two of Rick Ross’ albums Trilla and Deeper Than Rap, as well as Fabolous, Ghostface Killah, Wale, and Lil Scrappy. They’ve also won a GRAMMY and a Billboard Award for their work on Mary J. Blige’s 2007 album The Breakthrough.
Victor "El Nasi"
Victor Martinez aka Victor "Nasi" is known as one of the top producers in Reggaeton. The Puerto Rican beatmaker started out working with fellow producer Nesty before branching off on his own. Currently signed under Wisin Y Yandel’s WY Records, Martinez has won two Grammys for his work on the rapping duos’ 2007 album Los Extraterrestres.
Domingo Padilla has produced for hip-hop’s most revered MC’s in the game. Not only has he produced for his close friend Big Punisher, but he’s also concocted beats for KRS-One, Kool G Rap, Sean Price, M.O.P., Mobb Deep, Ras Kass, AZ, Sadat X, Rahzel of The Roots, and plenty more. Domingo has yet to tap out of the game, no matter how much it’s changed. Last year, Domingo released his second solo album Same Game New Rules. He’s also working closely with Pun’s son Chris Rivers, and has produced for Action Bronson.
Puerto Rican producer and songwriter Ernesto F. Padilla aka Nesty reigns as one of the top producers in Reggaeton. After starting his grind with Victor "El Nasi" and Luny Tunes, Nesty eventually went on to produce hits for Wisin y Yandel, Alexis y Fido, Tony Dize, and more. He’s also written songs like Tego Calderón’s “Los Maté” and Wisin y Yandel’s "Estoy Enamorado." His wide-range of production has earned him a Latin GRAMMY nomination for his work on Wisin y Yandel’s Los Vaqueros: El Regreso.
Tony Gonzales aka Tony G is a pioneer for Latin producers. The Los Angeles native began his hustle as a prominent DJ outshining major acts like DJ Jazzy Jeff in competitions. Eventually he grabbed the attention of Greg Mack of 1580 K-DAY, who was impressed with Tony's skills and hired him as a DJ for KDAY.
After opening his own record store and music studio called “G-Spot Studio,” Tony G formed the group Latin Alliance and released the ultimate ride-around theme song “Lowrider.” He also produced for Eazy-E’s group Above The Law, DJ Pooh, Ice-T, and Rappin’ 4-Tay.
Alex Gargolas has been dropping mixtapes since 1998. The Reggaeton producer has hosted a plethora of Latin rappers on his popular Gargolas mixtape series such as Arcangel, De La Ghetto, Rakim y Ken-Y, Tito El Bambino, and more. Although he just released his second volume of greatest hits, it’s been rumored that he’s planning to release the final installment of the Gargolas series in the near future. However, no release date has been confirmed.
The Diaz Brothers
Miami’s own Lu Diaz and Hugo Diaz are the reason why Pitbull is a household name in music. The Chilean brothers emerged in the music scene at the end of Miami’s trendy freestyle music, which faded out once hip-hop and booty music became popular. Once they both got involved with Atlantic Records in the late ‘90s, the Diaz Brothers became well-known engineers at Circle House Studios in Miami and recorded tracks for The Baha Men, Diddy, 50 Cent, Juvenile, Beenie Man, Trick Daddy, Lil Scrappy, Beyoncé, and the entire Marley Family.
While mixing a track for Luke Records, the Diaz Brothers got into a conversation with Armando Perez, who they thought was an intern. After Perez, now known as Pitbull, said they were mixing his track, the Diaz brothers told him to give him a call once he got out of his deal. Months later, Pitbull called them and they ended up producing his debut album M.I.A.M.I. The rest is history.
Not only is Anthony “Romeo” Santos one of the successful bachata artists in the world, he’s also an accomplished producer. Beginning his music career with the bachata quartet Aventura, Santos wrote and produced a majority of the groups major hit singles including "Un Beso", “Los Infieles”, and “El Perdedor.” After embarking on his solo career, Romeo composed and produced his own studio albums along with co-producer Ivan Chevere. Santos worked with MC’s like Drake, Nicki Minaj, Usher, and Lil Wayne on both of his critically acclaimed albums Formula and Formula Vol 2.