Pete Rock Lists Top Five Favorite Producers

Pete Rock discusses his top five producers, including Premo, Nottz and the Alchemist.

Grind Music Radio recently caught up with the legendary Pete Rock to break down his top five favorite producers. Listing beatsmiths like DJ Premier, the Alchemist, J Dilla, Madlib and Nottz, the Choclate Boy Wonder explains why each producer made his list and why he had to extend the list to six to include Dr. Dre.

"The Alchemist, with the LOX record ['We Gon Make It]," he explained. "He put the stamp down. DJ Premier for all the classics...Nottz for the R. Kelly joint [Snoop Dogg's 'That's That Shit']...that was hard. That was crazy...[J] Dilla, for just [being] that new dude that came up from Mars that landed on Earth and just blasted everyone with his talent and left us. Madlib for all of the underground illness that he does, when he incorporates the excerpts that he uses and the funny stuff that he does. [That] makes me gravitate toward what he does...I had to throw [Dr.] Dre in their because The Chronic changed my I got to say Dr. Dre, and hopefully one day we'll get to collab."

In related news, Pete Rock recently re-released a expanded and limited 10th anniversary edition of his 2001 instrumental project PeteStrumentals. The re-release of the project is a part of Beat Generation's 10th anniversary celebration. Pete Rock is also currently preparing the release of a collaborative project with DJ Premier.

The full interview can be seen below.



  • Killa Cam

    Man, these young fools need lessons in Hip-Hop. The REAL Top 5: 1. DJ Premier 2. Pete Rock 3. Dr. Dre 4. The RZA 5. The Alchemist Big shout outs to The Ummah and The Soulquarians. They are a group of producers, not just one. If you got knowledge, then you know who are in those production teams. If you don't, Google is your friend.

  • Anonymous

    p.s obviously its not my top five its just a random list of producers i like.

  • Anonymous

    mm interesting list's heres mine in no particular order Erick sermon,j.dilla Blackmilk,Madlib,Large-Proffesor,Nujabes DJ Honda, DJ-Muggs,DA-Beatminerz,Rza,Q-tip,Rock wilder, DJ-scratch,Buck-wild,Stoupe the enemy of mankind,The-Beatnuts,Mf doom,DJ shadow,DJ krush,Track-masters,Rjd2,lord Finesse,Organized noize,Easy Moe Bee,Just Blaze,The alchemist,9th wonder,hi tek Diamond-d,DJ-quick,Havoc,Prince-paul,Rick Rubin,The bomb squad,Marly Marl, Dr Dre, Pete rock, DJ premier,no id,Kayne west, DJ jazzy jeff,Danger-mouse,DJ-toomp,eric b,4th disciple,Battlecat,Allah-mathematics,Scott- Storch,ski beatz,illmind,flying lotus,QD III ?estlove Anyone want to add to this list?

  • Julio Aquino

    1. Premo 2. RZA 3. Apollo Brown 4. STatik Selektah 5. Kno, Jake One, Necro

  • Deadboy90

    Man nobody has kno in their top five? Any of you listen to death is silent or ontology?

  • r

    Dilla Alchemist Dre Premo RZA

  • Anonymous

    The RZA should be on everyones top 5.. I consider him the greatest beat crafter of all time

  • Anonymous

    1 the alchemist 2 the alchemist 3 the alchemist 4 the alchemist 5 the alchemist my other 4 are dilla,premo,dre and ....all the jedi mind tricks producers!! peace

  • meneless

    rza dre sermon my top 3 rza don't move from the first place...

  • HoustonTX

    My top 5 would be: Exile Premo 9th Wonder J Dilla Nottz In no particular order.

  • chris

    fav producers kanye west !llmind Just blaze timbaland (when he make hip hop records) rza jay electronica just blaze should be really first...

  • Dee

    Mine are Rza Mathmantics- wu dude sounds a lot like rza Jdilla Kanye west Bangladsh -when I Hurd that stuff he was doing 4 pusha t Alchemist

  • Here Go

    In no particular order... Timberland Beatnuts Dr.Dre DJ Premier DJ Quik

  • Chris S

    does anyone even know who Ant is?? I mean seriously

  • Eklipz'77

    1. Da beatminerz (enta da stage, da shinin') 2. DJ Muggs 3. RZA 4. Premo 5. Dr. Dre

  • No One

    Nujabes is up there....for me R.I.P

  • gggg

    1.dr.dre (doggystyle to chronic 2001 years) 2.premo 3.dilla 4.your mom

  • Sharkboxx

    1. J Dilla 2. Madlib 3. 9th Wonder

  • Ginders

    I swear both Premo and Pete Rock never give RZA any props, but they always show love to the rest of the clan (especially Ghostface).

  • Mads Degn Gregersen

    I think ppl are overlooking newer producers in favor of the older ones from their youth... in no particular order,Tyler, Leftbrain, Kanye West, RZA, Organized Noise and i'd like to add The Neptunes

    • Anonymous

      you seriously add dudes from OF from the list? god people need to get off their dicks. they are good but they aren't that good.

  • Anonymous

    1. souja boi 2. nick cannon 3. vanilla ice 4. rza 5. fushinickens greatest rappers ever

  • TiiDo

    Top 5 Producers in my opinion: 1. J Dilla 2. DJ Premier 3. Pete Rock 4. Dr. Dre 5. 9th Wonder (Questionable) Top 5 up & coming producers: 1. Black Milk 2. M-Phazes 3. Madlib 4. Khrysis 5. !llmind

    • Rick

      hahaha Madlib, Up & coming? hhahaa do your homework man. Dudes been around for nearly 20 years!!!

    • Anonymous

      The best list I've seen on this site, but I would add Madlib, Havoc, DOOM, RZA and maybe Statik Selektah or J. Rawls.

  • Clarence Rogers

    AND Organized Noise...

  • Clarence Rogers

    Weird, the lack of cats mentioning the Bomb Squad...

  • Anonymous

    1. dr dre 2. organize noize 3. dj toomp 4. justice league 5. kanye west

  • Me

    Is Pete Rock for real? This dude loves Wu w/ a passion. He wont release anything w/out a Wu member on it. Yet, RZA didnt make his list. I wonder who inspired his beat for Raekwon's "Sneakers" and many other beats he's made. Whatever dude!

  • i'mreal

    here's my list drumma boy zaytoven lex luger

  • ron

  • ron

    if u like that real.. 1.db!! the wax fiend. 2.dr.eamz. 3. eamz

  • oskamadison

    Here's mine: 1. Premo 2. Pete Rock 3. Large Professor 4. RZA 5. sorry about the tie but I HAD to name both: Marley Marl and 45 King My top 5 underappreciated: 1. Erick Sermon 2. DJ Quik (Keepin' it funky, I don't even know dude's catalog like that but I respect what he brought to the table. Plus, to me, dude is the 45 King of the west coast, didn't get the shine he deserved because he got overshadowed by a more prolific and popular cat.) 3. Speaking of which, 45 King 4. Ced Gee (Only one classic to his name but it's a monster.) 5. No ID (Drops classics with Common for years, no one notices. One song with Hov, everyone knows him.) @Neil Real music heads know what time it is. Great "outside Hip-Hop" list.

  • Anonymous

    1. organize noize ( outkast, goodie mob ) 2. dr.dre ( 2 classics under the belt ) 2. dj. toomp ( t.i. what you know about that 3. kanye west 4. mannie fresh 5. p. diddy "he picks the music to sample"

  • youngcosby

    El-P Premo Quincy Jones John Williams Stevie Wonder Now if we're just talking Hip Hop, then it would be: Premo Kanye J Dilla Rza Pete Rock

    • Velvet

      (Outside of Hip Hop)People love to forget that Barry White was a composer/producer before he graced the mic & lets not forget Donny Hathaway either!

    • YoungCosby

      @ Neil- That wasn't in no particular order. Those are just the people I had listed. @ This Nigga - Yes, Stevie Wonder you fucking idiot. Check Stevie's catalog, most of the songs he wrote, he produced, including such songs as Ribbon in the Sky, That's What Friends Are For, All I Do, Superstition, and I Just Called To Say I Love You. Maybe you should obtain more knowledge before you say stupid shit.

    • Neil

      EL-P before Q and Stevie must be nuts. The true producers (outside Hip Hop): James Brown Gamble & Huff (The Philadelphia Sound) Quincy Jones Stevie Wonder Nile Rodgers & Bernard Edwards - Chic(Because of Rapper's Delight) Hip Hop: Marley Marl (Because of Rakim & early LL) Primo Pete Rock Teddy Riley (Produced Doug E. Fresh's The Show) Dr. Dre

    • this nigga

      this nigga said stevie wonder yall

  • Doubl Negative

    Dope list, but Necro's ill too.

  • WSJ

    pete is def the truth!!!

  • Rase1

    Gotta put Mantronik in here somewhere the original King of the Beats

  • Anonymous

    RZA all day. Premier and other producers might have more good tracks, but the best RZA beats kill any of Premier's or other producer's best beats.

  • Gambino

    - Incise - DJ Stoupe aka 'The Enemy Of Mankind' - Illmind - Ro BLVD Checc 'em out :-|

    • EddieMurrrphy

      DJ Stoupe ummm never heard him called that before. and incise... really? what has that cat even done outside a couple of wu-affiliate beats, like that kevlaar7 joint he had?

  • Anonymous

    fav producers: j dilla premier rza kno stoupe the enemy of mankind questlove apollo brown madlib exile

    • Jake

      Nice list FOR SURE (Love the Kno/Stoupe/apollo brown/exile shout out for the underground especially those first 2). But I would HAVE TO ADD DR. DRE for all his ish from 88-2003! Yes he's become repetitive since then, but come on now. Also Large Professor, Pete Rock, Diamond D, Q-Tip, and Buckwild

  • Anonymous

    the past had good beats and good lyrics. Now the mainstream has garbage beats and garbage lyrics (for the most part). But still hiphop's popularity continues to rise in the mainstream. Makes no sense. Underground has got it all and this isnt even from a biased perspective. Beats and lyrics take talent. I see none in the mainstream.

  • Anonymous

    pretty good top 5.. i want a pete rock and lloyd banks collab!!!!!!!

    • The MG

      I swear, on every article or song, I see someone mentioning Lloyd Banks. Lloyd was dope back in 04, but now he's just plain annoying with his nasally ass.

    • Anonymous

      GTFO! Not even on a remix. It's better for them when they stick to their poppy and souless 08/15 beats.

    • Anonymous

      I'm sure he wouldn't...he know that would just downgrade Pete's legacy.

  • NY

    I decided to put this in after reading all the comments, Easy Mo Bee easily the most underrated he produced basically everything in New York hip hop from about 1990 to about '94. All the great producers listed came up around '93 and '94 and didn't really start dominating the scene until around '95 so they just took the spot of Easy Mo Bee. He worked with Biggie & Tupac and some of Wu-Tang members before 36 Chambers.

    • EddieMurrrphy

      he worked w/ the gza/genius on words from the genius. that was about the only wu record to drop before thirty six chambers. and wow that is waaaaaay to much credit to give easy mo bee. even though we all know that "Mo Bee got beats!" - Biggie. but everything from 90-94. you are discrediting: the beatnuts diamond d lord finesse buckwild showbiz da beatminerz large professor marley marl and coutnless countless other amazing beatsmith's. just look at those names on the list they are all nothing short of legends, and they all dropped albums in the window of time you mentioned, along w/ so many other dope names, too many to mention. you are a clown man. you just watch a vh1 special smart boy?

  • CLM83

    Uh yeah can't sleep on Ad-Rock Hello Nasty!

  • NY

    Top 5 no specific order RZA, DJ Premier, Pete Rock, J Dilla & DJ Muggs. Honorable mention includes Havoc, Marley Marl, Q-Tip, Easy Mo Bee, Dr. Dre, Da Beatminerz (It's a group of producers led by DJ Evil Dee). We need the newer generation to realize beats make up 1/3 of the song the rest is lyrics and flow. The beats for newer songs just don't have the same impact like before. Producers are the most underrated in hip hop.

  • CLM83

    I doubt Punks these days don't even know who produce they fav. songs anyways. Beatnuts Forever!! Who Comin' wit Da Shit NA?!

  • CLM83

    Premo, Dilla, RZA, Dre, 9th Wonder, Xtra P, Hi-Tek, Kanye, Alchemist, Scratch - Early Busta Shit.

  • G-zus

    RZA-Premo-Dilla-Neptunes-Kanye West Special mention : Madlib,Havoc,Dr.Dre Up and coming interesting producers : Big K.R.I.T-Tyler the Creator- Left Brain

  • Jesus

    lets see. the fact anybody can name top 5 anything is retarded. cuz theres always gonna be other artists. besides who are you? noone cares til your famous. thats why i dont beleive in lists. i believe in results. i love certain rappers and producers and shit even radio stations. it just depends on the day cuz i will rock Slaughterhouse today then wanna listen to nicki minaj(hate welcome) my list changes daily. but hey if your on your death bed then i think you can do a list. cuz you wont live to see anything or hear anything better [:

  • Pheel

    Man how can u hav a list w/o the neptunes JDilla or Neprune Promo Pete Rock The Alchemist 9th wonder Hi-tek Organized Noise Erick Sermon Large Pro Q-tip newer produce black milk justice league nicolay

  • OX

    Yeah the south is hot now I'm from the south and live in the south but no way any of these new producers should be mentioned with the Premo's and Pete Rock's of the beat game only Mannie can be included

  • OX

    If you are a real hip hop head your list must include Premo Pete Rock J.Dilla RZA Madlib Dr.Dre Alchemist Havoc Nottz Old Kanye West Just Blaze DJ Quik 9th Wonder Erick Sermon Large Pro Marley Marl Da Beatminerz Diamond D Muggs Hi Tek Mannie Fresh

    • Atl2Trill

      I was a huge CMR fan back then. But I pick Organized Noise over Mannie Fresh. Their sound is more soulful and relies on the typical 808 sound that's common in the south.

  • Anonymous

    1. DJ Premier 2. J Dilla 3. Dr.Dre 4. RZA 5. Kanye (as a producer not rapper) West or Bink

  • Rick

    Nice list. NOTTZ is way slept on. His drums remind me of Dilla's. Heres my top 5 and why. DJ Premier - the MOST classics period. Dre & RZA dont come close...maybe RZA. Look at all these producers who BITE Prems style with their scratch chorus' now. RZA - brought that grimey / raw sound that was missing in the early 90's. DJ MUGGS - There would be no RZA or Alchemist without MUGGS. See early Cypress Hill, House Of Pain etc... RZA's sound has MUGGS all over it with teh grimeyness. RZA just made it sound more RAW first take shit. MUGGS is part of the reason why i started paying attention to production back in '91.....SOUL ASSASSINS BITCH!!!!!! Jay Dee - James brought that soulfulness to Hip Hop. He single handedly created an entire movement (NEO SOUL) Pete Rock - Dude and Premier are always up there for me. Theyre like the Magic Johnson & Michael Jordan of Hip Hop Producers. Slept on Producers T-Ray- Artifacts E-Swift- The Liks Buckwild- DITC Beatnuts- BEST dual producers Exile- See Blu Below the heavens

  • Pat Mack 19

    I just compared some Pete Rock beats to Lex Luger. I prefer Lex Luger, he got that huge 808 kick drum in every song that makes that shit bang, Pete Rock beats sound like elevator music, way too soft.

  • Anonymous

    no one cares about your fucking lists, do not post your top 5 list, this is PETE ROCKS LIST, just HIS OPINION. so we dont need to hear yours

  • trooper

    1. DJ Premier 2. J Dilla 3. Dr. Dre 4. Pete Rock 5. Madlib 6. Q-Tip 7. Marley Marl 8. 9th Wonder 9. Madlib 10. The Beatnuts 11. Organized Noise 12. Erick Serman 13. RZA 14. Hi-Tek 15. Alchemist 16. Havoc 17. Large Professor 18. KRS-One 19. The Bomb Squad 20. DJ Quik This is in no order but I must say Premo is the best ever. Then Dilla. But this is in no order. There are other producers I know that I'm forgetting.....KNOTTZ is dope!

    • TheR

      Everybody can always miss out on producers or mc's on those lists, the thing is youre listing 20 of great producers no doubt, but how can you overlook questlove who produced nearly everything by The Roots who'se music arguably have he smoothest and most constant sound over the past 15 years!

    • Anonymous

      Yes! The old Kanye was one of the dopest, loved his beats back then. Get By is great too.

    • Jose Vasquez

      Don't forget Old Kanye, I still listen to that Guerrilla Monsoon Rap

    • Rick

      Yup, i'd agree with your choices here but not the order. Peopel tend to forget T-Ray

  • James Vega

    Large Pro Ali Shaheed Muhammad (Tribe) DJ Quik Prince Paul De La Soul (each of them make alot of their own beats for the group) Scott La Rock The Beatnuts (again.. made alot of their own beats) MF Doom Jam Master Jay Trackmasters Erik Sermon Da Beat Minerz DJ Muggs Organized Noise Hi Tek Diamond D Havoc

  • Anonymous

    Quik Pete Rock Primo Mannie Fresh (yeah i said it) Primo Q-tip

  • James Vega

    That's a good list... It's hard to come up with a list like that when you gotta break it down to 5.. Pete Rock Premier Dre Dilla RZA Alchemist Mad Lib 9th Wonder No ID Kanye (C'Mon.. He makes some dope beats) Buckwild Evil Dee That list can go on for ages..

  • Trey Gunz

    What about Boi1da, Drumma Boy, Shawty Redd and Mannie Fresh! Real talk - Pete Rock is washed up, and all the producers he listed are either too old or over the hill.

    • Badhabitz

      Too Old, maybe your too young for this

    • BBlanco

      Trey, Please leave this site, you obviously have no clue what REAL hip hop is.

    • X

      Age dont matter in Hip-Hop... the one think about the old school producers is that they understood music in general not just how to sit in front of a computer and put sounds together. They knew how to create melodies. These new producers make hits but the old school producers make classics. Your probably too young to understand.

    • trooper

      Trey Gunz...bro get real. None of those producers you name cannot see Pete Rock. Now thats your opinion of course but get real. Those producer lack creativity, innovation, and its pretty clear they make thier music for radio and clubs. Pete Rock, Premier, Q-Tip make music from the heart. You want to bring current new fresh producers ok..J Dilla, Hi-Tek, Havoc, Kanye, Just Blaze, Madlib, Black Milk, etc. would crush those producers you named easily when it comes to making music. Those producers won't even be mention in 20 yrs like Pete Rock, Q-Tip, Premier has been. J Dilla is no longer here and is still talked about because he made classics. Your producer didn't. They don't know how.

    • Anonymous

      Lex Luger and soulja boi are the hottest producers in the game

    • khordkutta

      Choke urself lil nicca, too old, over the hill, this aint sports.?!?!? WTF?!?

    • James Vega

      HAHAHAHAHAHAHA.. ur a joke.. They're too old? To old for what? Too old to make cheap generic shit? Too old to make the same kinda beat that everyone can make? We're talking HIP HOP producers... Not Hip POP.. Dudes nowdays ain't shit.. It's rare when you see someone have their own style when it comes to makin a hip hop beat..

  • Anonymous

    One of the best of all time. I absolutely love his albums with CL Smooth, it was real hip hop music. His list is good too, many styles covered with this one.

  • Bilal A. Siddique

    now this is a list i can get behind!

  • sharksbreath

    You better go get that Pete Rock Camp Lo joint. 80 Blocks From Tiffanys. Straight fire.

  • Anonymous

    thats a really respectable list. so much respect for pete rock. my favorite producer of all time.

  • Anonymous

    so humble. pete rock is the man. very great man. i got the chance to get his autograph when he did rock the bells in toronto. dude is mad cool. living legend

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