As always, when the year draws to a close, the DX staff converge to puff out their chests and furiously debate, critique and rank the year’s finest across the spectrum of the culture.
2022 was a big year for music, from big newcomers to seasoned veterans; the year’s more exciting, acclaimed releases were crafted by producers who have been leading the rising tide for the past few years. This year, we see primarily familiar names floating amongst the creme of the crop, like 2021’s Producer Of The Year Alchemist and 2020’s Producer Of The Year Hit-Boy – as well as past nominees Harry Fraud and Metro Boomin’.
With so many dope producers producing equally excellent albums and records, the voting was tighter than ever. From full-length releases and underground gems to bubbling, inescapable singles, 2022’s Hip Hop Producers of the year kept us on our toes.
Review all of our Hip Hop Award categories and nominees.
Editor’s Note: All nominees are listed in alphabetical order.
Best HIP HOP PRODUCERS Of 2022 NOMINATIONS
The Best Producer Of 2022 Award goes to…
HipHopDX Producer of the year for 2020, Hit-Boy has yet to show noticeable wear and tear, spending another revolution around the sun with his foot firmly planted on the gas. What continues to make the California native so potent is his ability to bridge generations. His year saw him producing full-length projects for Pacman Da Gunman (Bulletproof Soul) and Dreezy (HITGIRL), not to mention contributions to The Game’s Drillmatic – Heart vs. Mind, work and with Dom Kennedy—among other credits. Most notably, he bookended the year producing for one of the greatest lyricists of all time, Nas; first with the surprise 2021 Christmas drop, Magic, and recently, the universally hailed fireball that is KDIII. That, of course, is just one bag, as EA also tapped him to curate the music for Madden 2023. Earning a Grammy nomination for his work on Beyonce’s Renaissance, his stranglehold on the decade doesn’t seem to be slowing up heading into the New Year.
As the reigning champ, Alchemist continued to rule his lane with an iron fist, dropping a heavy album of the year contender, The Elephant Man’s Bones, alongside the godfather of underground Hip Hop’s current wave, Roc Marciano. He also dropped a full-length with Curren$y titled Continuance—their first project since 2018’s Fetti with Freddie Gibbs. Not to mention, he contributed many one-offs and small batches to some widely hailed releases. For one, he crafted the lion’s share of Benny The Butcher’s Tana Talk 4 and contributed to LPs by Conway The Machine, Westside Gunn and Rome Streetz. He also composed one of the most discussed cuts from Kendrick Lamar’s long-awaited, Grammy-nominated masterpiece, Mr. Morale & the Big Steppers, “We Cry Together.” The defending champ’s production continues to age like a fine merlot, as he makes the case to repeat.
Freebandz in-house producer ATL Jacob—described by 808 Mafia founder Southside as a mix of himself and Metro Boomin’ in one person—had one hell of a year. First, he produced the 2021 Kodak Black single “Super Gremlin,” finally released in context on the rapper’s LP Back For Everything, an album debuting at No. 2 on Billboard 200. Then there was his work with Kanye West on his failed or successful (depending on who you ask) Donda sequel, “Keep It Burnin,” which was later released on Future’s I Never Liked You. That LP also included the track “Wait for U,” featuring Drake and Tems, which earned the Atlanta native a Grammy nod and a producer of the year nomination at the 2022 BET Hip Hop Awards. He also helmed much of Future’s “I NEVER LIKED YOU” and notable one-offs with Babyface Ray (“6 Mile Show”), Lil Baby (“Right On”, “Waterfall Flow”) and Glorilla (“No More Love”). It’s clear that in the mainstream, no producer had a bigger breakout than ATL Jacob, making him an easy choice for nomination.
Following up a big year of full-length project collaborations with names like Dave East (Hoffa), Jim Jones (The Fraud Department) and Benny the Butcher (The Plugs I Met 2), New York-bred producer Harry Fraud was a problem in 2022. This year he remained steadfast to the formula, most prominently rekindling his musical chemistry with French Montana—with whom he rose to prominence over a decade ago; the two released Montega, which cracked the top 50 on Billboard’s Hot 200. He also dropped projects with Griselda affiliate Jay Worthy (You Take the Credit, We’ll Take the Check) and Trust Gang abbot 38 Spesh (Beyond Belief).
Metro didn’t rack up the most extensive list of credits this year. Notably, he produced Gunna’s Drake-assisted Top 25 Billboard “P Power,” off of the rapper’s third studio LP DS4Ever, and Kodak Black’s “I’m So Awesome” off of his fifth studio LP Kutthroat Bill: Vol. 1, which peaked at No. 8 on Billboard’s Hot 200. However, he dropped off his long-awaited follow-up to 2018’s platinum-selling smash, Not All Heroes Wear Capes. Released on December 2nd—featuring an all-star cast revealed via comic book artwork—Heroes & Villains is projected to move between 140,000 and 150,000 album-equivalent units in its first week, making it Metro Boomin’s biggest first week to date.
Check out our previous Hip Hop Producers of the Year award winners.
Artwork and Graphic Design by JR Martinez.
Paragraphs Written By: Riley Wallace