Best Producer: The Alchemist
There’s no doubt about it: The Alchemist is hands-down the producer of the year. For the entirety of 2020, Alc has seemingly appeared on a new project or is releasing one of his own every few weeks. Alchemist dropped two solo projects, A Doctor, Painter & An Alchemist Walk Into A Bar and The Food Villain, and fully produced Freddie Gibbs’ Alfredo, Boldy James’ The Price Of Tea In China, and Conway the Machine’s LULU.
He crafted some of the year’s best instrumentals on “Sergio” for Action Bronson and “$500 Ounces” for Westside Gunn. Alc received credits on Eminem’s Music to Be Murdered By and Jay Electronica’s A Written Testimony. One glance at his body of work from this year, and it’s obvious he’s been in a tier of his own. He crafted enough music in one year that a majority of top-tier producers would smile and reflect upon if they’d accomplished it in a half-decade.
Alc’s collaborative efforts with members of Griselda Records produced bodies of work that have gained critical recognition as some of the best music of 2020. His work with Gibbs is considered by many to be the best hip-hop record of the year.
The Alchemist never fails to select gorgeous samples and orchestrate instrumentals that can place you in a smoke-filled underground jazz lounge or on a yacht in calm tropical waters. Once a track with The Alchemist’s wizardry begins, the listener is teleported to whichever wavelength Alc has directed them towards.
I’d also be failing readers if I didn’t mention his inclusion on Fuck, That’s Delicious. Alc perfectly rounds out the ensemble cast of Bronson, Body, and Mayhem. - Jack Martin
Best Instrumental of the Year: "$500 Ounces" produced by The Alchemist
If we're being completely honest, all three of these slots could be flooded by The Alchemist's 2020 discography. To choose one is a nearly impossible task that took our staff no less than all of our brain-power to decipher which one would claim the pinnacle of the mantlepiece. We came to the conclusion that "$500 Ounces" was not only Alchemist's prized portrait, but our own prized possession.
For an album that prides itself on its production value and lyrical connoisseurs who glide across the project with seamless ease, this one rises above the rest. Alc borrows from "Warning" by Biggie, "Get Money" by Junior M.A.F.I.A. and even pays homage to "Day 'N' Nite" by Kid Cudi by blending the three tracks together and hiding them underneath a trio of trumpets that are as boastful as Roc Marciano's verbal red-carpet strut. He utilizes Gangsta Gibbs as the spark to the track's dynamite and closes it with the walking vibration of Westside Gunn. If we're pinpointing this project as Alchemist and Westside's picture-perfect masterpiece, then "$500 Ounces" is the flourishing signature in the corner of the painting. - Ralph James
2. "Silly Watch" produced by Supah Mario
Although I’m not as much of an Uzi fan as I once was, there are very few times that I become as excited as I do when Lil Uzi Vert bellows “Yeah!” while the “Silly Watch” instrumental penetrates my ears. Supah Mario created a beat that perfectly fits the vibe of Uzi’s Eternal Atake and came in with possibly one of the most exciting trap rap instrumentals of the year. The blend of the gambol piano chord and choppy 808s really is the perfect combination for a killer verse, and Uzi does just that. - Marty Gross
3. "1985" produced by The Alchemist
Between the near beat-boxing beginning and the awe-inspiring guitar riff throughout, this beat was an absolute lock to make the top three beats of the year. The slow, melodic drum stream that accompanies the quick, progressive strums of the guitar damn near drives me to tears. - Finn Askin
Best Artists: Hip-Hop, R&B, Pop and Alternative