Nearly two years ago, I published a Top 10 Producers list as my third article for Burbs. To my surprise, the article has still been gaining traction and sparking debate, so I decided to return with an updated Top 10 Producers list for 2020. Going forward, I'll be updating the list at the end of each year.
Despite all of 2020's adversities, it was one of the most exciting music years in recent memory. As usual, production has been a major highlight of the year's best music. This list has some familiar faces from last year, as well as a handful of newcomers. The talent pool was so strong this year that I decided to add an "honorable mention" section for additional producers who deserve recognition for their efforts in 2020. Without further ado, here are 2020's top producers.
Working on Dying
Working on Dying is a production collective comprised of Oogie Mane, F1lthy, and Brandon Finessin. They left their mark on 2020, making significant contributions to major albums such as Eternal Atake and Whole Lotta Red. They are without a doubt going to continue to shape the sound of trap in years to come.
You might remember Jay Versace from Vine or various social media memes over the years, but he also established himself as an in-demand producer this year. His unique, ethereal use of vintage samples has been tapped on songs such as "Versace" by Westside Gunn and "Lil Diamond Boy" by Lil Yachty, and he entirely produced Boldy James' The Versace Tape.
Atlanta producer Richie Souf is an enigma. He has managed to keep his face hidden from the public for his whole career, but that has not stopped him from working with the likes of Future, Young Thug, Gunna, Nicki Minaj, and Playboi Carti—serving as an important contributor to Whole Lotta Red. He is signed to Future's FBG label, making hits with Hendrix on a consistent basis.
Nascent is a soulful producer from Chicago who spans multiple genres. He first gained notoriety producing for the likes of Chance the Rapper and G Herbo, but he expanded into R&B this year—producing SZA's "Good Days," and Brent Faiyaz's "Clouded" and "Been Away," in addition to songs for Duckwrth, Guapdad4000, and TOBi. He also co-produced Saba and Denzel Curry's "Something In The Water."
Art Dealer epitomizes what it means to be a creative, serving as Playboi Carti's creative director and designer while also producing hits for him. He produced a large chunk of Whole Lotta Red, including standouts such as "Sky," "Over," "King Vamp," and "Control."
40 was at the #3 spot on my previous list, so it's tough relegating him to the honorable mentions. My first list was more general, but this list is more considerate of 2020 efforts. That being said, 40 had a fairly quiet year compared to usual. He co-produced "Deep Pockets" and "From Florida With Love" on Drake's Dark Lane Demo Tapes as well as a couple of tracks on PARTYNEXTDOOR's poorly-received Partymobile, but that was about it. Despite a decreased volume, he is still one of the most talented and important producers in the game who still deserves a shoutout. I'm willing to bet that we can anticipate ample amounts of 40 sauce on the forthcoming Certified Lover Boy.
10. Murda Beatz
Position on 2019 list: #7
No matter what you might think about his music, there's no denying that Murda is one of the smartest and hardest-working producers in the industry. He has amassed a versatile catalog of credits that is far more expansive than most producers his age. He continued the trend this year, working with an array of artists: Busta Rhymes, Ariana Grande, Ty Dolla Sign, Conway the Machine, Polo G, Teyana Taylor, PARTYNEXTDOOR, YNW Melly, Lil Baby, Chris Brown, Young Thug, and Migos, among many others.
9. Quay Global
Newcomer to the list
"Cook that shit up, Quay!" is among the most recognizable tags in today's trap landscape. Since 2017, Quay Global has been one of Lil Baby's primary beat suppliers. The dynamic duo has progressed together; this year, they helped each other shine on tracks such as "Woah," "Heatin Up," "All In," "Consistent," and "Can't Explain" off Baby's album My Turn. Quay also produced solid 2020 tracks for Lil Wayne, SAINt JHN, DaBaby, YoungBoy Never Broke Again, and Toosii.
8. Kenny Beats
Newcomer to the list
"Woah, Kenny!" has become another household tag in hip-hop, but this year Kenny Beats established himself as more than just a goofy producer with a memorable tag. The former EDM DJ turned rap producer/internet personality has been producing hits for years now, but he upped his game in 2020—cooking up with the likes of Rico Nasty, Smino, JID, Dominic Fike, Joji, Fivio Foreign, Key Glock, and Denzel Curry, who he released the experimental collab project Unlocked with. In addition to his diverse discography, he continued his video series The Cave and also proved himself as one of the most wholesome figures in the industry after crowdsourcing studio equipment for a young aspiring rapper.
Position on 2019 list: #5
Southside is so influential in contemporary hip-hop that even a relatively quiet year lands him at a comfortable spot in the Top 10. His most salient contributions this year were on collab projects with Doe Boy (Demons R Us) and Pyrex Whippa