Dark Light

Over the decades, hip hop has seen its fair share of legendary producers; from Dr. Dre to Marley Marl, RZA to Pete Rock, DJ Quik to Mannie Fresh.

When you think about it, great production is really what separates the best hip hop albums of all time, from the rest of the pack. There have been countless amazing rappers throughout history who never got their time in the spotlight due to their weak production choice.

Think about how many times you’ve zoned out of listening to an artist rap because the production was back, regardless of how dope the bars were. The beats, samples, and overall sound of the record are what keep us coming back for more.

On this list, we rank the 80 best produced hip hop albums of all time; from Doggystyle and Liquid Swords to Illmatic and The Blueprint.

80. Eminem – Relapse

Released: May 19, 2009

Label: Aftermath, Shady, Interscope

Producers: Dr. Dre, Doc Ish, Eminem, Dawaun Parker, Jeff Bass, Mark Batson, Trevor Lawrence, Jr.

Best produced song on the album: “Stay Wide Awake”

79. Rapsody – Eve

Released: August 23, 2019

Label: Jamla, Roc Nation

Producers: 9th Wonder, Khrysis, Nottz, Eric G, Mark Byrd

Best produced song on the album: “Nina”

78. Jeru the Damaja – The Sun Rises in the East

Released: May 24, 1994

Label: Payday, FFRR, PolyGram

Producers: DJ Premier

Best produced song on the album: “Come Clean”

77. The Game – The Documentary

Released: January 18, 2005

Label: Aftermath, G-Unit, Black Wall Street, Interscope

Producers: Dr. Dre, Buckwild, Che Vicious, Cool & Dre, Danja, Eminem, Focus, Havoc, Hi-Tek, Jeff Bhasker, Jeff Reed, Just Blaze, Kanye West, Luis Resto, Mark Batson, Mike Elizondo, Needlz, Scott Storch, Timbaland

Best produced song on the album: “How We Do”

76. Danny Brown – Atrocity Exhibition

Released: September 27, 2016

Label: Fool’s Gold, Warp

Producers: The Alchemist, Black Milk, Evian Christ, Paul White, Petite Noir, Playa Haze

Best produced song on the album: “Really Doe”

75. Drake – Take Care

Released: November 15, 2011

Label: Young Money, Cash Money, Republic

Producers: 40, Boi-1da, Chantal Kreviazuk, Chase N. Cashe, Drew Murray, Illangelo, Jamie xx, Just Blaze, Kromatik, The Weeknd, T-Minus, Doc McKinney, Supa Dups

Best produced song on the album: “Marvins Room”

74. Travis Scott – Astroworld

Released: August 3, 2018

Label: Cactus Jack, Grand Hustle, Epic

Producers: 30 Roc, B Wheezy, Bkorn, Cardo, Cubeatz, FKi 1st, Frank Dukes, Hit-Boy, J Beatzz, John Mayer, June James, Mike Dean, Murda Beatz, Nineteen85, Oz, Rogét Chahayed, Sevn Thomas, Sonny Digital, Tame Impala, Tay Keith, Thundercat, TM88, Travis Scott, Wallis Lane, WondaGurl

Best produced song on the album: “Sicko Mode”

73. The Pharcyde – Bizarre Ride II the Pharcyde

Released: November 24, 1992

Label: Delicious Vinyl, EastWest

Producers: J-Swift, L.A. Jay, SlimKid 3

Best produced song on the album: “Passin’ Me By”

72. Future – DS2

Released: July 17, 2015

Label: A1, Freebandz, Epic

Producers: Allen Ritter, Cassius Jay, DJ Spinz, Frank Dukes, G Koop, Jake One, Metro Boomin, Sonny Digital, Southside, Zaytoven

Best produced song on the album: “Thought It Was a Drought”

71. Raekwon – Only Built 4 Cuban Linx… Pt. II

Released: September 8, 2009

Label: Ice H2O, EMI

Producers: The Alchemist, Young Justice, BT, Dr. Dre, Erick Sermon, Icewater Productions, J Dilla, Mark Batson, Marley Marl, Mathematics, MoSS, Necro, Pete Rock, Raekwon, RZA, Scram Jones, True Master

Best produced song on the album: “10 Bricks”

70. Company Flow – Funcrusher Plus

Released: July 22, 1997

Label: Rawkus

Producers: El-P, Bigg Jus, Mr. Len

Best produced song on the album: “8 Steps to Perfection”

69. The Pharcyde – Labcabincalifornia

Released: November 14, 1995

Label: Delicious Vinyl

Producers: The Pharcyde, Jay Dee, Diamond D, M-Walk

Best produced song on the album: “Runnin’”

68. T.I. – King

Released: March 28, 2006

Label: Grand Hustle, Atlantic

Producers: DJ Toomp, Just Blaze, Kanye West, Mannie Fresh, Swizz Beatz, Keith Mack, Travis Barker, The Neptunes, Khao, Nick Fury and Tony Galvin

Best produced song on the album: “Front Back”

67. A$AP Rocky – At. Long. Last. ASAP

Released: May 26, 2015

Label: ASAP Worldwide, Polo Grounds, RCA

Producers: ASAP Rocky, Che Pope, Danger Mouse, Da Honorable C.N.O.T.E., Emile Haynie, FnZ, Frans Mernick, Hector Delgado, Jim Jonsin, Juicy J, Kanye West, Mario Loving, Mark Ronson, Nesbitt Wesonga, Plu2o Nash, S.I.K., Thelonious Martin, Vulkan the Krusader

Best produced song on the album: “Lord Pretty Flacko Jodye 2 (LPFJ2)”

66. Clipse – Lord Willin’

Released: August 20, 2002

Label: Star Trak, Arista

Producers: The Neptunes

Best produced song on the album: “Grindin’”

65. Little Brother – The Listening

Released: February 25, 2003

Label: ABB Records

Producers: 9th Wonder, Eccentric

Best produced song on the album: “Speed”

64. Tyler, the Creator – Flower Boy

Released: July 21, 2017

Label: Columbia

Producers: Tyler, the Creator

Best produced song on the album: “See You Again”

63. Lil Wayne – Tha Carter II

Released: December 6, 2005

Label: Cash Money, Universal

Producers: The Runners, DJ Nasty & LVM, Robin Thicke, Young Yonny, The Heatmakerz, Cool & Dre, Deezle, Bigg D, DVLP, Filthy, T-Mix, Batman, Matlock

Best produced song on the album: “Fireman”

62. Young Jeezy – Let’s Get It: Thug Motivation 101

Released: July 26, 2005

Label: Corporate Thugz, Def Jam

Producers: Shawty Redd, J.U.S.T.I.C.E. League, Midnight Black, Lil’ C, Jazze Pha, Nitti, Mr. Collipark, Don Cannon, Mannie Fresh, Drumma Boy, Khao, Sanchez Holmes

Best produced song on the album: “Go Crazy”

61. Travis Scott – Rodeo

Released: September 4, 2015

Label: Grand Hustle, Epic

Producers: Allen Ritter, Ben Billions, Charlie Heat, DJ Dahi, Eestbound, FKi, Frank Dukes, Illangelo, Kanye West, Maneesh Bidaye, Mano, Metro Boomin, Mike Dean, Pharrell Williams, Sonny Digital, Southside, TM88, Travis Scott, The Weeknd, WondaGurl

Best produced song on the album: “90210”

60. Ol’ Dirty Bastard – Return to the 36 Chambers: The Dirty Version

Released: March 28, 1995

Label: Elektra, WMG

Producers: RZA, True Master, Ol’ Dirty Bastard, The 4th Disciple, Ethan Ryman

Best produced song on the album: “Shimmy Shimmy Ya”

59. Mac Miller – Watching Movies with the Sound Off

Released: June 18, 2013

Label: Rostrum

Producers: AdoTheGod, The Alchemist, Chuck Inglish, Clams Casino, Diplo, Earl Sweatshirt, Flying Lotus, ID Labs, J. Hill, Mac Miller, Pharrell Williams, Sap, Tyler, the Creator

Best produced song on the album: “Suplexes Inside of Complexes and Duplexes”

58. Roc Marciano – Reloaded

Released: November 13, 2012

Label: Decon

Producers: Roc Marciano, The Alchemist, Q-Tip, Ray West, The Druids

Best produced song on the album: “Death Parade”

57. Deltron 3030 – Deltron 3030

Released: May 23, 2000

Label: 75 Ark

Producers: Dan the Automator, Del the Funky Homosapien

Best produced song on the album: “3030”

56. Slum Village – Fantastic, Vol. 2

Released: June 13, 2000

Label: GoodVibe

Producers: J Dilla, Pete Rock, D’Angelo

Best produced song on the album: “Fall in Love”

55. Pusha T – Daytona

Released: May 25, 2018

Label: GOOD Music, Def Jam

Producers: Kanye West, Andrew Dawson, Mike Dean, Pi’erre Bourne

Best produced song on the album: “The Games We Play”

54. Pete Rock & CL Smooth – The Main Ingredient

Released: November 8, 1994

Label: Elektra

Producers: Pete Rock

Best produced song on the album: “I Got a Love”

53. Killer Mike – R.A.P. Music

Released: May 15, 2012

Label: Williams Street

Producers: El-P

Best produced song on the album: “Reagan”

52. LL Cool J – Mama Said Knock You Out

Released: September 14, 1990

Label: Def Jam, Columbia

Producers: Marley Marl, LL Cool J, Bobby “Bobcat” Erving

Best produced song on the album: “The Boomin’ System”

51. Cypress Hill – Cypress Hill

Released: August 13, 1991

Label: Ruffhouse, Columbia

Producers: DJ Muggs

Best produced song on the album: “The Phuncky Feel One”

50. Run the Jewels – Run the Jewels 2

Released: October 24, 2014

Label: Mass Appeal, RBC

Producers: El-P

Best produced song on the album: “Oh My Darling Don’t Cry”

49. Rick Ross – Teflon Don

Released: July 20, 2010

Label: Maybach Music Group, Slip-n-Slide, Def Jam

Producers: Clark Kent, Danja,

Best produced song on the album: The Inkredibles, J.U.S.T.I.C.E. League, Kanye West, Lex Luger, No I.D., The Olympicks, The Remedy

48. Jay-Z & Kanye West – Watch the Throne

Released: August 8, 2011

Label: Def Jam, Roc Nation, Roc-A-Fella

Producers: Kanye West, 88-Keys, Hit-Boy, Pete Rock, Jeff Bhasker, Mike Dean, The Neptunes, Q-Tip, RZA, Sak Pase, Swizz Beatz, S1, Southside, Lex Luger

Best produced song on the album: “Otis”

47. Group Home – Livin’ Proof

Released: November 21, 1995

Label: Payday, FFRR

Producers: DJ Premier, Guru, Big Jaz

Best produced song on the album: “Inna Citi Life”

46. Blu & Exile – Below the Heavens

Released: July 17, 2007

Label: Sound in Color

Producers: Exile

Best produced song on the album: “Simply Amazin’”

45. El-P – I’ll Sleep When You’re Dead

Released: March 20, 2007

Label: Definitive Jux

Producers: El-P

Best produced song on the album: “The Overly Dramatic Truth”

44. Ghostface Killah – Supreme Clientele

Released: February 8, 2000

Label: Epic, Sony, Razor Sharp

Producers: Mathematics, RZA, Black Moes-Art, The Blaquesmiths, Carlos Bess, Carlos Broady, Choo the Specializt, Hassan, Inspectah Deck, JuJu

Best produced song on the album: “Mighty Healthy”

43. Gang Starr – Hard to Earn

Released: March 8, 1994

Label: Chrysalis, EMI Records

Producers: DJ Premier, Guru

Best produced song on the album: “Mass Appeal”

42. The Diplomats – Diplomatic Immunity

Released: March 25, 2003

Label: Def Jam, Roc-A-Fella, Diplomat

Producers: The Heatmakerz, Just Blaze, Kanye West, Hiroshima, Mafia Boy, DR Period, E-Bass

Best produced song on the album: “I’m Ready”

41. Cannibal Ox – The Cold Vein

Released: May 15, 2001

Label: Definitive Jux

Producers: El-P

Best produced song on the album: “Ox Out the Cage”

40. 50 Cent – Get Rich or Die Tryin’

Released: February 6, 2003

Label: Shady, Aftermath, Interscope

Producers: Dr. Dre, Eminem, Sha Money XL, Sean Blaze, Darrell Branch, Dirty Swift, DJ Rad, Terence Dudley, Mike Elizondo, John “J-Praize” Freeman, Megahertz, Denaun Porter, Red Spyda, Reef, Rockwilder

Best produced song on the album: “In da Club”

39. DJ Quik – Safe + Sound

Released: February 21, 1995

Label: Profile

Producers: DJ Quik, G-One, Robert Bacon

Best produced song on the album: “It’z Your Fantasy”

38. Run-D.M.C. – Raising Hell

Released: May 27, 1986

Label: Profile

Producers: Rick Rubin

Best produced song on the album: “Walk This Way”

37. Fugees – The Score

Released: February 13, 1996

Label: Ruffhouse, Columbia

Producers: Pras, Wyclef Jean, Lauryn Hill, Jerry “Te Bass”, Duplessis, Diamond D, John Forté, Shawn King, Warren Riker, Salaam Remi

Best produced song on the album: “Fu-Gee-La”

36. Common – Be

Released: May 24, 2005

Label: Geffen, GOOD

Producers: Kanye West, J Dilla, James Poyser, Karriem Riggins

Best produced song on the album: “Love Is…”

35. The Notorious B.I.G. – Ready to Die

Released: September 13, 1994

Label: Bad Boy, Arista

Producers: Sean “Puffy” Combs, Easy Mo Bee, Chucky Thompson, Poke, Bluez Brothers, DJ Premier, Lord Finesse

Best produced song on the album: “Warning”

34. Kanye West – Yeezus

Released: June 18, 2013

Label: Def Jam, Roc-A-Fella

Producers: Kanye West, Mike Dean, Daft Punk, Travis Scott, Che Pope, Evian Christ, Lunice, 88-Keys, Hudson Mohawke, S1, No I.D.

Best produced song on the album: “Blood on the Leaves”

33. Pete Rock & CL Smooth – Mecca and the Soul Brother

Released: June 9, 1992

Label: Elektra

Producers: Pete Rock, Nevelle Hodge, Large Professor

Best produced song on the album: “They Reminisce Over You (T.R.O.Y.)”

32. EPMD – Strictly Business

Released: June 7, 1988

Label: Fresh, Sleeping Bag

Producers: Erick Sermon

Best produced song on the album: “It’s My Thing”

31. Public Enemy – Fear of a Black Planet

Released: April 10, 1990

Label: Def Jam, Columbia

Producers: The Bomb Squad

Best produced song on the album: “Fight the Power”

30. N.W.A. – Straight Outta Compton

Released: August 8, 1988

Label: Ruthless, Priority

Producers: Dr. Dre, DJ Yella, Arabian Prince

Best produced song on the album: “Gangsta Gangsta”

29. De La Soul – 3 Feet High and Rising

Released: March 3, 1989

Label: Tommy Boy

Producers: Prince Paul, De La Soul

Best produced song on the album: “Me Myself and I”

28. Kanye West – Graduation

Released: September 11, 2007

Label: Def Jam, Roc-A-Fella

Producers: Kanye West, Brian “AllDay” Miller, DJ Toomp, Eric Hudson, Nottz, Warryn “Baby Dubb” Campbell, Plain Pat

Best produced song on the album: “Flashing Lights”

27. UGK – Ridin’ Dirty

Released: July 30, 1996

Label: Jive

Producers: Pimp C, N.O. Joe, Sergio

Best produced song on the album: “Murder”

26. Kanye West – Late Registration

Released: August 30, 2005

Label: Def Jam, Roc-A-Fella

Producers: Kanye West, Jon Brion, Just Blaze, Devo Springsteen

Best produced song on the album: “Drive Slow”

25. 2Pac – All Eyez on Me

Released: February 13, 1996

Label: Death Row, Interscope

Producers: 2Pac, DJ Bobcat, Daz Dillinger, DeVante Swing, DJ Pooh, DJ Quik, Doug Rasheed, Dr. Dre, Johnny “J”, Mike Mosley, QDIII, Rick Rock

Best produced song on the album: “Heartz of Men”

25. The D.O.C. – No One Can Do It Better

Released: August 1, 1989

Label: Ruthless, Atlantic

Producers: Dr. Dre

Best produced song on the album: “It’s Funky Enough”

24. DJ Shadow – Endtroducing…..

Released: September 16, 1996

Label: Mo’ Wax

Producers: DJ Shadow

Best produced song on the album: “Midnight in a Perfect World”

23. Madvillain – Madvillainy

Released: March 23, 2004

Label: Stones Throw

Producers: Madlib, MF Doom

Best produced song on the album: “Accordion”

22. GZA – Liquid Swords

Released: November 7, 1995

Label: Geffen

Producers: RZA, 4th Disciple

Best produced song on the album: “4th Chamber”

21. Beastie Boys – Paul’s Boutique

Released: July 25, 1989

Label: Capitol

Producers: Beastie Boys, The Dust Brothers

Best produced song on the album: “Shake Your Rump”

20. Ice Cube – AmeriKKKa’s Most Wanted

Released: May 16, 1990

Label: Lench Mob, Priority

Producers: The Bomb Squad, Da Lench Mob

Best produced song on the album: “AmeriKKKa’s Most Wanted”

19. Dr. Dre – 2001

Released: November 16, 1999

Label: Aftermath, Interscope

Producers: Dr. Dre, Mel-Man, Lord Finesse, Scott Storch

Best produced song on the album: “Forgot About Dre”

18. Mobb Deep – The Infamous

Released: April 25, 1995

Label: Loud, RCA

Producers: Mobb Deep, Q-Tip

Best produced song on the album: “Shook Ones (Part II)”

17. Snoop Dogg – Doggystyle

Released: November 23, 1993

Label: Death Row, Interscope

Producers: Dr. Dre

Best produced song on the album: “Who Am I? (What’s My Name?)”

16. Kendrick Lamar – To Pimp a Butterfly

Released: March 15, 2015

Label: TDE, Aftermath, Interscope

Producers: Boi-1da, Flippa, Flying Lotus, Knxwledge, KOZ, Larrance Dopson, LoveDragon, Pharrell Williams, Rahki, Sounwave, Tae Beast, Taz Arnold, Terrace Martin, Thundercat, Tommy Black, Whoarei

Best produced song on the album: “u”

15. J Dilla – Donuts

Released: February 7, 2006

Label: Stones Throw

Producers: J Dilla

Best produced song on the album: “Don’t Cry”

14. Freddie Gibbs & Madlib – Piñata

Released: March 18, 2014

Label: Madlib Invazion

Producers: Madlib

Best produced song on the album: “High”

13. OutKast – Stankonia

Released: October 31, 2000

Label: LaFace, Arista

Producers: Organized Noize, Earthtone III, Carl Mo

Best produced song on the album: “B.O.B.”

12. Mobb Deep – Hell on Earth

Released: November 19, 1996

Label: Loud, RCA

Producers: Havoc

Best produced song on the album: “Drop a Gem on ‘Em”

11. A Tribe Called Quest – Midnight Marauders

Released: November 9, 1993

Label: Jive

Producers: Q-Tip, Skeff Anselm, Large Professor

Best produced song on the album: “Lyrics to Go”

10. Clipse – Hell Hath No Fury

Released: November 28, 2006

Label: Re-Up, Star Trak, Jive

Producers: The Neptunes

Best produced song on the album: “Keys Open Doors”

9. Raekwon – Only Built 4 Cuban Linx…

Released: August 1, 1995

Label: Loud, RCA

Producers: RZA

Best produced song on the album: “Rainy Dayz”

8. OutKast – Aquemini

Released: September 29, 1998

Label: LaFace, Arista

Producers: Organized Noize, OutKast, Mr. DJ

Best produced song on the album: “SpottieOttieDopaliscious”

7. Wu-Tang Clan – Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers)

Released: November 9, 1993

Label: Loud

Producers: RZA

Best produced song on the album: “C.R.E.A.M.”

6. Public Enemy – It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back

Released: June 28, 1988

Label: Def Jam, Columbia

Producers: The Bomb Squad

Best produced song on the album: “Rebel Without a Pause”

5. Kanye West – My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy

Released: November 22, 2010

Label: Def Jam, Roc-A-Fella

Producers: Kanye West, RZA, No I.D., Jeff Bhasker, Mike Dean, S1, Plain Pat, Bink, Emile, DJ Frank E

Best produced song on the album: “Devil in a New Dress”

4. Jay-Z – The Blueprint

Released: September 11, 2001

Label: Roc-A-Fella, Def Jam

Producers: Bink, Eminem, Luis Resto, Just Blaze, The Trackmasters, Kanye West, Timbaland

Best produced song on the album: “Song Cry”

3. Nas – Illmatic

Released: April 19, 1994

Label: Columbia

Producers: DJ Premier, Large Professor, L.E.S., Pete Rock, Q-Tip

Best produced song on the album: “The World Is Yours”

2. Dr. Dre – The Chronic

Released: December 15, 1992

Label: Death Row, Interscope

Producers: Dr. Dre

Best produced song on the album: “Nuthin’ but a ‘G’ Thang”

1. A Tribe Called Quest – The Low End Theory

Released: September 24, 1991

Label: Jive

Producers: Q-Tip, Skeff Anselm

Best produced song on the album: “Jazz (We’ve Got)”

1 comment
  1. Not even 1 album from The Roots? A real band doesn’t count for production I guess. Sonically I can think of at least 3 Roots albums that will make u readjust all your speaker and eq lvls.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Related Posts