Just blaze is a king right now. I’m watching him get mobbed by producer after producer at the Sha Money XL One Stop Shop in Arizona. He can barely take a step before somebody wants to _______ (take a picture, sign and autograph, pass a beat CD, etc, etc). He’s a king among kings, as RZA, Pete Rock and others are also floating around the area.
So, it is quite apparent that when these aspirants begin to formulate their list of Top 5 producers, Just Blaze will be high on their lists. But, who is on Just Blaze’s list? The New Jersey-bred, New York-based producer admits it can go any number of ways depending on how he feels on any given day.
“I’ll do it, but I might change my mind tomorrow,” he admits in a moment away from the chaos of the convention. “I say that because lists like that are hard, because you have to think about it.”
Nevertheless, Just Blaze gathers his thoughts on May 9, 2009 and gives AllHipHop.com his Top 5 Dead or Alive Producers.
Q-TIP of A TRIBE CALLED QUEST
Just Blaze: I was having this conversation the other day and people asked me what my favorite album is. And it was a toss up between [A Tribe Called Quest's] Midnight Marauders and The Infamous (by Mobb Deep] but Q-Tip wins because he was instrumental on both of those albums. So, I definitely got to put Q-Tip on that list.
Just Blaze: I definitely would have to put RZA on that list.
Just Blaze: I definitely would have to put Marley [Marl] on that list. He’s the godfather of what we do and how we do it. He was the mastermind who knew about the machines. If you listen to these interviews now with members of the Juice Crew, they will tell you, Marley didn’t necessarily have the idea to do the beat – I gave him the record. But he’s the one who had put it together. He’s the one who knew to take this loop and take these drums, put it on top of it, take this hi-hat and program it. He was an engineer as well. The most powerful producers are always going to have an engineer [background], like myself, like Rza, like Dre. You are just going to have [an ear] for those sonics. If you listen to Marley’s records versus anything that came before it, it was a different sound, a different grit…
THE BOMB SQUAD
Just Blaze: Bomb squad [the production team that provided the sounds for Public Enemy]. A lot of people forget, because it was so long ago. I think those four are solid [as 1-4].
The fifth one could be interchangeable. Editor’s note: The Bomb Squad (Chuck D, Vietnam and brothers Hank and Keith Schocklee. Later others such as Gary G-Wiz, Sleek, Easy Mo Bee and Panic would join the team.) is an American Hip-Hop production team, known for their work with Public Enemy. The Bomb Squad are noted for their dense, distinct, innovative production style, often utilizing dozens of samples on just one track. They are also known for their ability to incorporate harsh, unmelodic sounds and samples into their songs, generally enhancing them. They also produced albums and songs for the likes of Ice Cube (AmeriKKKa’s Most Wanted), Slick Rick, Run DMC and others. (Source: wikipedia and about.com)
PETE ROCK, DR. DRE, LARGE PROFESSOR
Just Blaze: Growing up, I was a bit of a Large Professor “stan.” I wanted glasses and the whole nine. I see him and its like hanging out with my big brother. But see, there’s also Dre. I was one of the only kids in New Jersey that was bumpin’ NWA early when New Jersey wasn’t bumpin’ NWA early. After “F**k The Police” I was like, “What’s that?” [Somebody else says] “You ain’t never heard that?” “No.” This was in like ’86. We were Juice Crew’d out and he put in this tape like…coursing… And the beats are different, but Its hot, you know? If you look at everything he’s done, from then up until now, you gotta put him on that list. Then you gotta have this man right here…
[Pete Rock strolls up]
Pete Rock: Who me? I’m nobody!
Just Blaze: Pete Rock is probably one of the only people to take a Bomb Squad production and make it better.
AllHipHop.com: The “Shut ‘Em Down” Remix
Pete Rock: I can honestly say that Green Street used to be my home and I used to watch those brothers [the Bomb Squad] in a session. That’s part of my inspiration. The Bomb Squad was great – huge.
AllHipHop.com: The greatest remix ever?
Just Blaze: “Hold it now!” [Quoting Public Enemy's Chuck D and his opening line on "Shut 'Em Down"]
Pete Rock: What I heard and learned, I incorporated it on some Pete Rock s**t.
Just Blaze: Its nothing like being able to kick it – even 30 seconds – with somebody you idolize. It’ll change your life.
Some audio treats provided by AllHipHop.com:
“Triumph” – Wu Tang – produced by RZA
“One Love” – Nas – produced by Q-Tip
“Shut ‘Em Down” – Public Enemy – remixed by Pete Rock
“The Symphony” – Marley Marl (featuring Kool G Rap, Big Daddy Kane, Masta Ace and Craig G)
“Looking At The Front Door” – Main Source Rapped and produced by Large Professor
“For All My B***hes and N***az” – Snoop Dogg – produced by Dr. Dre
“Fight The Power” – Public Enemy -produced by The Bomb Squad