More so than any other year in the history of hip hop, 2012 belonged to the producer. The men that crafted the beats were just as important as the men rapping over them. Many became household names as they produced Billboard top charting hits, obtained large endorsements, started their own production companies, and much more. The year featured an assortment of production, ranging from trunk rattlers to club bangers to smooth constructions. 2012 saw the emergence of new faces like Young Chop, continued success from  Hit-Boy and veterans proving they still have it after decades like No I.D. While it would be nearly impossible to choose one  as the overall best, there are a number of producers that are worthy of the title. In no particular order, Hard In The Paint Music brings you the top 10 producers of 2012.

 You can read the list below.

Young Chop: The 18-year-old producer played a pivotal role in bringing attention to the Chicago hip hop scene, crafting a sound that became known as drill rap. He holds claim to Chief Keef‘s hottest songs such as “Bang,” “Don’t Like,” “Kobe,” and “Love Sosa.” His work with the 17-year-old rap sensation led to him becoming the year’s most sought after producer. With placements on projects by Big Sean, French Montana, Birdman, Pusha T, and many more, his buzz is reminiscent of Lex Luger shortly after “B.M.F.” dropped. 2013 will only get bigger for Chop.

Mike Will Made It: The Atlanta, Georgia beat maker got his start by working with Gucci Mane and the 1017 Bricksquad camp. After opening eyes in 2011 with the hard-hitting “Tupac Back,” he excelled in 2012. He scored a platinum record with 2 Chainz and Drake’s “No Lie.” Plus, he was part of Juicy J’s re-emergence, thanks to the captivating  “Bandz A Make Her Dance.” His other notable placements include Future’s “Turn On The Lights,” Rihanna’s “Pour It Up” and DJ Khaled’s “Bitches & Bottles.” With three Top 10 Billboard records, there’s no doubt that Mike Will is one of the best.

Hit-Boy: The 25-year-old producer took off after producing “Niggas In Paris” for Jay-Z and Kanye West in 2011. In 2012, he proved he wasn’t a one hit wonder by cooking up more hit singles – “Goldie,” “Cold” and “Clique.” The year also saw birth of the G.O.O.D. Music signee’s rap career as he released his debut mixtape HITsory. He knew he was going to be special when he decided to call himself Hit-Boy.

Harry Fraud: When you hear “La Musical De Harry Fraud,” you can expect greatness. The Brooklyn producer made a statement in 2012 with crisp, smooth and well sampled production. Fraud may not have hit singles like the rest of the producers on this list, but he has an impressive collection of high quality work. He proved his consistency by producing two projects in entirely in Curren$y‘s Cigarette Boats EP and Smoke DZA‘s Rugby Thompson album. With a full length collaborative project with Action Bronson coming in 2013, Fraud ‘s name will only get bigger.

T-Minus: The Canadian producer has a sound of his own. His catalogue includes work with big name artist like Drake, Lil Wayne, Rick Ross, Nicki Minaj, and Ludacris. He was behind two of the best songs of 2012 in Kendrick Lamar‘s  “Swimming Pools (Drank)” and DJ Drama‘s “My Moment.”

Jahlil Beats: The baby-faced producer is most known for his work with Maybach Music Group’s Meek Mill. You could argue that he is as responsible for Meek’s success as Rick Ross is. He continued to display his chemistry with Meek by producing  “Burn,” “Young & Getting It” and “Amen” (co-produced with Key Wane), which have all received plenty of radio play.

Noah “40” Shebib: The producer out of Toronto has been influential in Drake’s dominance. While his work with his long time friend has been impressive, its been his work outside his camp that has truly displayed his skill. He put together Nas“Bye Bye Baby,” a highlight off the critically acclaimed Life Is Good. However, many will agree his best work of the year is the star-studded “Fuckin’ Problem,” which is quickly rising up the Billboards and taking over the air waves.

The Alchemist: Even at the age of 35, the veteran producer manages to stay relevant. With a sound like no other, in 2012 the California native continued to mix various genres, creating cinematic instrumentals for the likes of Prodigy, Action Bronson, Roc Marciano, and Domo Genesis. He really topped the year off by producing all of Bronson’s Rare Chandeliers. You can expect his signature sound to remain strong in the upcoming year.

Kanye West: Until he retires,  Kanye will be on every producer list. While the G.O.O.D. Music founder seems to be focused on his rapping, he had a hand in the year’s  hottest songs – “Mercy,” “Clique,” “New God Flow,” and “I Don’t Like (Remix).” With ‘Ye, it’s not about physically making the beat, it’s about the creativity and concepts. Take a listen to Cruel Summer and you’ll know exactly what I mean.

No I.D.: With 20 plus years in the game, the Def Jam executive has experience on his side. A product of Chicago, he was instrumental in Life Is Goodproducing 6 tracks including “Daughters.” Nas has always been criticized for his beat selection, but not with his latest album. I.D. is to thank for that. With solo projects by long time collaborators Common and Kanye West scheduled for 2013,  he should be very busy.

Honorable Mention: Boi-1da, KeY Wane, Cardo, J.U.S.T.I.C.E. League, Just Blaze, araabMUZIK, Sap, Sledgren,  DJ Spinz, Rico Love, SpaceGhostPurrp,  Salaam Remi, Pharell Williams, Jim Jonsin, and Swizz Beatz

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About Lindsey Gamble

Lindsey Gamble is the founder of Hard In The Paint. He has interviewed artists such as Kendrick Lamar, Lil Bibby, Troy Ave, Azizi Gibson, Demrick, Cam Meekins, Mickey Factz, and more. He also writes for and Respect MAG.