Finding The GOAT Producer: Swizz Beatz vs. Timbaland. Who Is Better?
“Finding the GOAT Producer” begins. The third installment of Ambrosia For Heads’s annual battle series features Hip-Hop’s greatest producers vying for the #1 spot. Thirty producers were pre-selected by a panel of experts, and two slots will be reserved for wild-card entries, including the possibility for write-in candidates, to ensure no deserving beat maker is neglected. The contest will consist of six rounds, NCAA basketball-tournament style, commencing with the Top 32, then the Sweet 16 and so on, until one winner is determined. For each battle, two producers (or collective of producers, e.g. The Neptunes) will be pitted against one another to determine which one advances to the next round.
Similar to the presentations in “Finding the GOAT MC” and “Finding the GOAT Album,” for each battle there will be an editorial about each producer that contextualizes the match-up, as well as sample songs, to help voters in their consideration. There also will be a poll in which votes will be cast, and readers will be able to see the % differential in votes, real-time. Though there also will be an enormous amount of debate in comments, on social media, in barbershops and back rooms, which we encourage, only votes cast in the official ballot will count. In prior “Finding the GOAT” battles, just a handful of votes often decided the results, in early and late rounds. So while we want everybody to talk about it, be about it too, with that vote that counts.
Swizz Beatz and Timbaland are two artists whose career trajectories have taken them well above and beyond the title of “producer.” But, as beat-smiths, each contributed much of the soundtrack to a generation (and then some). These two super-producers are each responsible for some of Hip-Hop’s biggest hits but only one can ultimately move forward. Both Timbaland and Swizz Beatz have amassed respectable solo careers. However, these artists have found success developing and supplying peers. Each artist attacked the late 1990s with innovative, electronic sounds that defied the Hip-Hop convention. As sampling grew out of fashion, these artists used keyboards and drum machines to construct their own beats. In turn, they created a sound that bridged the clubs and the streets, and attracted top artists well beyond the confines of Rap music. This battle should be as charged as the music from these two super-producers. Cast your vote below.
In less than 20 years, Swizz Beatz made the keyboard as essential to Hip-Hop production as the sampler. Kasseem Dean fast transformed from an aspiring musician with industry family to a single supplier for DMX, N.O.R.E., Jay Z, and Eve. In time, Swizzy would go from his Bronx beginnings to the top of the charts, with whistles, truck horns, and quickly sliding fingers across the keyboard. The producer was essential to some of the biggest, most commercially successful Rap albums of the last three decades. Even as a prodigy, Swizz was largely at the helm for two #1 albums before Y2K. From there, he would take records by X, Styles P, and T.I. to the top. He also remained deeply attached to all five of Darkman X’s consecutive #1’s. In many ways, the exciting sounds with the undeniable choruses and catch-phrases of Swizz Beatz records are the rocket-fuel for enduring Rap stars. Whether developing Cassidy and Drag-On, reinvigorating the catalogs of Busta Rhymes or Lil Wayne, Swizz can do it all. Over time, the producer has proven that he can create many styles of music, with his greatest instrument being his voice. The Ruff Ryders family member is deeply trusted by music-goers. He knows how to keep bodies in perpetual motion, without ever sacrificing the authenticity of the streets. From Kendrick Lamar and Kanye West to Snoop Dogg and Jay Z, Swizzy is a constant to the biggest Hip-Hop albums released.
Thanks to the incredibly innovative sound of the Virginia producer, Hip-Hop’s first mental association with “Timbaland” is no longer a construction boot. Norfolk’s Timothy Mosley emerged in the ’90s as a regional mixmaster (tka DJ Timmy Tim) who also produced. Like Dr. Dre and Mannie Fresh, patience proved itself with time, and collected interest. Eventually, through work with Jodeci, Aaliyah, and Usher, Tim’ got his foot in the door through Rap-infused R&B. By Missy Elliott’s 1997 breakthrough, Mosley provided Missy a sound as charismatic as her persona. With his own group of Timbaland & Magoo in tow, the producer could sample, he could play keys, and he carefully arranged drums to push Hip-Hop closer to Electronic music than anyone since Mantronix. In the last 20 years since, Timbaland gave Jay Z a pathway out of his starkly NYC-centric beginnings, and has been at his side for multiple makeovers since. Moreover, Timbo’s beats have made proper introductions for not just Missy, but Bubba Sparxxx, Petey Pablo, Drake, and The Game. A listener needn’t a tag, before realizing its trademark inflection. Moreover, like the greats before him, Timbo’ used his own vocals to enhance many a moment. The artist can go fast or slow with his beats, making arrangements that incite sex, violence, and some of the most danced-to records of the last 20 years. To his credit, Tim has some incredible assistance, ranging from Missy to Danjahandz to Kanye West, but has more than proven his sufficiency. Mosely is one of the true chairmen of the mixing board, and one of the leading forces that helped Hip-Hop (and other genres) stay fresh and upbeat.
So who is the better producer? Make sure you vote above.