Finding The GOAT Producer: Alchemist vs. Mannie Fresh. 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.
One of the foremost producers of New Orleans’ Bounce music, Mannie Fresh played an integral role in getting the Big Easy on Hip-Hop’s map. His work with Cash Money Records spans over a decade and includes Southern Rap hits like Juvenile’s “Ha,” The Big Tymers’ “Still Fly,” and Lil Wayne’s “Go DJ” Over his 30-year career, he has helped the Third Coast loom large through collaborations with Baby, Bun B., B.G., The Hot Boys, T.I., and T-Pain. Works with Mack10 and Yasiin Bey have proven his Southern sensibilities can be just as “gangsta” or “Hip-Hop” as anyone. Alchemist’s body of work reaches back to the 1990s and includes a veritable list of who’s who in underground Hip-Hop, but also sports work with some of Rap’s biggest names. Everyone from Cormega to Snoop Dogg has worked with Alc, and in the last 12 months alone, he’s produced for MC Eiht (“Supply”), Curren$y (The Carrollton Heist), ScHoolboy Q (“Kno Ya Wrong”), and many more. Though very different in their sounds, Mannie Fresh and Alchemist are arguably two of the greatest producers of all time. But which one moves forward?
Mentored by Havoc and DJ Muggs, Alchemist set a gold standard young in his career. The onetime co-founder of the Whooliganz relocated from Southern California to New York City in the late ’90s. There, he started lacing Mobb Deep, Dilated Peoples, and Casual with dusty loops and knocking drums. That foundation attracted Jadakiss, Nas, and Cam’ron to Alan The Chemist’s science of sound. Like DJ Premier and Dr. Dre, Alan Maman is devoted to the underground and emerging talent, as much as he is placing singles with Rap’s A-list. Moreover, in recent years, the Venice, California-based producer’s output has increased to ramming speed. The Shady Records DJ/producer has overseen whole projects with his Gangrene and Stepbrothers groups, in addition to Action Bronson, Durag Dynasty, and a Havoc project. As much as any producer in today’s Hip-Hop climate, ALC’s name on a project can sell it, and make it stand taller in a crowded field.
For nearly 30 years, Mannie Fresh was a forefather of New Orleans’ Bounce music sound. By the late 1990s, he translated that booming bass and special effects to hits with Cash Money Records. Behind the emergence of Lil Wayne, Juvenile, B.G., and the Big Tymers was one constant: Byron Thomas. The former DJ would eventually part ways with his label, opening his doors to hits for T.I., Young Jeezy, and Bun B. As much as any label in-house stalwart, Mannie solely and completely produced a number of albums that dominated the charts and the Hip-Hop consciousness. His sound was one that largely avoided samplers, and created club, car, and cookout anthems with sheer talent and technology. By virtue of closely mentoring Lil Wayne, Mannie would groom the self-proclaimed “Best Rapper Alive,” and light a pathway through the first Carter. With new work with Yasiin Bey, Mannie continues to find fresh collaborators that play with his standout, infectious tracks.
So who is the better producer? Make sure you vote above.