Finding The GOAT Producer: The Bomb Squad vs. DITC. 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.
The Bomb Squad and Diggin’ In The Crates crew are two of Hip-Hop’s most celebrated production collectives, and both are battling it out for your votes. Alongside Public Enemy, The Bomb Squad is responsible for some of Rap’s earliest and loudest dances with controversy, but the Long Island, New York outfit also created memorable records for Doug E. Fresh, Eric B & Rakim, Ice Cube, LL Cool J, Slick Rick, and many more. Also growing out of New York City’s explosive street culture was D.I.T.C., who put on for Hip-Hop’s birthplace by not only lacing group members Big L, Lord Finesse, and Fat Joe with classic solo material (and posse albums) but also contributing to albums from Dr. Dre, The Fugees, Game, The Notorious B.I.G., and more. As tremendous as each of these crew’s impact was on defining the Hip-Hop canon, there’s only room for one in this competition. Who moves forward?
The Bomb Squad
Together, Hank Shocklee, Keith Shocklee, Eric “Vietnam” Sadler, Gary “G-Wiz” Rinaldo, Chuck D, and Bill Stephney were “Louder Than A Bomb.” This Long Island, New York collective turned sample-based music-making into a literal assembly line. They parsed out tasks to each member, combing their works together for a sound as layered and aggressive as the messages of artists like Public Enemy and Ice Cube. Although the outfit held together less than 10 years in total, contributions to albums like It Takes A Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back, AmeriKKKa’s Most Wanted, and Fear of a Black Planet are proud stones in the sands of Hip-Hop history. They were some of the first producers to attract a top-of-the-level MC to break coastal boundaries in search of their talent. Layering samples atop one another ahead of De La Soul and Paul’s Boutique, this collective basked in re-purposing sounds for fresh causes. Outside of close associations to P.E. and Cube, the outfit made work-for-hire hits such as Eric B. & Rakim’s “Juice (Know The Ledge),” 3rd Bass’ “Steppin’ To The A.M.,” and Slick Rick’s “Teenage Love.” Not everything was as in-your-ears as the onslaught of Public Enemy hits, but so many works had a massive level of polish. While The Bomb Squad was clearly a Hip-Hop act, they achieved several hits in R&B and Pop. While Hank and Keith co-produced (with D/R Period) P.E.’s last radio smash, Chuck D and G-Wiz have remained attached to much of P.E.’s production the last 15 years.
Diggin’ In The Crates
Showbiz, Lord Finesse, Diamond D, and Buckwild have carried on the tradition of having some of Hip-Hop’s most important music hail from The Bronx, New York. Mentored since the late ’80s by Jazzy Jay (Afrika Bambaataa’s DJ), this collective (also including Big L, Fat Joe, A.G., and O.C. as vocalists) upheld the tenants of recycling hard-to-reach records in the most clever ways possible. Within their own catalog, albums like Stunts, Blunts, & Hip Hop, Runaway Slave, and O.C.’s Word…Life are true in-house masterpieces. D.I.T.C. did just that, and dug deeper than most to find filthy drums, dusty organs, and vibrant vibraphones. Beyond their own celebrated individual and group releases within the clique, members of this collective (who almost always work alone) are responsible for hits like Black Rob’s “Whoa,” KRS-One’s “Sound of da Police,” and Brand Nubian’s “Punks Jump Up To Get Beat Down.” Even when the individual tracks weren’t marketed to radio, Diggin’ gets dirty on classic albums like Biggie’s Ready To Die, Game’s The Documentary, Dr. Dre’s 2001, and The Fugees’ The Score. Moreover, Diggin’ crafted emerging talent with finesse (pun intended), from Big Pun to Capone-N-Noreaga, Xzibit to The Artifacts. These are the men who have made some of the most coveted tracks of the 1990s and beyond, the chairman of the boards when it comes to gettin’ your fingers dusty.
So who is the better producer? Make sure you vote above.