Finding The GOAT Producer: Pete Rock vs. D.I.T.C. Who Is Better?

“Finding the GOAT Producer,” 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 consists 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) are 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 is editorial about each producer that contextualizes the match-up, as well as sample songs, to help voters in their consideration. There is also a poll in which votes are cast, and readers are 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 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.

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Pete Rock and the Diggin’ In The Crates collective have been at the top of the New York sound for more than 25 years. Both Pete as well as the sonic team of Showbiz, Lord Finesse, Diamond D, and Buckwild hail from above Manhattan (Mount Vernon and The Bronx, respectively). However, each entity showered the city with a number of dusty beats, unforgettable samples, and arrangements that have become classics in Jeeps, Discmans, and home sound-sytems ever since. Both Pete and members of D.I.T.C. worked together on esteemed albums such as Big L’s gold-certified The Big Picture, as well as Method Man & Redman’s Blackout! 2 and Sadat X’s Wild Cowboys. While Pete reached Round 2 by besting one of his disciples in 9th Wonder, Diggin’ rose up to defeat an outfit they mirrored themselves after in The Bomb Squad. Can four boardsmen take down “The Chocolate Boy Wonder,” or will the mighty P.R. leave Diggin’ in the dust? Your vote tracks the winner to Round 3.

Pete Rock

Defeated 9th Wonder in Round 1 (76% to 24%)

To be called “Soul Brother #1,” one has to earn it. Since 1989, Peter Phillips has done just that. By virtue of producing his cousin (Heavy D) and then his own partner (C.L. Smooth), Pete Rock made the smoothest leap from radio to production, with the hardest drums and smoothest samples. Deliberately, Pete connected some of the most lyrically-innovative Hip-Hop ever made with sounds of the 1960s and early ’70s. Like Hip-Hop’s pioneering DJs, the Mount Vernon, New Yorker possesses an other-wordly knowledge of records. In turn, songs like his group’s own “They Reminisce Over You” and “Escape” as well as Nas’ “The World Is Yours” pack a portal to a deep musicality in Hip-Hop. The “Chocolate Boy Wonder” was all mellow moods though. Public Enemy’s “Shut ‘Em Down (Remix)” packed a punch that eclipsed the original, while Rahzel’s “All I Know” shuffles its sound in a manner as charismatic and quirky as the beat-box master. More than just an a la carte producer, Pete has thrived in the remix and taking on whole albums. Whether AZ or Bumpy Knuckles, Ghostface Killah or Rakim, Pete is a master of the boards.

Diggin’ In The Crates (D.I.T.C.)

Defeated The Bomb Squad in Round 1 (56.5% to 43.5%)

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.

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So who is the better producer? Make sure you vote above.