For a man that so grandiosely praises himself, Kanye West has also brought a whole buncha people with him to the top – and basically all of them have managed their finances a lot better BADOOM-PSHHH! While the rappers he works with get their moment of spotlight, the producers and artists on the track rarely get as much play as they deserve. His new album The Life of Pablo is Kanye’s most eclectic, off-the-wall, disjointed piece yet, and the producers he brought on deck are some of the best, hard-to-find talent out right now.
Ever the spokespeople of the underground, IHC has compiled this handy guide of the quiet geniuses that helped Mr. West become the massively successful and simultaneously humongous trainwreck of a person he is.
1. Cashmere Cat
Longtime IHC favorite Cashmere Cat is quite literally at this very moment moving up to the big leagues. The Norwegian producer has had a huge two years, producing tracks for R. Kelly, Ty Dolla Sign (or does he go by Ty $? Why you gonna make me type out “dolla sign” and why can’t I use the r?!), and Miguel before Kanye released the Cat co-produced “Wolves” months ago. The song has taken a few different iterations – one with Vic Mensa and Sia, one with Frank Ocean – but all of them have Cat on the track. Keep an eye open, because he’s also slated to be on a Britney Spears track this year.
This is where I’d put a link to “Wolves” for you to listen to – but there are none. Seriously. Try finding one anywhere. So here’s some other Cat:
Venezuelan producer Arca‘s list is short but impressive, going from zero to Kanye in about three minutes. He was all over Yeezus, not only a producer of four different tracks including the v v critically acclaimed “Blood On The Leaves” and the impossibly hard “Send It Up,” but also one of the three production consultants, having a large creative control on the weeeirdest Kanye album ever. Since, he’s worked with IHC heartthrob Kelela and Björk, and we all know that that Björk credit is a one-way ticket to the inner circle.
Hudson Mohawke (not his real name, but oooo-WEE what a name) went from far-corner-of-the-internet cult sensation to deeply ingrained in the public’s ears when he produced “Mercy,” which was played every minute on the minute for about 8 months straight. He was suddenly all over the G.O.O.D. album Cruel Summer, stayed around for Yeezus, and was on four different TLOP tracks, including the controversial ~ahh Taylor Swift!~ “Famous,” where the world learned that even after a twelve years, we still act surprised when Kanye does something offensive.
DJ Dodger Stadium – but what city are they from? – or DJDS are actually the duo of Samo Soundboy and Jerome LOL, because who needs grammatical accuracy anymore. In a genuinely inspiring story told best by the LA Times, DJDS were called in from obscurity for a little bit of creative input, and left after having five songs on TLOP including that hot fire “Ultralight Beam,” being used as inspiration to refresh Kanye’s sampling. After being at ground zero during those tumultuous 48 hours leading up to the release – I’m just wondering why they didn’t keep Kanye off Twitter.
In an interview with Billboard, Jerome LOL cited Kanye as one of their biggest inspiration, and mentioned though while it was nerve-wracking to work with him, “He’s really focused on creative energy. Everything was about creative and positive energy. It was really a presence to be around. We felt like we really understood where the project was coming from and the passion that was surrounding it.”
5. Evian Christ
You can thank Christ (yup, I did it) for what is the scariest beat on the already pretty scary Yeezus: “I”m in it.” Like, that’s a terrifying album – I get it, “art” and all that, but that shit is very scary sounding. And “I’m In It” has that super spooky porno sample too, the whole track sounds like devil sex in a cave. After the production assist on Yeezus Kanye ended up signing Evian Christ to his publishing house DONDA, and I’m not sure what a publishing house is, but that’s cool.
Twenty year-old Mitus seems to have skipped the whole “amateur” phase, going from nothing to producing Rihanna and Kanye overnight, and his beats are gothic in the leather-clad dom way only those two artists can be (you know exactly what I’m talking about). He’s behind BGRR’s (…bad girl ri ri) “Goodnight Gotham” and has teased an upcoming track “The Deep End” while making the very, very sad Weeknd featured “FML” for TLOP. Forgive the excessive acronyms.