Anatomy of a hip-hop song: Local producers weigh in on what it takes to make a great track

Categories: Profiles

Thumbnail image for bb1_producers.jpg
David Lang / Red Bull Photofiles
Boonie Mayfield (top) and Xperiment Beats
The term "producer" has very different connotations in the worlds of rock and hip-hop. Although they're both instrumental in shaping the sound, they serve very different functions.

Generally speaking, in rock, a producer plays a variety of roles, everything from acting as an artistic filter to being an almost shaman like spiritual consultant, coaxing the best, most authentic performance out of an artist, to even pitching in on the songwriting and instrumentation.

In hip-hop, meanwhile, although a producer can -- and does -- certainly take on those roles, as well, essentially, he's also the architect of the beat, laying the foundation of a song before a single hook is created or a single line is spit.

In advance of tonight's Red Bull Big Tune finals in Chicago, a national competition of the country's best producers, in which Boonie Mayfield and Xperiment Beats are both representing Colorado, Ru Johnson penned a feature in this week's issue breaking down all the elements of great production.

In the process of putting the piece together, Ru spoke with nearly a dozen emerging local producers to get their thoughts on the elements of great production, what it takes to make a dope beat and how they keep from making the same song over and over again. Click through to watch interviews with Boonie and Xperiment and to read the other interviews we did in their entirety.

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