Kanye West vs. Pharrell
This is a dream matchup that's been floated on Twitter for years. The proposition has compelling cases on both sides: Whether you're a fan of Kanye West's soul samples that transition into the futuristic chaos a la Yeezus, or Pharrell's robust body of work including his credits as one half of The Neptunes, a Ye versus Skateboard P matchup would be a dream battle for the ages.
Dr. Dre vs. DJ Premier
These are two godfathers of producing, and a match of this magnitude would be history in the making. Can you imagine Dr. Dre running through his array of G-funk West Coast classics, and DJ Premier countering with scratches over Biggie's "Ten Crack Commandments"? For those who grew up in the midst of rap's golden era, this is akin to boxing's Muhammad Ali versus Joe Frazier bout, and it comes more than three decades into a pair of historic careers.
Metro Boomin' vs. Mustard
If you Google a hit rap song from the past 10 years, there's a good chance that you'll find Metro Boomin' or DJ Mustard as the architect behind the beat. Two of the most recognizable tags in the game, Metro's thumping 808s fueled Atlanta's takeover, while Mustard's formulaic bounce laid the blueprint to radio success. One thing is for sure: Just about every millennial would rip the battle's playlist for their next pre-game.
Madlib vs. RZA
This would be a battle for hip-hop purists: on one side, the Wu-Tang master who paints beats like Picasso; on the other is Madlib, who sculpts his soulful production with precision in the basement of a warehouse. In 2019, Madlib proved he's still on top of his game when producing the entirety of his Bandana joint project alongside Freddie Gibbs, which went on to be one of the most acclaimed efforts of the year.
London on Da Track vs. Southside
These are two trap producers who used to run around in the same Atlanta circles while climbing the hip-hop ladder and improving their craft. It's always fun when high-powered offenses face off, and that's what we have here between these two hitmakers. Would London's icy keys or Southside's cinematic production win out?
Mannie Fresh vs. Pete Rock
Here's another duo that has a case for the GOAT title. Mannie Fresh pumped out hit after hit during Cash Money's late '90s and early 2000s run, as he probably ran out of space in storage with all of the plaques being sent to his door. Just a handful of years prior, Pete Rock cemented his legacy as a renowned crate-digger who made magic and chopped up soul samples from his SP-1200. Oh, and he's J-Dilla's favorite producer ever.
Sonny Digital vs. Lex Luger
At times, it feels as if Sonny and Lex could be glossed over when it comes to name-dropping hip-hop's best producers. A beat battle between them should refresh the general public's memory when it comes to what kind of firepower and versatility each boasts in their arsenal. Let's make sure we give SD and the 808 Mafia co-founder their flowers, as a battle might be the perfect place to jump-start that movement.