21 Under 21: The Songwriter-Producers Behind The Year’s Biggest Hip-Hop Hits
These five hip-hop producers and songwriters have crafted some of the genre's biggest breakout hits this year.
These five hip-hop producers and songwriters have crafted some of the genre’s biggest breakout hits this year.
Hometown: Purmerend, Netherlands
Three years ago, the producer born Kiowa Roukema started making beats using digital audio software FL Studio and selling them online for $20. Now he has landed his biggest hit yet: Lil Nas X’s “Old Town Road.” (He also appears in the music video.) In light of the track’s success, he signed to CashMoneyAP’s production team, Cash Gang, and moved to Los Angeles in July.
Producer Jordan T. Knight grew up playing clarinet and trumpet and loving Chicago hip-hop — he has worked with Polo G, as well as Lil Skies and Lil Tjay. His fusion of skills landed him his big break: co-writing and providing instrumentals for Calboy’s “Envy Me,” which reached No. 31 on the Billboard Hot 100.
Midas800 delivered key-laden production on NLE Choppa’s hit “Shotta Flow,” which peaked at No. 12 on Billboard’s Hot Rap Songs chart. The track’s success caught the attention of rapper Blueface, who jumped on a remix in June. Midas800 also produced and co-wrote Choppa’s follow-up hit, “Capo.”
Hometown: Richmond, Va.
Nick Mira has worked with XXXTentacion, Lil Skies and NBA Youngboy, but his biggest collaboration came in 2017, when he co-wrote and produced Juice WRLD’s breakout hit “Lucid Dreams.” More recently, Mira — who is signed to Taz Taylor’s Internet Money Records, which has a joint-venture deal with Alamo and Interscope — produced Lil Tecca’s “Ransom” and has tracks in the works with Post Malone, YG and Young Thug.
Hometown: Los Angeles
Teo Halm has been in the entertainment industry for a decade, first landing an acting role on a PBS science series. He has since turned his attention to music, and counts Frank Dukes, Michael Uzowuru and Mark Ronson as mentors. Halm has had an impressive year so far, co-producing Rosalía’s “Con Altura” (featuring J Balvin) and “Mood 4 Eva” by Beyoncé, Jay-Z and Childish Gambino. He has also worked with SZA, King Princess and Shawn Mendes.
This article originally appeared in the Sept. 14 issue of Billboard.