NO I.D has been holding it down in Hip-hop for a long time now, and one might can say he is slightly underrated. Maybe it’s his cool and humble demeanor, which gives the impression that he fly somewhat under the radar. He doesn’t come across as the overly boisterous type, but rather let the music speak for itself. And his music had been doing a lot of speaking. Throughout his career NO I.D. ( who’s moniker is a play of his real name, Dion)  has produced some notable singles like; “Smile by G-Unit, “Heartless by Kanye West, “ D.O.A, (Death of Autotune, & “Run This Town” on Jay Z’s Blueprint 3 album; “Find Your Love” by Drake, ‘’Control” by Big Sean (and the infamous Kendrick verse), and “Bound 2” also by Kanye.

Let’s shift our focus to the now in 2017. The reason I’m acknowledging No I.D as one of the hottest producers for 2017 is because of his work done on Jay Z’s 4:44. Hov and Dion came together to create a 10 track opus that’s arguably one of the best hip-hop projects of the year. Some rap critics even say the project is one of Hov’s best bodies of work in his impressive collection. Although the album didn’t spur any massive singles, it is still a well-rounded project overall, which frankly is a microcosm of NO I.D.s entire career. Meaning he won’t typically give artists Billboard chart topping singles, but he is best at taking a project from conception to finish, producing a solid critically acclaimed project from beginning to end. Some of No I.D.’s most notable work was working with Common earlier on his career, where he did exactly that. Dion produce Common’s entire second album Resurrection, and most of the follow up album One Day It’ll All Make Sense. He would later joined forces with Common again in more recent times, producing his albums The Dreamer/The Believer,  and Nobody’s Smiling in its entirety.

This style of producing; when one producer handles most or all of the production on an album, was more of the norm in the 90s and early 2000s. It’s different in comparisons to now where an artist have multiple producers on a project. The benefits in having one producer is that it maintains a fluid and cohesive feel throughout the project. This cohesiveness is apparent in 4:44, No I.D.’s jazzy, soulful samples provided the perfect soundtrack for Hov’s smooth shit talk. Dion’s skill at producing whole projects with such coherence, is what most likely led to him becoming Def Jam’s Executive VP of A&R. Dion is also executive producing projects released under his own imprint, Artium which is home to artists such as, Common, Jhene Aiko, Vince Staples, and Logic. With a roster as impressive as that, I’m sure we will continue to see NO I.D. on best producers lists in the near future.


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