Hit-Boy has been a bonafide superproducer since the dawn of the last decade, when Jay-Z and Kanye West’s 2011 banger “N-ggas in Paris” announced him as one of music’s most exciting new beat architects. His resume is a laundry list of some of your favorite artists’ biggest smashes (“Flawless” for Beyoncé, “Sicko Mode” for Travis Scott) and their best album cuts (Drake’s “Trophies,” Rihanna’s “Watch n’ Learn.”)
But he’s in the midst of a crazy second wind lately. Locking in with Nas yielded the legendary rapper his first Best Rap Album Grammy and five more acclaimed albums after that. His own burgeoning rap career has yielded fun moments like “Slipping Into Darkness,” where he and Alchemist spit over each other’s beats. And his father Big Hit, an archetypal West Coast OG in the most endearing way possible, is out of jail and hard at work with his son—shortly after releasing an album completely produced by young Hit, father and son dropped a nine-track collab project with Game birthed from just one night of recording sessions.
Hit often ruminates on how his career could’ve been even bigger if he played the game differently—if he’d added a tag so casual listeners would always know his work, since no two beats of his sound the same, or yelled about his achievements and placements rather than just putting his head down and doing the work. But the choices he made still led him here: being nominated for Producer of the Year at the 2024 Grammys. He’s ready to puff his chest a little bit.
“I’m really making shit that’s off-the-cuff, and just what I’m feeling at the moment,” Hit says. “So, for me to be in consideration, I think that’s already a huge W, because everybody else… they got The Weeknd, Taylor Swift, the biggest artists in the world over their beats. Which is dope. But at the same time, I’m coming from the gutter with this shit. I’m coming off the muscle. I’m coming with, definitely the most solo credits out of any of the other nominees.”
While in the midst of a prolific, productive run that’s showing no signs of slowing down just yet, Hi-Boy compiled a playlist of songs that keep him inspired today, some that taught him valuable lessons about the industry, and some that show where he’s headed next.
Ice Cube, “It Was a Good Day”
I was probably four or five years old, but I knew every word to that song. That was the first rap song I could recite. My [family] was definitely heavy on NWA, Cube, Snoop, all that. Actually, I was around [Cube] when I was younger, because my uncle was in a group, so they used to hang around with different celebrities and shit. But I haven’t seen him again since I’ve been Hit-Boy.
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