Apart from Dilla, Dre, Kanye, and handful of others, producers rarely rise from behind the boards to achieve the same kind of recognition that recording artists garner for their hits. Not that vocalists don’t deserve credit for their tracks, but we're timing out to show some love to the producers for their hard work and artistry creating beats, fine-tuning vocals, and adding that extra something special to the songs we keep on repeat.
Especially in South Florida, producers have made massive contributions to the music we’re so proud of. Among the wave of talent coming up on the underground South Florida scene, the 10 best producers who make up this list not only prove their skill in the studio, but also have the credits to show for it.
IndigoChildRick quickly made a name for himself in 2015 as one of the emerging voices of South Florida with his self-produced track, "Retribution." The 20-year-old rapper writes, produces, and stars in his own visuals, putting him at the top of our underground producer list. With only six years of producing under his belt, he's racked up credits with Robb Bank$ and Childish Gambino and describes his style as "a gradient fade from black, to dark purple, then pink to baby blue." He tells us "a producer should always break rules."
You’ve probably seen Nuri DJing at your girlfriend’s favorite party, but he also has a long list of production credits. He’s known for working closely with IndigoChildRick, Robb Banks$, Denzel Curry, and Pouya, creating different styles to fit each artist. “Less is more, create your own sound,” says Nuri. He uses this tactic to stay on top of the game.
3. The Silence Killers
The Silence Killers have been killing the game in Miami for the past five years. The collective includes Parris Pierce, LeMieux, and Z, and they all bring something different to the table. In fact, it’s what they live by. “Be yourself. Don’t be afraid to be different,” says Parris Pierce, in terms of their production style. TSK strives to create a different feel for their long list of credits, contributing to projects by songstress Kilo Kish, rapper Father of Awful Records, South Florida rapper Cherele, and rising West Coast rapper/R&B artist Anderson Paak, to name a few.
“If you make music that makes you happy, sure enough that will shine through," says West Palm Beach producer Christopher Wishlade. "Don’t be afraid to experiment.” The 27-year-old has collaborated with R&B princess Venus Amor and Miami hip-hop artists Sin and Sylvan LaCue. Currently, he’s spending the majority of his time executive producing for Sylvan and his Wise Up music group. Now that he's putting the finishing touches on a classic hip-hop album, he has the time to create instrumental albums of his own.
5. Henry Daher
Henry Daher quickly turned himself to a SoFla household name after producing tracks for local heavy-hitters like Robb Bank$ and Wifi’s Funeral, and big crowd favorites like Curren$y, Styles P, Tailb Kweli, and G-Eazy. The 25-year-old has been producing for eight years and has touched more artists than many of the underground greats. Last year, Daher spoke at producer panel at Tampa hip-hop fest and conference TakeOffxLanding, enlightening upcoming producers about the music industry.
6. Ronny J
“Hard work pays off always,” says Ronny J. His hard work landed him notable credits with South Florida rappers Yung Simmie, Robb Bank$, and Denzel Curry. Since touching his first set of production equipment in 2011, he hasn’t let up — and it pays to be consistent. Originally from South Jersey, the Broward-based producer brings an outside perspective to the South Florida scene, effortlessly bringing his own style while honoring the sounds of his artists. A high point in his career so far includes producing Denzel Curry's aggressive and addictive breakout track "Threatz," which features Yung Simmie and Robb Bank$, and made it all the way to MTV. We’re expecting to hear that track played on the radio soon.
7. Nick Léon
Nick Léon provides the versatility we all want in a producer. He can give live to an alternative sound like The Loft’s "Glass Walls" and quickly switch up the beat to ULT by Denzel Curry. At 22, he's managed to land a spot on Dope Entertainment’s producer panel and executive produce Evermore’s The Underachievers album. “I was involved in the entire process, from conception to delivery. I was in charge of the direction and flow of the entire album,” says Léon. While working hard on those projects, he also makes time to contribute to his own instrumentals. He sticks to his motto of “Make whatever the fuck you want,” and it works for him.
“You’re worth more than a $50 beat,” says BulletProofSole, a Broward County producer. The Lauderdale Lakes native has only produced for three years, but knows his work is quality. He works closely with Kodak Black and has racked up credits with 1WayFrank, Reese, and Lyon Medallion. Because he listens to a varity of different genres, he’s able to produce something different every time. At the moment, he’s working on adding credits under his belt and hoping for a call from Kanye West pretty soon.
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Fredrick Cuevas started his music career as an engineer almost 10 years ago, but has been producing for the last five. This gives him the advantage of having recorded a number one track and going straight to the production phase. In five years, he's managed to bless the records of Venus Amor, Farrah Abraham, the Jackie Boyz, and JuilaxG, all based on word-of-mouth. “Word-of-mouth is everything, especially for a freelancer like myself,” says Cuevas as he gears up for travel in 2016. Word of mouth also landed him a chance to play a record for Jamie Foxx. “I was working out of Audacity Studios one night while Jamie Foxx was in the main room. On his way out, I saw him pass by the door but he didn't really make eye contact with me," Cuevas says. "Within a few seconds he came back and into my room and asked me if I produce. Nervously, I told him I was working on a remix. I played him a "Russian Roulette" Rihanna remix that I was working on and he loved it. We chopped it up and he had his bodyguard trade info with me to send him records.” The rest is history.
10. Benji Armstrong
Benji Armstrong has produced off-and-on for almost three years, but he’s back on again with a few well-produced gems we love. Based in Broward, the 21-year-old producer fine-tuned the tracks of Key Nyata, Koi Kurama, and SolomonDaGod, and has accomplished all of this by staying focused. “Do not get caught up in all the 'look at me, look at me' stuff a lot of cats in the music game are doing. It's okay to scope and support every once in awhile, but don’t allow anyone to shift your personal focus or downsize your ambitions,” he says.