How did beat-makers gain the title of Producer?

canonicalcanonical 2,100 Posts
edited January 2006 in Music Talk
This has always eluded me, however I'm assuming that there is some historic reason unless I have misunderstood the meaning of producer.From what I know, the "Producer" is responsible for coordinating the band and directing their "sound". This may or may not include writing songs, playing instruments, or other things of the sort. However, in rap, it seems that all one has to do is make a beat and they get a producer credit. There are some beat-makers that take on the producer role as it is intended to be used (like Dr. Dre, Pete Rock, DJ Premier). But for the most part if you submit a beat, you get a "producer" credit.I always thought this was just because they "produced" the beat. So how come they don't just get a "beat" credit, rather than a producer credit?Does my confusion make sense? I know a lot of people in the industry post on here, maybe you can give me some historical perspective
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  • But for the most part if you submit a beat, you get a "producer" credit.


    I've always found that strange too! Does that mean you could get writers royalities just because you've suggested a nice beat that your Hip Hop producer friend goes on to use?

    Easy money!


  • the answer is five-fold. you can look it at like this:

    if your grandparents were born here or raised your parents here then we'll blame them for the baby boom which is/will wreak havoc on social security, medicaid and all the other sissy ish the nation hands out. the population is still tippin' contrary to the claim that it's approaching the tipping point. similiarly, when djs blew up on the streets and airwaves kids listened, and followed. 'yo, thats my joint. hes the man.' read: Im gonna make it big. In the rush of the moment they failed to clarify the delicate semantical differences between the terms you mentioned. that wasn't there fault. rather, overzealous dudes rushed for instant glory, just like your grandparents, and it was too late to correct the issue. and now look at the problems we have.

    Let's hope for 2 things. That the President stress abstinence and more importantly, one SS rep step up with a knowledge droppin pamphlet that succintly explains the game so that our brothers in the mideast dont grow up as ignorantly as our current younth generation.

  • CaMKIIaCaMKIIa 269 Posts
    the answer is five-fold. you can look it at like this:

    this entire explanation is

  • canonicalcanonical 2,100 Posts
    the answer is five-fold. you can look it at like this:

    if your grandparents were born here or raised your parents here then we'll blame them for the baby boom which is/will wreak havoc on social security, medicaid and all the other sissy ish the nation hands out. the population is still tippin' contrary to the claim that it's approaching the tipping point. similiarly, when djs blew up on the streets and airwaves kids listened, and followed. 'yo, thats my joint. hes the man.' read: Im gonna make it big. In the rush of the moment they failed to clarify the delicate semantical differences between the terms you mentioned. that wasn't there fault. rather, overzealous dudes rushed for instant glory, just like your grandparents, and it was too late to correct the issue. and now look at the problems we have.

    Let's hope for 2 things. That the President stress abstinence and more importantly, one SS rep step up with a knowledge droppin pamphlet that succintly explains the game so that our brothers in the mideast dont grow up as ignorantly as our current younth generation.


    I mean that seriously, and in an entertaining way.

    I can understand what you're saying, but wouldn't a major label assign the artist a producer? And in this manner, wouldn't they get the credit for being a producer? Sometimes I think the A&R became the rap-producers.

  • I actually agree with you on this one. Many people are just simply "beat-makers" and don't deserve the "producer" title.

    The term "producer" has been historically reserved for people who serve a variety of purposes. Some times the "producer" named on a record was merely the person who bank-rolled the release. So I think this has always been sort of a gray area.

    The best way I can illustrate what the difference between a "beat-maker" and a "producer" is to me is to give you a reference: listen to Jay-Z's "The Black Album" song by song and for the most part it sounds like Jay-Z is just rocking over instrumentals. But when you get to 99 Problems, things change drastically, and everything just jels - from the vibe of the song to its arrangement, everything. That's because it was produced by Rick Ruben and he did his job as a producer and not just a "beat-maker."

  • m_dejeanm_dejean 2,945 Posts
    I think it would be safe to say that a fair amount of hiphop producers/beatmakers in the post drum machine/synth/sampler era (83-85 and on) would have been ass-out without the aid of some topnotch studio engineers who could arguably be called the actual producers (in the original sense of the word).

  • bull_oxbull_ox 5,056 Posts
    "executive producer"
    "engineer"
    "co-engineer"
    "mixer"

  • "executive producer"
    "engineer"
    "co-engineer"
    "mixer"

    Engineer, co-engineer and mixer all refer to the person "mixing" a record. The term "producer" is a bit more metaphysical.

    The engineer is the knob-turner and applies to a very specific duty - mixing/engineering the record, and these guys are typically always called out correctly in album credits because it's a lot more cut-and-dry than being a producer.

  • bull_oxbull_ox 5,056 Posts
    "executive producer"
    "engineer"
    "co-engineer"
    "mixer"

    Engineer, co-engineer and mixer all refer to the person "mixing" a record. The term "producer" is a bit more metaphysical.

    I'm talking about all these terms, along with producer, being muddled together... 'engineer' and 'mixer' are specific in terms of whats being done, but sometimes this person is who would be called the 'producer'

    I stopped caring about these differences a while back..

  • bull_oxbull_ox 5,056 Posts
    Oh and sometimes (esp old rap records) the credited 'engineer' is the one who hooked the beat up...

  • "executive producer"
    "engineer"
    "co-engineer"
    "mixer"

    Engineer, co-engineer and mixer all refer to the person "mixing" a record. The term "producer" is a bit more metaphysical.

    I'm talking about all these terms, along with producer, being muddled together... 'engineer' and 'mixer' are specific in terms of whats being done, but sometimes this person is who would be called the 'producer'

    I stopped caring about these differences a while back..

    And rightly so. I mean, unless you've have been mistakingly/wrongfully credited personally, there's really no reason to care about this shit...

  • canonicalcanonical 2,100 Posts
    I was hoping that there would be some historical reason for this, which is what interested me.

  • bull_oxbull_ox 5,056 Posts
    At some point in the recent past "remix" became redefined as "different people rapping" but I don't think there's any interesting history behind that... these things just happen...

  • m_dejeanm_dejean 2,945 Posts
    "executive producer"
    "engineer"
    "co-engineer"
    "mixer"

    Engineer, co-engineer and mixer all refer to the person "mixing" a record. The term "producer" is a bit more metaphysical.

    The engineer is the knob-turner and applies to a very specific duty - mixing/engineering the record, and these guys are typically always called out correctly in album credits because it's a lot more cut-and-dry than being a producer.

    I know this is the 'classic' way of viewing it, but I believe there must have been many situations where hiphop-producers just didn't have a clue of how to make things happen in a studio, having limited technical chops and only a vague idea of how to oversee a recording, besides wanting it to "sound bangin'".

    I think this is where the engineer, being the only studio heavy, had to jump in and do more than just knob-twisting, helping the artists make their tracks work from the get-go, even if this was not his job. Enhancing weak beats, tightening shit up, adding nuances to songs, refining arrangements, steering groups in the right direction. A guy like Paul C comes to mind.

    I guess this might have been more the case in the 80s/early 90s before equipment started getting cheaper and artists really started upping their knowledge of the of record production process. Older heads who where actually there back then: correct me if I'm rambling here

  • "executive producer"
    "engineer"
    "co-engineer"
    "mixer"

    Engineer, co-engineer and mixer all refer to the person "mixing" a record. The term "producer" is a bit more metaphysical.

    The engineer is the knob-turner and applies to a very specific duty - mixing/engineering the record, and these guys are typically always called out correctly in album credits because it's a lot more cut-and-dry than being a producer.

    I know this is the 'classic' way of viewing it, but I believe there must have been many situations where hiphop-producers just didn't have a clue of how to make things happen in a studio, having limited technical chops and only a vague idea of how to oversee a recording, besides wanting it to "sound bangin'".

    I think this is where the engineer, being the only studio heavy, had to jump in and do more than just knob-twisting, helping the artists make their tracks work from the get-go, even if this was not his job. Enhancing weak beats, tightening shit up, adding nuances to songs, refining arrangements, steering groups in the right direction. A guy like Paul C comes to mind.

    I guess this might have been more the case in the 80s/early 90s before equipment started getting cheaper and artists really started upping their knowledge of the of record production process. Older heads who where actually there back then: correct me if I'm rambling here

    No, you're right about that. In the late '80s and early '90s engineers were definitely wearing more than one hat at times. But they were still normally credited as being the engineer as opposed to the producer because that was their primary job. Certain things go with territory. You could be a school principle, just because you empty your own trash it doesn't make you a janitor.

    Btw, enhancing weak beats, tightening shit up and adding nuances to songs is an engineer's job. That's why you take your production work to him in the first place, and that's what he's getting paid to do. If he's an experienced engineer and thinks the producer's arrangement could be better, he may suggest making a change or two, but I don't necessarily think he deserves to be credited as a "producer" or "arranger" because of that. Afterall, when it comes to art, everybody has a fucking opinion about how you should change YOUR art to fit THEIR vision. If you gave every Tom, Dick and Joe credit for some bullshit advice they gave you, you wouldn't even have room for coverart!


  • m_dejeanm_dejean 2,945 Posts
    "executive producer"
    "engineer"
    "co-engineer"
    "mixer"

    Engineer, co-engineer and mixer all refer to the person "mixing" a record. The term "producer" is a bit more metaphysical.

    The engineer is the knob-turner and applies to a very specific duty - mixing/engineering the record, and these guys are typically always called out correctly in album credits because it's a lot more cut-and-dry than being a producer.

    I know this is the 'classic' way of viewing it, but I believe there must have been many situations where hiphop-producers just didn't have a clue of how to make things happen in a studio, having limited technical chops and only a vague idea of how to oversee a recording, besides wanting it to "sound bangin'".

    I think this is where the engineer, being the only studio heavy, had to jump in and do more than just knob-twisting, helping the artists make their tracks work from the get-go, even if this was not his job. Enhancing weak beats, tightening shit up, adding nuances to songs, refining arrangements, steering groups in the right direction. A guy like Paul C comes to mind.

    I guess this might have been more the case in the 80s/early 90s before equipment started getting cheaper and artists really started upping their knowledge of the of record production process. Older heads who where actually there back then: correct me if I'm rambling here

    No, you're right about that. In the late '80s and early '90s engineers were definitely wearing more than one hat at times. But they were still normally credited as being the engineer as opposed to the producer because that was their primary job. Certain things go with territory. You could be a school principle, just because you empty your own trash it doesn't make you a janitor.

    Btw, enhancing weak beats, tightening shit up and adding nuances to songs is an engineer's job. That's why you take your production work to him in the first place, and that's what he's getting paid to do. If he's an experienced engineer and thinks the producer's arrangement could be better, he may suggest making a change or two, but I don't necessarily think he deserves to be credited as a "producer" or "arranger" because of that. Afterall, when it comes to art, everybody has a fucking opinion about how you should change YOUR art to fit THEIR vision. If you gave every Tom, Dick and Joe credit for some bullshit advice they gave you, you wouldn't even have room for coverart!


    True dat???

  • is it me, or do white people always feel the need to de-value the work of black people?? It's very interesting you didn't include Rick Rubin, The Dust Brothers & shadow in your post....







    Let the flood gates begin

  • is it me, or do white people always feel the need to de-value the work of black people?? It's very interesting you didn't include Rick Rubin, The Dust Brothers & shadow in your post....



    Let the flood gates begin

    No, it's not just you. Yes, white people have very often felt the need to de-value the work of black people, especially in regards to black music such as blues, jazz, and hip-hop.

    And I find it very interesting that you should mention Rick Ruben, The Dust Brothers, and DJ Shadow - all of whom are white - after making such a brilliantly observant point.

    Well done.

  • And I find it very interesting that you should mention Rick Ruben, The Dust Brothers, and DJ Shadow - all of whom are white - after making such a brilliantly observant point.

    & I think Shadow shouldn't even be included in the same breath as the other two......

  • And I find it very interesting that you should mention Rick Ruben, The Dust Brothers, and DJ Shadow - all of whom are white - after making such a brilliantly observant point.

    & I think Shadow shouldn't even be included in the same breath as the other two......

    If you're implying that Shadow is of a lesser calibre, then yes, I would agree with that. Not to say that I'm a huge Dust Brothers fan, I just never really cared for Shadow all that much.

    But I would certainly mention MANY black producers before mentioning The Dust Brothers. I mean, let's be honest here.

  • But I would certainly mention MANY black producers before mentioning The Dust Brothers. I mean, let's be honest here.

    oh no doubt, but people find cats like them SOOOOO amazing for sampling Kiss records. Like sheer fucking brilliance for mining your collection of records you grew up with to make beats.

  • But I would certainly mention MANY black producers before mentioning The Dust Brothers. I mean, let's be honest here.

    oh no doubt, but people find cats like them SOOOOO amazing for sampling Kiss records. Like sheer fucking brilliance for mining your collection of records you grew up with to make beats.

    LOL.

    Kiss.

  • canonicalcanonical 2,100 Posts
    is it me, or do white people always feel the need to de-value the work of black people?? It's very interesting you didn't include Rick Rubin, The Dust Brothers & shadow in your post....



    Let the flood gates begin
    I don't understand where this came from (unless this is in reference to what Lyn_Ness was saying)?

    I wasn't de-valuing any "producers" work, I was just being curious about how this came to be.

  • I wasn't de-valuing any "producers" work, I was just being curious about how this came to be.

    Then it's also curious you didn't stumble upon this notion in regards to the producers of punk banks, dance music and all experimental music. The advances in technology diminished the need to have live people play music. So when Peter Gabriel uses that technology to make The Last Temptation Of Christ doesn't mean it's that more of an involved "production" than however basic you might think Evil Dee & Mr Walt's "productions" are to the records they made. It simply has little to do with the fact both created and guided the vision that became the final product on their records.

    Bruce Springsteen has pointed out Jimmy Iovine basically yea or nayed performances when "producing" Born to Run - does that make his involvement any less a part of the process??? Do you really think Greg Ginn brought anything significant in "prodcution" expertise of any of those Black Flag records???? Or was Spot the engineer extrodinaire they really made those records shine?

    The lack of a band with their own songs doesn't make the job of the person wearing more than one hat in the record making process less of a producer. And if that was the case Phil Spector needs to be called a "just" a beat-maker.

  • canonicalcanonical 2,100 Posts

    Then it's also curious you didn't stumble upon this notion in regards to the producers of punk banks, dance music and all experimental music.
    Well, this is because I know hip hop a lot more than I knkow punk, dance, and experimental. Note that I never implied this was a negative thing, just an odd observation that I wanted to know if there was a historical reason for it. There are, in fact, many rap albums that had producers in their traditional role which was already pointed out. But it's odd that an industry which can be quite particular about the way they credit people (for financial reasons) would start giving out producer credits to people who may never have even been in the recording studio when the song was being recorded and mastered (especially now a days with the internet).

    Furthermore, it's not a judgment on "rap" music itself at all. I never intended this to have been a discussion about the role of "producer" in rap music and the subsequent goodness or lack of quality of the music.


    The lack of a band with their own songs doesn't make the job of the person wearing more than one hat in the record making process less of a producer. And if that was the case Phil Spector needs to be called a "just" a beat-maker.
    Please see above. I think you missinterpreted the nature of my question.

  • But it's odd that an industry which can be quite particular about the way they credit people (for financial reasons) would start giving out producer credits to people who may never have even been in the recording studio when the song was being recorded and mastered (especially now a days with the internet).

    It's not a new occurance or specific to Hip Hop. the precedent was made in the 60's when people like Andy Warhol felt he had some impact on the final outcome on Velvet Underground records.

  • HawkeyeHawkeye 896 Posts
    From what I know, the "Producer" is responsible for coordinating the band and directing their "sound". This may or may not include writing songs, playing instruments, or other things of the sort.

    So if you see it that way than think instead of "the band" in samples. The HipHop producer is taking samples like the traditional producer is talking to the band.
    Some HipHop producers even add live instruments to their productions. And there are producers who play everything on their own.
    Through the invention of the sampler and rap music as a totaly samplebased music it was necessary to give those beatmakers a name, so the stuff they do comes the nearest to the job of a traditional producer. Thats why they (record companys and HipHop producers) called it that way.
    Also think in a marketing mode, you will damage your own product and maybe a lot of artist egos by giving them a name that sounds less important.

    There is not one historical point which was responsible for giving them the producer name. It was a change through times and I think a lot has to do with egos. Back in the 80s every dude who made a beat put in the credits "Produced by .... for Blah Blah Productions / BBP" and so on. This sounds very big, but the production company was more a fantasy than reality. I had my own production company in the 80s, in my head.

    Another thing is that throught the times the meaning of words changed because of responsibiltys that changed. An A&R is not doing the same things he used to do in the 70s, the Excecutive Producer is doing a lot of things that a traditional producer, a manager, and a A&R was doing back than.
    Those words and the jobs behind it are not defined 100%. It is not like the word and the job of a "dentist". Not everybody is allowed to call themself a "dentist". But there are no laws which gonna save the words "producer", "remix" or whatever.

    Someone mentioned the "remix" phenomenon. Thats right in the 80s and 90s a remix was a new beat under the original raps, now it is new raps over the old beat. But in the 70s the word remix was used for saying that the recordings were re-mixed after they were recorded. It is the same what we call mixing today. Professionaly they call mixing pre-mastering today. Because it is what you do before your music will get mastered.

    Peace
    Hawkeye

  • canonicalcanonical 2,100 Posts

    It's not a new occurance or specific to Hip Hop. the precedent was made in the 60's when people like Andy Warhol felt he had some impact on the final outcome on Velvet Underground records.
    This is what I was hoping to gain out of asking the question.

    Thanks for the serious knowledge drop, hawkeye.

  • Hawkeye - you're gonna make me have to change my name to the the Vision. Thanks for being on point like your arrows.
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