If you ask a rapper to name the greatest rapper of all-time, it's very likely you'll hear them say "me." While some people might view that answer as egotistical or narcissistic, part of being a great rapper is believing in your own greatness. Without a doubt, the fine line that is often discussed between confidence and cockiness was drawn by a rapper.
On the flipside, if you ask a producer to name the greatest producer of all-time, it's highly unlikely you'll hear them say "me"—unless, of course, you're asking Kanye West.
Case in point: On Wednesday (March 16), during a Reddit AMA, acclaimed producer Just Blaze was asked to name the "GOAT producer." Given his own track record, literally, Just Blaze would have been justified in throwing his name in the hat. To date, Blaze has charted in the top 50 of the Billboard Hot 100 a total of 13 times, including five top 10 singles and one No. 1 (T.I.'s "Live Your Life" with Rihanna).
Instead, he offered the following reply:
"Pharrell is the greatest ever"
Just Blaze might know more about production than I know about everything in the world combined, but I have to agree—Pharrell has long been perched atop my all-time greatest producer mountain.
However, since the true impact of music on its intended audience cannot be measured beyond sales, streams or shares, it's impossible to objectively declare any one producer as the "greatest of all-time."
Objectively speaking, though, while Pharrell does have twice as many No. 1 hits ("Blurred Lines" and "Happy") as an individual producer, Just Blaze has nine more top 50 records. Once you factor in his work as a part of The Neptunes, though, it's not even close.
Unlike "biggest" or "most popular," qualifiers that can be measured through analytics, "greatest" is a subjective term and is based solely on an individual's personal opinion.
Depending on who you ask, in addition to Just Blaze and Pharell, an argument could be made for DJ Premier, Dr. Dre, J Dilla, Kanye, Madlib, Rick Rubin or Timbaland as the greatest hip-hop producer of all-time.
One name that often isn't mentioned among the best of the best but should be, though, is Pharrell's Neptunes partner-in-crime Chad Hugo. And Pharrell agrees...
The beauty of music and hip-hop, much like sports, is that the discussion over who the greatest is of all-time will continue forever. In 10 years, we might be talking about Cardo, Metro Boomin or Mike WiLL Made-It when debating the greatest producer of all-time.