For this producer feature, we not only want to highlight songs created by some of R&B’s biggest producers, but also showcase producers who are often forgotten for their contributions when it comes to R&B. One producer that comes to mind is Kanye West who is more known for his own hits along with the songs he’s done for rap artists like Jay-Z and Common. Make no mistake about it though, Kanye has created some of the bigger R&B songs over the past decade across a variety of albums. One has to wonder where Kanye would be if his rap career didn’t take off and he just ended up devoting all of his time to producing. Would he just be another producer or would he be one of the best ever?
Check out all of our other Producer Top 10 Lists
10. John Legend “Used To Love U” (2004)
I will admit that I haven’t really followed John Legend’s music like I’m supposed to, but this was a great track that really introduced the world to him as a solo artist.
9. Beyonce “Party” featuring Andre 3000 (2011)
I know, I know…the song has only been out for a couple of months. There is some bias involved because this is one of my favorite songs out right now, but I don’t think that will change anytime soon.
8. Janet Jackson “I Want You” (2004)
I had a hard time choosing between “My Baby” and this one, but I had to go with this joint because songwriter Harold Lilly wrote the heck out of it. I still think that seesaw line is super clever.
7. Syleena Johnson “Bulls Eye” featuring Common (2005)
This is a classic Kanye production with great vocals by Syleena. It’s one of those songs that you can just sit back, relax and listen to.
Due to issues with the sampling in the beat, this Static Major penned song never got to see the light of the day.
6. Keyshia Cole “I Changed My Mind” (2005)
The first single off Keyshia’s debut album. I still don’t really understand why this was the first single off that album as I feel there were more suitable choices, but needless to say, this is still a great song hence why it’s on this list.
5. Monica “Knock Knock” (2003)
For some reason, people are always shocked when they find out Kanye produced this song. I’m guessing it has to do with the fact that Missy wrote this track so it’s easy to assume that she also produced it. Kanye also used this beat on a demo track he did back in the day called “Apologize”.
4. Mashonda “Hold Me” featuring Kanye West (2005)
Now this was a song that should have been a single. Unfortunately that didn’t happen and Mashonda’s album ended only being released in Japan. To this day, I still think the song would have smashed on the charts.
3. Brandy “Talk About Our Love” (2004)
This song gives me a lot of mixed emotions. It’s a great song and one that I love a lot, but you have to wonder if Brandy’s “Afrodisiac” album would have fared better on the charts if they had decided to go with a Timbaland record instead as the first single.
2. Mariah Carey “Stay The Night” (2005)
On an terrific album filled with chart topping hits like “We Belong Together”, “Shake It Off” and “Don’t Forget About Us”, it was this song that really caught my attention when I first listened to the CD. Kanye’s soulful beat blended perfectly with Mariah’s amazing vocals.
1. Alicia Keys “You Don’t Know My Name” (2004)
Unsurprisingly enough, this classic song is number one on the list. Everything about this track just worked out perfectly from the beat, the concept, the lyrics and Alicia’s vocals.
This is a good list for sure. I’d have a hard time choosing between the two Janet tracks as well. I’d also have a tough time choosing between John Legend’s “Used to Love You” and “Let’s Get Lifted” but the Syleena Johnson track you listed was definitely released on her dope, dope “Chapter 3..” album.
I agree good list- Talk about our love was hugely underrated and thats such a shame- the production was hot! I think you made the right choice with the Janet song as well- My Baby has very low-key production and with Janet`s voice, the song is forgettable.
Great list! Knock Knock, Changed My Mind, Talk About our Love and You Don’t know my name are all standouts. I did not know Kanye produced Janet’s I Want You. Thought that was Dupri. One of my faves of Janet’s current roster. Kanye’s classic and soulful production adds so much to an R&B song. Moreso than to a rap song in my opinion. I want to hear more of Kanye’s production in R&B music!