REVOLT TV presents ‘The Produce Section,’ a column where we put the spotlight on the men and women behind the beats we love so much and their contributions to the culture as a whole. From profiling and interviewing the hottest producers of today to acknowledging the greatest producers of all-time and delving deep into their discographies, The Produce Section is the hub where beats, rhymes and life connect.
Producers have long been the backbone of rap music, providing emcees and rappers alike with the sonic backdrops over which they bare their souls and share their stories. Rap artists may get much of the fanfare and are front and center. However, without the producer toiling away behind the scenes, crafting the instrumentals; the lyrics would be reduced to spoken word and hip-hop would be nonexistent as we know it.
In this edition of The Produce Section, we cover Ez Elpee, one of the most prolific; yet unsung, beat-smiths of the ’90s and early-aughts. Arriving on the scene during the resurgence of east coast rap, Elpee quickly earned credits on projects by Artifacts and Mad Skillz. However, it was the producer’s work on Junior M.A.F.I.A.’s 1995 hit “Get Money” that truly put him on the radar of rap’s heavyweights. After scoring placements on various releases from Queens heavyweights like Nas and Noreaga, Elpee’s talents were sought out by Bad Boy Records and the boards-man crafting a succession of hit singles for the label.
Known for his ability to create infectious radio club bangers, while simultaneously catering to the streets, the beat-maker is regarded as one of the illest producers of his time due to his resume that rivals his more celebrated counterparts.
In our latest installment of our series, we highlight 11 of Ez Elpee’s most iconic beats that define his excellence behind the boards.
1. “Get Money”
The producer made his presence felt in a major way when he serviced this ode to capitalism to Junior M.A.F.I.A., who turned it into his first chart-topper. Flipping “You Can’t Turn Me Away” by Sylvia Striplin, Elpee stamped his place in history with his work alongside The Queen Bee and the notorious one.
2. “Bloody Money”
In 1996, the New York maestro hooked up this classic banger for Capone-N-Noreaga, who turned it into one of the grimiest anthems to come out of the five boroughs. Built around a sample of “Philadelphia Morning” by Bill Conti and bolstered by drums from The Honey Drippers’ “Impeach the President,” this soundscape helped put Elpee’s production talents on the map.
3. “Iraq (See The World)”
The star pilfers a serene loop from “Night Song” by Noel Pointer and it becomes a guttural offering from Capone-N-Noreaga’s The War Report album. Pairing the sample with drums from “Queen of Downs” by Giant, the beat-smith constructs the instrumental for one the Queens duo’s most hard-body salvos.
4. “Special Delivery”
The track-master scored one of the biggest street bangers of 2001 with this jittery salvo from G Dep’s Child of the Ghetto album. Utilizing a sample from “You Keep Me Hangin’ On” by The Moog Machine, Elpee turned in a certified smash, as evidenced by the record peaking at No. 3 on the Hot Rap Singles chart.
5. “Oochie Wally”
The beats-man showcases his versatility with this club-friendly number, which includes a sample of “Bambooji.” Climbing to No. 2 on the Hot Rap Singles chart, this selection from Nas & Ill Will Records Presents QB’s Finest saw Esco and the Bravehearts laying their mack down for a timeless party-starter.
6. “Bad Boyz”
In 2000, the Bad Boy family celebrated Shyne’s arrival on the scene with the assistance of Elpee, who cooked up the track for this monstrous debut from the Flatbush native. Taking elements of Grace Jones’ 1981 release “Nightclubbing,” the producer adds booming percussion for Shyne to do his bidding over, which helped restore the feeling in the house that Diddy built.
7. “Get Away”
The crate digger mines a sample from “Taking Me Higher” by Barclay James Harvest for this brooding number from Mobb Deep’s Infamy album. The third single released from the album, the song was a minor hit, peaking at No. 75 on Billboard’s Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Singles & Tracks chart, and remains one of the enduring selections in Hav and P’s catalog.
Noreaga reconnects with Elpee as the pair build on their collaborative chemistry with this introspective offering from the Lefrak spitter’s Melvin Flynt album. Powered by a sped-up sample of “One More Time for Love” by Billy Preston and Syreeta, the producer tacks on kicks and snares to compliment the original.
9. “My World”
Multiple elements from “Pueblo Blanco” by Joan Manuel Serrat get looted for this bruising effort, which Elpee contributed to Big Pun’s posthumous release, Endangered Species. Enhancing the source material and pairing it with a thunderous drum loop, the beat-smith crafts a high-powered composition that compliments Pun’s rhyme spill in seamless fashion.
Elpee lifts a glorious riff from “Belle De Jour” by Saint Tropez for this plush backdrop from Prodigy’s H.N.I.C. album. Reinforcing the sample with crisp percussion, the boards-man blesses P with one of the strongest tracks on the late emcee’s solo debut.
11. “Calm Down”
Bette Midler’s “Superstar” gets reworked for this epic posse cut, which also takes inspiration from Evelyn “Champagne” King’s 1982 hit “Love Come Down.” Initially intended to appear on The War Report, this gem was liberated in the aftermath of the album’s release and is regarded as one of the landmark collaborative efforts between Queens artists from that era.