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, 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 Rockwilder, one of the most original and innovative boardsmen to emerge during the ‘90s. A native of New York, he got his foot in the door as a producer through placements on albums by Flatlinerz and Organized Konfusion. But, it would be his connection with Redman on the rapper’s Dare Iz a Darkside album that would put him on the map. Over the latter half of the decade, Rockwilder lent his talents to some of the biggest rap stars in the game including Busta Rhymes and Big Pun. However, in 1999, the producer truly hit his stride by crafting hit singles for JAY-Z, and Method Man and Redman.
The arrival of the new millennium coincided with Rockwilder’s evolution as a producer with ventures into the realms of pop and R&B complimenting his track record for creating bangers. Whether they were records with megastars like 50 Cent, Janet Jackson or Destiny’s Child, or collaborations with the most respected lyricists in the game, Rockwilder’s sound was desired. And 25 years later, he has yet to lose his Midas touch.
In the latest installment of our series, we celebrate and highlight 11 of Rockwilder’s most iconic beats that define his excellence behind the boards.
In 1994, Rockwider teamed up with Redman to craft the backdrop for this introductory cut from the latter’s sophomore album, Dare Iz a Darkside. Pilfering samples from various records including “Atomic Dog” by George Clinton and “Fallin’ in Love” by Hamilton, Joe Frank and Reynolds; Rockwilder and Red began their streak of collaborative efforts with this memorable jam.
2. “Fades Em All”
Rockwilder and Redman concentrated their forces for teenage rap phenom Jamal’s hit single “Fades Em All” from the Philly native’s debut album, Last Chance, No Breaks. Comprised of percussion, synths, and a prominent vocal sample from “Ready to Die” by The Notorious B.I.G., the track reached the top 10 on the Hot Rap Singles chart and ranks among the slept-on gems in Rockwilder’s catalog.
3. “Super Lyrical”
Dialogue from Rocky IV, along with vocal samples from “It’s Logic”by Canibus and “One More Chance / Stay With Me (Remix)” by The Notorious B.I.G. help power this jittery composition. Matching wits with The Roots’ chief lyricist, Black Thought, Big Pun navigates Rockwilder’s instrumental with the prowess of a technician, leaving rap junkies in fits in the process.
4. “You Came Up”
The famed producer lifts a riff from “Don’t Ask Me” by Ramon Morris for this plush composition from Big Pun’s Capital Punishment album. Released as the third and final single from the project, “You Came Up,” which includes a guest spot from Noreaga, helped play a role in Pun becoming the first Latin solo rapper to have a platinum certified album and is remembered as the most triumphant number of the late MC’s brief, yet legendary run.
5. “I’ll Be Dat”
For Redman’s fourth studio album, Doc’s da Name 2000, the Brick City spitter enlisted the talents of the beatsman once again, who delivered this infectious instrumental for its lead single. Accompanied by one of the more entertaining music videos of its era, “I’ll Bee Dat” was a sleeper hit, topping out at No. 30 on the Hot Rap Singles chart, but has gone on to become regarded as one of the signature selections of Red’s career.
6. “Da Rockwilder”
In 1999, when Method Man and Redman joined forces for joint album Blackout!, the duo made a big splash with “Da Rockwilder,” a quick-strike selection inspired by their producer. Peaking at No. 14 on the Hot Rap Singles chart, the song helped push the album toward its eventual platinum status and is regarded as the definitive cut of Meth and Red’s time as partners in rhyme.
7. “Do It Again”
Rockwilder closed out the decade by securing a pair of credits on JAY-Z’s Vol. 3… Life and Times of S. Carte r album including its lead single “Do It Again.” Featuring appearances from Beanie Sigel and Amil, the club-centric banger reached No. 9 on the Hot Rap Singles chart and helped usher the R.O.C. into the new millennium.
In addition to providing the score for multiple radio hits, The producer also supplied Hov with an ample amount of firepower to round out his albums and this hard-boiled inclusion to Vol. 3… Life and Times of S. Carter is among them. Hijacking a sample of “Life Could Be So Grand” by Brian Russell and Brenda Russell, Rockwilder constructs an epic instrumental for Marcy’s finest to muse over.
9. “Oh No”
Mos Def, Pharoahe Monch and Nate Dogg get busy over this track. Released as the lead single from Rawkus Records’ Lyricist Lounge Vol. 2 compilation, “Oh No” made an indelible impression on listeners upon its release and has only increased in popularity over the years.
10. “Guilty Until Proven Innocent”
In 2000, Rockwilder and JAY-Z hooked up once again, this time for “Guilty Until Proven Innocent,” a single from Hov’s The Dynasty: Roc La Familia album. Featuring R. Kelly and inspired by their respective legal woes at the time, the song was minor hit, peaking at No. 12 on the Hot Rap Singles chart and was a major catalyst for the pair to team up for their full-length album, Best of Both Worlds, nearly two years later.
11. “Daddy Get That Cash”
Elements of “Spend It on Love” by Side Effect are matched with thunderous percussion on this potent salvo from Styles P.’s A Gangster and a Gentleman album. One of the superior deep cuts in Rockwilder’s stash of tracks, “Daddy Get That Cash” is a certified banger and outclasses the beatsmith’s more renowned production work.