2011 was a slow year for Uggh…Nice Watch, but a great year for music.

1. Drake Take Care
2. The Weeknd House of Balloons
3. Frank Ocean nostalgia, ULTRA.
4. Jay-Z & Kanye West Watch The Throne
5. Toro Y Moi Underneath The Pine
6. Das Racist Relax
7. Wiz Khalifa Cabin Fever
8. J. Cole Cole World: The Sideline Story
9. Wiz Khalifa Rolling Papers
10. Cults Cults
11. 2 Chainz TRU REALigion
12. Mr. Muthafuckin’ eXquire Lost In Translation
13. Chris Brown F.A.M.E.
14. Mac Miller Blue Slide Park
15. Danny Brown XXX
16. Juicy J & Lex Luger Rubbaband Business 2
17. Washed Out Within and Without
18. A$AP Rocky Live.Love.A$AP
19. Young Jeezy TM103: Hustlerz Ambition
20. Yelawolf Radioactive
21. 50 Cent The Big 10
22. James Blake James Blake
23. Big Sean Finally Famous
24. Lykke Li Wounded Rhymes
25. Kendrick Lamar Section.80

1. Kanye West & Jay-Z “Niggas In Paris”
(Produced by Hit-Boy & Kanye West)
2. DJ Khaled f/ Drake, Rick Ross & Lil Wayne “I’m On One”
(Produced by T-Minus, Nikhil S. & Noah “40” Shebib)
3. Tyler, the Creator “Yonkers”
(Produced by Tyler, the Creator)
4. Chris Brown f/ Busta Rhymes & Lil Wayne “Look At Me Now”
(Produced by Diplo, Afrojack & Free School)
5. J. Cole f/ Missy Elliott “Nobody’s Perfect”
(Produced by J. Cole)
6. Frank Ocean “Thinking About You”
(Produced by Shea Taylor)
7. Wiz Khalifa “The Race”
(Produced by I.D. Labs)
8. Meek Mill f/ Rick Ross “Ima Boss”
(Produced by Jahlil Beats)
9. Drake “Marvin’s Room”
(Produced by Noah “40” Shebib)
10. M83 “Midnight City”
(Produced by Justin Meldal-Johnsen & Anthony Gonzalez)
11. Ace Hood f/ Rick Ross & Lil Wayne “Hustle Hard (Remix)”
(Produced by Lex Luger)
12. SBTRKT f/ Drake & Little Dragon “Wildfire (Remix)”
(Produced by SBTRKT)
13. Mr. Muthafuckin’ eXquire “Huzzah”
(Produced by Necro)
14. Rihanna “We Found Love”
(Produced by Calvin Harris)
15. Allen Stone “Unaware”
(Produced by Lior Goldenberg)
16. Kreayshawn “Gucci Gucci”
(Produced by DJ Two Stacks & Adeptus)
17. Mac Miller “Donald Trump”
(Produced by Sap Da Beat Man)
18. Drake f/ Lil Wayne “The Motto”
(Produced by T-Minus)
19. Frank Ocean “Swim Good”
(Produced by Midi Mafia)
20. Future “Tony Montana”
(Produced by Speaker Knockerz)
21. Lil Wayne f/ Rick Ross “John”
(Produced by Rob Holladay & Polow Da Don)
22. T.I. “I’m Flexin'”
(Produced by Big K.R.I.T.)
23. Rick Ross f/ Drake “Made Men”
(Produced by 2 Tall Beats)
24. Beyoncé “I Miss You”
(Produced by Shea Taylor & Beyoncé Knowles)
25. Meek Mil f/ Rick Ross “Tupac Back”
(Produced by Mike Will)

Now let me see about actually finishing some Uggh…Collections in 2012…


The genius behind Jodeci has fallen on hard times over the last decade, with rumors of drug addiction (and an embarrassing TMZ video) taking the place of hit records. But none of this changes the intensity of the impact that Donald “DeVante Swing” Degrate had on the sound of ’90s R&B music in a prolific five year period. A freakishly talented instrumentalist with a freaky side, the Virginia native wrote and produced nearly every song Jodeci ever performed, inspiring a generation* with his achingly sincere, hyper-sexualized slow jams.

Before Jodeci’s breakthrough in 1991, DeVante did some co-production work at Uptown Records, including the radio version of Al B. Sure’s “Missunderstanding” that became a #1 R&B hit. He continued to make big moves as a songwriter, using the talkbox-heavy “Jodeci Sound” to create hits for everyone from a 50-year-old Al Green to a 16-year-old Usher. In the mid-’90s he developed his own training camp of artists and producers called the Swing Mob, which famously introduced names like Missy Elliott, Timbaland, Ginuwine, Tweet, Static Major, Darryl Pearson, and Stevie J to the industry. He executive produced the #1 Dangerous Minds soundtrack, and before long he was being managed by Suge Knight, spending a lot of time with 2Pac, and crafting Jodeci’s ambitious third album.

In the next few years, everything fell apart—Death Row died with 2Pac, K-Ci & JoJo went solo, and the Swing Mob artists started signing with other labels. By the late ’90s, DeVante had been completely eclipsed by his former protégé, Timbaland, as mainstream R&B’s biggest innovator. His career fell into a 15 year black hole, marking a tragic end for one of music’s brightest stars. Spark one and zone out to my compilation of 30 DeVante classics…



1. Kanye West My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy
2. Drake Thank Me Later
3. Wiz Khalifa Kush & Orange Juice
4. Sleigh Bells Treats
5. Rick Ross Teflon Don
6. Ciara Basic Instinct
7. Kid Cudi Man On The Moon II: The Legend Of Mr. Rager
8. Best Coast Crazy For You
9. Curren$y Pilot Talk II
10. Sade Soldier Of Love
11. Big K.R.I.T. K.R.I.T. Wuz Here
12. Waka Flocka Flame Flockaveli
13. Roc Marciano Marcberg
14. Katy Perry Teenage Dream
15. Yelawolf Trunk Muzik: 0-60
16. Das Racist Sit Down, Man
17. Trey Songz Passion Pleasure & Pain
18. Toro Y Moi Causers Of This
19. Dom Kennedy From The Westside, With Love
20. Salem King Night
21. Cutthroat The Takeova
22. Tyler, The Creator BASTARD
23. Robyn Body Talk
24. J. Cole Friday Night Lights
25. Dondria Dondria vs. Phatfffat

1. Rick Ross f/ Styles P “B.M.F. (Blowin’ Money Fast)” (Produced by Lex Luger)
2. Wiz Khalifa “Mezmorized” (Produced by Cardo)
3. Kanye West f/ Pusha T “Runaway” (Produced by Kanye West, Mike Caren, No I.D. & Mike Dean)
4. Wiz Khalifa “Black and Yellow” (Produced by Stargate)
5. Waka Flocka Flame “Hard In Da Paint” (Produced By Lex Luger)
6. Drake “Over” (Produced by Boi-1da & Al Khaaliq)
7. Crystal Castles “Celestica” (Produced by Ethan Kath)
8. Soulja Boy “Pretty Boy Swag” (Produced By G5 Kids)
9. Nicki Minaj “Right Thru Me” (Produced by Drew Money)
10. Drake “9 AM In Dallas Freestyle” (Produced by Boi-1da)
11. Justin Bieber f/ Kanye West & Raekwon “Runaway Love (Remix)” (Produced by Kanye West)
12. Lil Wayne f/ Cory Gunz “6 Foot 7 Foot” (Produced by Bangladesh)
13. The Diplomats “Salute” (Produced by Araabmuzik)
14. Monica “Love All Over Me” (Produced by Jermaine Dupri & Bryan-Michael Cox)
15. Young Jeezy f/ Plies “Lose My Mind” (Produced by Drumma Boy)
16. Lil B “Wonton Soup” (Produced by Lil Keis)
17. Lloyd Banks f/ Kanye, Fabolous & Swizz Beatz “Start It Up” (Produced by Cardiak)
18. Yo Gotti “Look In The Mirror” (Produced by Shawty Redd)
19. Waka Flocka Flame f/ Diddy, Rick Ross & Gucci Mane “O Let’s Do It (Remix)” (Produced by L-Don Beatz)
20. Dirty Money f/ Swizz Beatz “Ass On The Floor” (Produced by Swizz Beatz)
21. 8 Ball & MJG f/ Slim Thug “Life Goes On” (Produced by Drumma Boy)
22. Caribou “Odessa” (Produced by Dan Snaith)
23. Lil Wayne f/ Nicki Minaj “Knockout” (Produced by J.U.S.T.I.C.E. League)
24. Vado “Large On The Streets” (Produced by V. Don)
25. Antoine Dodson “Bed Intruder” (Produced by The Gregory Brothers)



In addition to Battlecat, another slept-on West Coast producer who deserves to be in the funk hall of fame is E-A-Ski, an Oakland native who’s been making classic records with his partner CMT since the early ’90s. Best known as the original hitmakers behind Spice 1 and Master P’s California years (Ski released his solo debut on No Limit in ’92), the duo created some of the most memorable records of the ’90s, including smoothed-out gems for Suave House artists like Mr. Mike and g-funk hits for West Coast icons like Kam. After a few quiet years, Ski & CMT popped up again in the hyphy era with a new sound and a string of hits, including The Team’s “Moe Doe.” For 30 classics from their indisputable 20-year discography, download The E-A-Ski & CMT Collection…



Aside from Puffy, Poke & Tone were the most villified producers of the ’90s, synonymous with rap’s jiggy era after co-producing “Gettin’ Jiggy With It.” But their discography reveals more hip-hop and R&B classics than crossover cheese, beginning with singles from Chubb Rock, Kool G Rap and Big Daddy Kane in the early ’90s. Tone (a.k.a. Red Hot Lover Tone) released two solo albums, while Poke linked up with Puff Daddy to co-produce a ton of early Bad Boy/Uptown classics, from Mary J.’s “Be Happy” to Biggie’s “Juicy.” But the Trackmasters name really became infamous to most rap fans in 1995 and ’96 when they produced the majority of both LL Cool J’s Mr. Smith and Nas’ It Was Written.

Golden boys in the golden era of New York rap’s glossy makeover, their reputation as hitmakers was unparalleled by the end of the decade. They started to move away from samples in the early ’00s, and things were never quite the same. Their attempt to bring Jay-Z and R. Kelly together on The Best of Both Worlds turned out to be a debacle, and in 2003 they were perhaps unfairly branded “the guys who missed out on 50 Cent.” Remember the good times with my mixtape of 30 Poke & Tone classics…



If Maurice Starr is the king of ’80s boybands (New Edition, New Kids on the Block), then Swedish producer/songwriter Dag “Denniz Pop” Volle deserves his share of credit for the pop music mania the late ’90s, churning our the earliest hits for Backstreet Boys and N*SYNC in his Stockholm headquarters Cheiron Studios. Dagge started as a part of the Swedish DJ crew and studio Swemix in the late-’80s before hitting the Europop scene hard in 1990 with Swedish reggae singer Dr. Alban (“Hello Afrika”), and founding Cheiron in 1992. He solidified his reputation as an international hitmaker with Ace of Base, producing the #1 song of 1994, “The Sign,” along with two top 10 hits for Robyn.

Jive set him up with then-unknown boybands Backstreet Boys and N’Sync, and Pop (along with his protege Max Martin) knocked it out the park with signature singles like “I Want You Back” and “Everybody.” The studio was experiencing unparalleled success just as Denniz Pop battled stomach cancer, passing away in in August 1998 at the age of 35. Cherion eventually closed in 2001, but Denniz Pop’s influence on modern pop music can still be felt 12 years after his death. His partner Max Martin went on to craft breakthrough singles for Britney Spears, Kelly Clarkson, and Katy Perry. Even Lady Gaga’s producer RedOne can trace his roots back to Pop, starting as a Cheiron assistant in the early ’00s. Check out The Denniz Pop Collection for 30 of my favorite Dagge-produced gems…



The eldest brother in the Jackson-style family band The Sylvers, Leon F. Sylvers III was 19 when he wrote the group’s first top 10 R&B single “Wish That I Could Talk To You” in 1972. By the late ’70s, Leon had really hit his stride as a songwriter and producer after Dick Griffey hired him at S.O.L.A.R. Records—The Sound Of Los Angeles. His brand of classy, soul-drenched disco-funk became known in the industry as “The S.O.L.A.R. Sound,” made famous by Leon’s string of smashes with Shalamar, along with the label’s all-star roster Lakeside, The Whispers, The Spinners, and Dynasty. Hits with everyone from Evelyn “Champagne” King to Gladys Knight & The Pips continued into the mid ’80s.

Things had slowed down for Leon by the time he released his self-titled solo debut on Motown in 1989. While his name had faded as a marquee producer, he continued to find some quality work throughout ’90s—including co-writing a slew of records with Teddy Riley like Blackstreet’s #2 R&B hit “Before I Let You Go.” He even famously hired an unknown keyboard player named Damon Riddick (a.k.a. Dam-Funk of Stones Throw fame) for his first job in 1992. Still active today in his late 50s, Leon Sylvers is a true R&B genius who rarely gets mentioned with the greats, but his catalog is full of gems. I compiled and tagged 30 of my favorite Leon Sylvers creations for your downloading pleasure…