No ID: The Producer’s 7 Most Unforgettable Beats

No ID’s impressive resume speaks for itself, as he has produced countless hits. The legendary producer and former MC has played an important role in shaping some of the greatest voices in hip hop and R&B. Since 1992, he has produced countless classics for legendary rappers and singers. He also is responsible for crafting early hits for the big names of today. With his label ARTium Recordings, No ID also has helped develop many careers, including the likes of Jhené Aiko, Vince Staples, and Snoh Aalegra. Additionally, he was also a member of the Cocaine 80’s collective alongside James Fauntleroy and other like-minded musicians.

With a vast catalog of classic beats, No ID has maintained his legacy. Today, we will be taking a deep dive into the producer’s seven most unforgettable productions. These selections include songs solely produced by No ID and exclude his countless co-productions. Take a look at the list below.

Common – “I Used To Love H.E.R.” (1994)

No ID’s working relationship with Common runs deep. The two first united back in 1992 to release Can I Borrow A Dollar?, the Chicago rapper’s debut album under the name Common Sense. The album marked No ID’s first production credits and a fruitful relationship that continued further. No ID eventually produced both Common’s The Dreamer/The Believer and Nobody’s Smiling albums in their entirety, as well as the majority of One Day It’ll All Make Sense. He also produced Common’s 1994 album, Resurrection, which included “I Used to Love H.E.R.” An all-time hip hop classic, Common spits a love letter to hip hop over a jazzy boom bap beat. Out of the many songs that the two created together, “I Used to Love H.E.R.” remains their most significant collaboration and one of No ID’s most unforgettable productions. 

JAY-Z – “D.O.A. (Death Of Auto-Tune)” (2009)

No ID has a track record of making beats for contentious songs within hip hop culture. Perhaps the most memorable is his 2009 collaboration with JAY-Z that declared the “Death of Auto-Tune.” The song criticized the popular use of auto-tune in modern music. “No ID on the track, let the story begin,” Jay says before starting his first verse over a saxophone-heavy beat with a hard-hitting drum break.

“D.O.A.” was quite polarizing. It garnered reactions from artists who took offense, the many rappers who remixed the track, and T-Pain, who later joined Jay on stage during a live performance of the song. Some of No ID’s later productions also started massive dialogues within hip hop, including Big Sean, Kendrick Lamar, and Jay Electronica’s “Control.” There was also JAY-Z’s “The Story of OJ,” which Pusha T repurposed into a lethal diss track with “The Story of Adidon.”

Rick Ross feat. Cee-Lo Green – “Tears Of Joy” (2010)

Rick Ross started “Tears of Joy” with a shout-out to No ID, just like JAY-Z did on “D.O.A.” A highlight from Teflon Don, which many consider to be his magnum opus, “Tears of Joy” sees Rick Ross at his most reflective. The soulful and slowly-building instrumental brings the best out of Rozay, resulting in one of the most emotional moments of his discography. He looks back at his journey, crying joyfully at his success. The powerful chorus from Cee-Lo Green takes the song to another level, complementing the No ID production. The gorgeous instrumental is one of the producer’s most memorable beats. It was later repurposed by Slaughterhouse for the 14-minute “Truth or Truth, Pt. 1.”

Nas – “Daughters” (2012)

While Salaam Remi handled most of the production on Nas’s Life is Good album, No ID also made sizable contributions, producing six tracks. Among the tracklist was the Grammy-nominated single “Daughters.” A mature song about watching his daughter grow up, Nas speaks to fathers with daughters and addresses his own shortcomings as a parent. The track’s soulful production evokes the emotional transparency of the lyrics, making for one of Nas’s best tracks and one of No ID’s most unforgettable productions. 

Vince Staples feat. Snoh Aalegra – “Jump Off The Roof” (2015)

No ID played an integral role in Vince Staples’s early career, producing most of his Shyne Coldchain II mixtape and his single, “Hands Up.” He also handles the majority of the production on Summertime ‘06, the debut album from the Long Beach rapper and former ARTium signee. Among its 20-song tracklist is “Jump Off the Roof,” a No ID-produced banger that ponders one’s addictions. Snoh Aalegra, another ARTium signee, appears on the track as well. The hectic production of “Jump Off the Roof” brings the best out of Vince, resulting in one of his most exciting tracks. 

Rihanna – “Higher” (2016)

No ID and Rihanna have worked together on multiple occasions, but their greatest and most memorable collaboration comes from 2016’s ANTI. “Higher” is one of Rihanna’s most vulnerable moments and greatest vocal performances. Thanks to No ID’s cinematic production, Rihanna delivers one of her best ballads. The minimal strings and elegant piano dance around her vocals as she belts every word. “Higher” was eventually sampled for Jay Electronica’s “Flux Capacitor” from A Written Testimony, an album on which No I.D. also produced. 

JAY-Z – “4:44” (2017)

After years of prolific collaborations, JAY-Z and No ID came together for 4:44, Jay’s most personal work to date. While Jay’s emotionally transparent lyricism fueled the album’s substance, No ID’s unique approach to production clearly inspired its artistic direction. “I began to play the samples like I would play an instrument,” he told Rolling Stone about the album’s creation. A sample-heavy album, 4:44’s use of soul and jazz records helped emphasize the lyrical content.

The album’s title track is a standout moment that sees JAY-Z openly apologizing to Beyoncé for his infidelity and trying to be a better husband. The looped sample of Hannah Williams & The Affirmations’ “Late Nights & Heartbreak” accentuates Jay’s vulnerability. “I’m never gonna treat you like I should,” the sample cries as it relates to the somber tone of the verses. With an unforgettable beat from No ID, “4:44” acts as the album’s focal point and is one of JAY-Z’s most powerful songs.

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