No I.D. names his favourite rap song of all time
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No I.D. names his favourite rap song of all time

No I.D. has tacitly impacted hip-hop through his fostering of talent. Although the producer has worked with many talented MCs, including Common, Jay-Z and Killer Mike, the Grammy-award-winning musician is most known for being the Chicago-based producer who took Kanye West under his wing.

No I.D. (real name Ernest Wilson), in many respects, is responsible for the rise of Kanye West in the Chicago hip-hop scene and was even the individual who took the Graduation creator to New York. This decision ultimately led to Kanye becoming a part of Jay-Z’s Roc-a-Fella empire.

Wilson was one of the most critical individuals Kanye encountered in his quest to achieve fame as a beatmaker. No I.D. continued to develop the rising star’s talents and taught him the tricks of the trade. Acting as West’s manager for a short period, he couldn’t handle his temperamental nature and soon parted ways.

Knowing the budding producer needed a home, he introduced West to Kyambo Joshua, the A&R of Roc-A-Fella and the CEO of a production house named Hip-Hop. In 1998, Joshua signed Kanye on the hip-hop roster. In 1999, Joshua presented Jay-Z with one of Kanye’s beats, and the rest is history.

Although No I.D. is mainly known as the man who made Kanye West, he has produced some of hip-hop’s most classic tracks. Having produced hits such as Drake’s ‘Find Your Love’ and Jhené Aiko’s ‘To Love & Die’, Wilson is one of rap music’s most underrated and unappreciated producers.

Last year, hip-hop celebrated its 50th anniversary, and in honour of the genre, the esteemed music magazine Pitchfork spoke to some iconic artists and producers about their favourite hip-hop tracks.

In a conversation with Gangsta Grillz founder and legendary producer DJ Drama (real name Tyree Simmons), Pitchfork unveiled that Biggie Smalls’ Juicy’ was his number one of all time. Opening up about why it’s his favourite hip-hop song, Simmons stated, “It’s universal and universally known, word for word. It epitomizes so much of what hip-hop is about. Taking from the old, with that Mtume “Juicy Fruit” sample, and recreating it for a new generation. That’s what hip-hop was built upon.”

He continued, “From a DJ perspective, I love how he shouts out Ron G, Brucie B, and Kid Capri. There’s the influence of legacy in the song, with lines like, “Remember Rappin’ Duke? Duh-ha, duh-ha / You never thought that hip hop would take it this far.”

Pitchfork also chose to speak with No I.D., considering his tacit impact on the culture. When asked to name his favourite track of all time, Wilson revealed it was Eric B & Rakim’s ‘In the Ghetto’.

Detailing why he loves the track, Wilson explained, “In 1990, I thought that, if I was going to be a musician, I wanted to rap—and ‘In the Ghetto’ was the song that made me want to do it. Rakim’s lyrics weren’t just sporadic thoughts jumping around, you could read them and they made sense. You could see the whole world of the song in your mind, the past and the future, no matter where you were at.“