Features

No I.D.: 7 Most Unforgettable Beats from the Grammy Award-Winning Producer

BY Abena Dzaka October 30, 2023 11:47 AM EDT

No I.D., the producer from Chicago who is responsible for some of the best hip-hop beats has enjoyed a long career spanning 20 years, working with artistes such as Common, Kanye West, Jay-Z, G-Unit, and Killer Mike.

Considered by many as the Godfather of Chicago hip-hop, he has only gotten better with age. No I.D. who made his debut in the music business early in the 1990s, was a key figure in defining Common’s style and the person who originally encouraged Kanye to begin producing.

From underground crate-digger to A-list hitmaker, No I.D. created opulent soundscapes for Drake, Jay-Z, Kanye West, and Rihanna. His abilities have led him to various areas, such as a brief stint as a rapper and his current position as executive vice president of Def Jam.

Here are seven of No I.D.’s most memorable beats.

Tears of Joy – Rick Ross ft. Cee-Lo Green

Rick Ross was at his most reflective on Tears of Joy which produced one of the most moving moments in his discography. Cee-Lo Green’s powerful chorus elevates the song above average, perfectly balancing the No I.D. production, and the stunning instrumental features one of the producer’s most memorable beats.

D.O.A. (Death of Auto-Tune) – Jay-Z

This song has a nice message. With this track, No I.D. repeatedly returned to the production, fusing powerful drums with live sounds like instrumentation and an enticingly sloppy guitar solo.

Pain – Pusha T ft. Future

While Pusha T is unquestionably one of the best rappers, it’s also indisputable that his greatest work is produced when he collaborates with the Neptunes. Nevertheless, the rhythm by No I.D. for Pain from My Name Is My Name pulls off an impossible feat by creating a tight atmosphere for Pusha’s earthy deadpan and Future’s wounded warble. The drums crack with such force that you can almost feel them.

I Used To Love H.E.R. – Common

No I.D. and Common have a close working relationship. When the Chicago rapper released his debut album Can I Borrow a Dollar? in 1992 under the moniker Common Sense, the two got together for the first time. No I.D. received production credits for the first time on record, and their successful collaboration with it continued.

Daughters – Nas

While Salaam Remi handled most of the production on Nas’s Life is Good album, No I.D. also made sizable contributions, producing six tracks. Among the tracks was the Grammy-nominated single Daughters.

4:44 – Jay-Z

After years of prolific collaborations, Jay-Z and No I.D. came together for 4:44 – Jay-Z’s most personal work to date. While Jay’s emotionally transparent lyricism fueled the album’s substance, No I.D.’s unique approach to production inspired its artistic direction.

Higher – Rihanna

Although Rihanna and No I.D. have collaborated on several projects together, 2016’s ANTI is their best and most memorable joint effort. One of Rihanna’s most sensitive and amazing vocal performances is found in Higher. No I.D.’s dramatic production allows Rihanna to perform one of her greatest ballads.