#20 Ant – Top Producers of all time
Key Tracks: Atmosphere, “GodLovesUgly” (2002); Brother Ali, “Uncle Sam Goddamn” (2007); Atmosphere, “Puppets” (2008)
No city’s hip-hop scene is more closely tied to a single producer than Minneapolis’, where Anthony “Ant” Davis has been at the forefront of the Twin Cities sound for two decades. Ant’s main gig is Atmosphere, his duo with rapper Slug; over the course of eight albums and countless EPs and mixtapes, they have amassed a catalog unrivaled in independent hip-hop. But he’s also the go-to producer for one of Minnesota’s other leading rappers, Brother Ali, and he’s supplied beats to Felt (Slug’s collab with Murs), Sage Francis and MF Doom among others. Ant’s strength is his versatility; he mines blues, soul and gospel for Brother Ali’s earthy sound, brings the funk for light-hearted joints like Felt’s A Tribute to Lisa Bonet, and combines simple but catchy melodies with skeletal beats on Atmosphere’s most memorable tracks.