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Produced: Jay-Z, Kanye West, Limp Bizkit

Hip-hop braggadocio can account for a lot, but not for the chosen nom de plume of Christopher Edward Martin. For most of the 90s and beyond, he was the genre’s most distinguished trackmaster, representing the New York sound more authentically than anyone else. Dre may have been bigger, but Premier’s mastery with jazz and funk samples, together with fierce loops and heavy scratching made his a generation’s go-to guy. Plus his encyclopedic memory for rhymes means he can scratch in lines from different songs to create entirely new phrases. Way cool.

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