I'm sure many of you remember the old school, hot bangin' Nas album "Illmatic"... then again, who really doesn't remember it? This album had Nas spittin more flames than a blowtorch lit and aimed at a gas station nearby. Of course, back in our day was certainly the home of rap lyrics, and more and more tracks contained lyrical fire. But what about the production, or the hip hop beats themselves, how did they fair up? How did rap instrumentals of back then hold weight, and do most of you remember the names of some of the old school producers of our generation?
Well, I'll toss up a freebie for you all to remember in terms of artistry work on some of the hottest hip hop albums dropped back in the day. Let's face it, hip hop music is nothing in comparison of what it used to be. And some of the rap beats are no exception either.
Enter door, and from the depths of the past, you're brought to reminisce on hot hip hop music producer L.E.S., or better known to some as Leshan David Lewis. Dating all the way back to his earliest starts (tracked), L.E.S. shows as having started bangin hip hop music on the production end with the hot track "Life's a Bitch" on Nas's Illmatic album which featured AZ. This track had alot of us bobbin our heads to the track, and though we were focused on the lyrical, the beat itself had alot of knock and a nice mellow vibe to it. The beats that L.E.S. has produced over the years shows his creativity and ability to make rap instrumentals that brought out emotion to the story.
Other credits that L.E.S. has produced back in the late 90's are "Sugar Hill" on the "Doe or Die" album by AZ, Fat Joe's album, Jealous Ones Still Envy, where his credits are on productions for the tracks "Envy" and "Fat Joe's In Town", and "Street Life" by Mobb Deep on the "America Is Dying Slowly" compilation soundtrack, a beat which blazed the album and fit Mobb Deep's style of rap precisely.
It would also seem that in the late 90's, L.E.S. would once again touch upon Nas's album, with the hot tracks "Suspect" and "Black Girl Lost", both of which had major impact in the late 90's, especially "Black Girl Lost". He would later produce tracks on "I Am", as well as "Nastadamus" and "Stillmatic". With listening to some of the hip hop beats that L.E.S. produced for Nas, as well as for other artists like Mobb Deep, Big Pun on the "Capital Punishment" album, Fat Joe on the "Don Cartagena" album, and several credits on other artists over the years, you could definitely safely make the assumption that L.E.S. enjoyed making East Coast grimey types of beats for his artists to use on their albums.
While most of his influence on making hip hop beats lies in his creative East Coast beat swagga, L.E.S. did not limit himself strictly to that. In the latest part of the 90's, he produced tracks for Will Smith as well, with tracks like "Miami" and helped to produce "Get Jiggy Wit It", both of which exploded on the airwaves of that timeframe. He also produced on the "One" album from All 4 One, which catered to r&b singers rather than the typical rap artist.
Though he dabbled in other genres of music, he continued to do what he enjoyed doing, which was to create hip hop beats and rap instrumentals with that East Coast feel strongly leaping out. He also continued to make hip hop beats for Nas, as well as AZ, and others of the Queens Bridge background. His last very notable rap beat created is "Black Republican", of which Nas and Jay-Z collaborate on together after years of the Jay-Z and Nas feud towards each other. This track was another hot rap music production with a hot bangin' beat to it.
There have not been any noted features of L.E.S. creating anything further for a moment. Perhaps he is finally taking a well deserved rest. The producer has done some amazing things, but everyone has to rest one in awhile. He has definitely brought the East Coast noddin to some of his production tracks, but with him gone, who will fill those big shoes for him with Nas when he's in need of a great instrumental that contains strong Queens Bridge presence?