The 7 Top Songs Kanye West Produced for Other Artists

As chronicled in the 2022 Netflix docu-series jeen-yuhs: A Kanye Trilogy, and also well-documented before then, Kanye West got his start in hip-hop by producing beats for Jay-Z. Working on Hov classics like “Takeover,” “Izzo (H.O.V.A.),” “’03 Bonnie & Clyde,” “Lucifer,” and “Encore,” West slowly but surely made a name for himself in rap circles, and ultimately burst onto the scene as an artist with his 2004 debut The College Dropout.

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Throughout his career, even after embarking on his solo efforts, West still found time to craft instrumentals for his industry friends. Whether it was songs by Rihanna, Beyoncé, Drake, Lil Wayne, and more, West played a part in several radio hits in the 2000s and 2010s, cementing an incredible legacy as a producer.

Below, we’ve compiled seven of the best songs he produced for other artists.

7. “Izzo (H.O.V.A.),” Jay-Z (2001)

Jay-Z’s first ever top 10 hit on the Billboard Hot 100, “Izzo (H.O.V.A.)” was career-elevating for both the song’s rapper and its producer. Released as the first promotional single for his sixth album The Blueprint, the song came to be after West convinced Jay to listen to one more beat at the end of a studio session.

“I put it on, and he just started bopping his head to it,” West said in an interview with MTV in 2006. “He gave me one of those looks like *grimaces in enjoyment*. That’s how you know you got a hit.”

6. “03′ Bonnie and Clyde,” Jay-Z ft Beyoncé (2002)

Landing on Jay-Z’s 2022 album The Blueprint 2: The Gift & The Curse, “03′ Bonnie and Clyde” served as the first-ever collaboration between Hov and his wife Beyoncé. In an interview with MTV soon after the song came out, West said that Jay asked him to craft his best beat ever, which ended up being “03′ Bonnie and Clyde.”

“‘We got this joint, it has to be the best beat you ever made,'” West recalled that Jay told him. “So I went home and called my dog, E Base, who plays a lot of instruments up at Baseline [studio] for me, and [producer] Just Blaze. [E] came through. I programmed the drums in 10 minutes, and then he played all the different parts. This version is all live bass, live guitars, [live] chords on it. I brought it to Hov that night, he heard it, he thought of the video treatment before he thought of the rap. He just knew it was gonna be the one.”

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5.”You Don’t Know My Name,” Alicia Keys (2003)

Produced by West, Alicia Keys’ 2003 hit “You Don’t Know My Name” served as the lead single for her sophomore album The Diary Of Alicia Keys. The song would go on to peak at No. 3 on the Hot 100, and would take home a Grammy award for Best R&B song.

4. “Let The Beat Build,” Lil Wayne (2008)

Co-produced by West and another instrumentalist named Deezle, who also crafted the beat for Lil Wayne’s smash hit “Lollipop,” “Let The Beat Build” landed at No. 10 on the track list for Wayne’s 2008 album Tha Carter III. When speaking on the song’s creation with XXL, Deezle explained that the song came together super quickly.

“Wayne came to me and said, I have an idea. I want to do a song where over time the beat just progressively gets bigger and bigger until the hook drops,” he said. “[W]e went through that whole song together because he knew how he wanted it to feel at certain points… He made up all the vocals on the spot, man. The whole song. It was recorded in about 30 minutes.”

3.”Find Your Love,” Drake (2010)

As we noted in an article earlier this year, Drake’s 2010 smash hit “Find Your Love,” which landed on his debut studio album Thank Me Later and became his first ever top 10 hit on the Hot 100, was initially written and produced by Kanye West for Rihanna. However, Drake fell in love with the song when he heard Rihanna’s demo track for it and asked the pop sensation if she could let him have it. She apparently obliged.

“So he ended up with the beat and then when he recorded it, he was singing, and I was like, ‘Word? Singing? You’re really rolling with this, huh?’” co-producer No I.D. said in a 2011 interview with Complex. “Drake took it and made his own magic record.”

Over a decade later, Drake and Kanye West would share the stage at their Free Larry Hoover Benefit Concert in Los Angeles. There, West actually performed “Find Your Love” with Drake’s approval, making for a wholesome, full-circle moment. Check out the clip below.

2. “Party,” Beyoncé ft Andre 3000 (2011)

The fifth song on Beyoncé’s 2011 album 4, “Party” not only included instrumentation from West but also boasted a fiery verse from OutKast’s André 3000. Additionally, West provided the song’s intro and outro, where he subtly rapped: You a bad girl and your friends bad too, ooh / We got the swag sauce she dripping swagu. The song would eventually receive a beloved remix with J. Cole replacing André and would be nominated for Best Rap/Sung Collaboration at the 54th Grammy Awards.

1. “Bitch Better Have My Money,” Rihanna (2015)

An absolutely explosive hit by Rihanna, “Bitch Better Have My Money” featured production from West, Travis Scott, and acclaimed instrumentalist WondaGurl. Peaking at No. 15 on the Hot 100, the song includes boisterous lyricism by Rih and a booming instrumental to match.

“‘Bitch Better Have My Money’ just felt like something everybody can relate to, whether it’s in regards to money or not,” Rih told Vogue in 2016. “There’s something about that attitude or that confidence, that level of discarding something. Because it’s also just very final. It’s a very final statement. That song can be taken in so many ways. You know? And hardly ever is it actually money. I mean, money’s pretty much the obvious thing. The non-obvious thing is somebody who’s just jocking you. You’re not paying them any attention. You’re minding your own business. And everything that comes out of them is targeted toward you. You feel like at the end of the day, you might as well get paid for this shit.”

Photo by Larry Busacca/Getty Images for NARAS

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