It can be fun to laugh at the ill-advised producers that publicly fail in their attempts to rhyme on records; but truth  be told, there are some quality combo-artists out here in the Great Northwest doing it all. We decided to focus on the positive today and talk about them.

I remember interviews from guys like Kanye who’ve said that they started rapping because they needed raps to put on their beats (or vice-versa)… Interestingly enough, a lot of the guys on this list prefer to keep business and pleasure separate, often opting instead to sell beats to others and rap on someone else’s soundscape.

There certainly could have been more names on this list, but these are the folks I’d go to for a beat/verse combo if I were a struggle rapper. I’d try and get it for free too… Like, “It’ll be a good look for both of us!” Yeah, #RapLife.

1) Vitamin D
If you don’t think Vita is a legendary producer, check his credit list. Dude takes #1 off that alone. In addition, his jazzy rap style has grandchildren in Seattle and beyond. Check out his birthday present to the world, Bornday 2 to hear him spit.

2) Q Dot
Quincy Henry of Federal Way has a Grammy nomination and that’s not fair. One of those guys that’s just good at everything, the singer/producer/disc jockey/rapper/college graduate recently dropped The Darkness to show off his rap skills. My sons love this album and insist I play it in the car.

3) Stewart Villain
The Happy Valley hermit stays busy. Between dropping cool mash-ups and producing projects for his fellow Soar Losers, Stew also finds time to spit rapid-fire bars with the best of them. For example…

4) Sapient
A nod to the veteran, how could I ignore the original Northwest D-I-Y dundatta? Sape has a new project due the 17th of this month. And by all accounts so far, it appears he’s back to rapping.

5) Rob Skeetz
The Moor Gang slap-maker has been behind some great projects – his work on Thaddeus David’s NoneTheLess comes to mind – and recently showed that he can hold his own with a rather dope solo project in Planet Rob.
**Cover picture courtesy of Miss Casey Carter**

6) Tope
Young Champagne has been killing the rap grind. His Troubleman EP made major waves and his work with TxE makes him a hometown hero. The young rapper has long been a beatsmith though, recently hopping behind the boards to help out another PDX standout, Cool Nutz, with a hot new single.

7) Cory Kendrix
The Oregon native was recently in the PNW for a stint away from his Austin, TX home. While he was here, he did a lot of work, much of it on the production end for rappers from Seattle to Eugene and beyond. His latest project, Ignorance, lets him show of both skill sets.

8) Aviel
A student of hip-hop since childhood, Mr. Yamin has long been proficient behind both the mic and the boards. In a recent interview with yours truly, he talked about how production has opened doors for his rap career. His raps have been solid for a long time, but some of these new beats are next level.

9) 5th Sequence
One of the most low-key artists I know, boom-bap specialist Brandon Johnson is no slouch behind the mic. Don’t believe me? Watch him get on Diezel P‘s head on Over & Over.

10) Packard Browne
When I first met this guy, he went by Peadie X or something and wore cutoff denim jackets. What caught my attention way back then though was the kid’s ability to mash alternative sounds into amazingly hard-hitting hip-hop beats. I lost track of the producer for a while but found him again last year when he dropped Bike Lane under the new moniker. Keep an eye out for this guy. He ALWAYS has something going on.