Rick Rock was born in Fairfield, California, just past Vallejo if you’re coming from the Bay. He’s an absolute legend in Northern California, and only partially because he was the main architect of hyphy music. He came up under the tutelage of producer Mike Mosley, who himself pretty much invented mobb music way back when E-40 started releasing music with The Click. It was through Mosley that Rock hooked up with 2Pac in the mid-90’s, and appeared on two production credits for Pac’s best-selling and last album released when he was alive.
Rock produced for a number of Bay Area artists, including E-40, throughout the nineties before hooking up with Jay-Z on his pivotal 2000 album, The Dynasty: Roc La Familia1. That led to working with a bunch of other national artists, including Fabolous, Snoop Dogg, Busta Rhymes and Will Smith, all the while planting the seeds for hyphy to grow like ivy throughout the Bay Area.
In the vein of the Great Scott Storch Playlist, Rhyme Junkie has compiled a comprehensive Spotify playlist of the 20 years of music Rock has gifted to the world. Starting with MC Eiht’s debut album and going all the way through E-40’s very recent monster output, here’s 32 songs to immerse yourself with one of the best, most underrated and influential producers in hip hop. Notable exceptions are The Conscious Daughters’ “Gamers (Eerie Attic Mix)” (which was the first Rick Rock production on a major label) and Lisa “Left Eye” Lopes’ “Jenny,” neither of which is on Spotify. I also left off The Federation’s “18 Dummy” and “Git Naked You Beezy,” because there’s already more than enough slappers from my high school years. Let us know if you think we’re missing anything important in the comments.
1. I’m very interested to know what rap might look like today had Jay tapped Rock (who had four beats on The Dynasty) for his next project The Blueprint, instead of Kanye (who only had one beat on the The Dynasty).↩