Producer Hit-Boy Reflects on the Impact of DMX, Other Influential Artists on 10 Songs That Made Me

Illustration for article titled Producer Hit-Boy Reflects on the Impact of DMX, Other Influential Artists on 10 Songs That Made Me
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In case you haven’t heard Spotify’s 10 Songs That Made Me, you’re missing your blessing. In their latest Music + Talk show, they’ve created a unique listening experience by allowing influential tastemakers and creatives to reflect on the 10 songs that’ve left a tremendous impact on each of their lives.


Music producer Hit-Boy, who’s worked with everybody from Kanye West to Beyoncé, and who won a 2021 Grammy for producing Nas’ critically-acclaimed album, King’s Disease, is featured on the latest episode and revealed which 10 songs are the most meaningful to him.

Earlier this month, we lost rapper DMX. He was admitted to the hospital following a heart attack that was reportedly caused by a drug overdose and never regained consciousness. The death of the “Ruff Ryders’ Anthem” rapper sent shockwaves throughout the entertainment industry, and in speaking on 10 Songs That Made Me, Hit-Boy revealed that the Yonkers rapper’s “ATF” was the first song he remembers discovering on his own.

“It’s funny because I can’t even really say that I discovered him on my own because my people was big fans of the album and they would play like the first single, ‘How’s It Goin’ Down.’ They would play that over and over,” he said. “But just getting my hands on the album, I had a little Walkman and I had the tape or whatever. So just like listening to the album, you start getting towards the end and it’s like just that was such a vivid story, you know, you felt like you was there with DMX every step of the way when you [were] listening to ‘ATF.’ So, you know, it just blew my mind. I might have got that tape from somebody who just left it at my spot, one of my family members or something like that. But I just know that, you know, listening to the album over and over, I started really just taking that ‘ATF.’”

When asked what song he listened to most when he first started driving, Hit-Boy pinpointed Kanye West’s “We Major” from his sophomore album, Late Registration.

“I just remember that summer that it came out in ‘05,” he said. “I remember being in Ontario Mills parking lot playing, you know, the whole Kanye album, the whole Late Registration. But it’s just something about ‘We Major’, like the horns on it, the drums, the snare patterns, everything about it just blew my mind. And I was already a couple of years into making beats. So I was just like, ‘How can you make a beat this good?’ You know what I’m saying?”

He continued, “I never thought I would be able to achieve that level of production. But, you know, there’s just something about how massive that joint sounded. Studying a lot of Kanye, trying to pretty much mimic his vibe at first and then making it my own thing and just turning into the next level, what that is, you know, and just the music sounded so good. I had to do a lot of developing and a lot of studying and locking in to get to work with them. It’s still mind-blowing to me.”


For those interested in Hit-Boy’s picks for which song impacted him most as a child, which song made him want to become a musician, or which song he wishes he had written—and of course, it’s a song by Stevie Wonder—check out the latest episode of Spotify’s 10 Songs That Made Me, with new episodes dropping every Friday.

Menace to supremacy. Founder of Extraordinary Ideas and co-host and producer of The Extraordinary Negroes podcast. Impatiently waiting for y'all to stop putting sugar in grits.