Five Excellent Beat Projects – [yeyts.] x [Kazam] x [Toshiki Hayashi] x [Handbook] x [igory & TwentyWeeks]

Producers/beatmakers are often unfairly overlooked because of artists. Truth be told, producers are artists themselves, as every instrumental requires its own unique form of craftsmanship, and a precise vision to execute the idea. Without producers, your favorite hit single would simply not sound the same, yet alone exist! Comparable to the clientele work of an artisan or sculptor, when producers craft beats for artists, they must put themselves in another’s shoes to innovate. However, the music of production pioneers Nujabes and J. Dilla demonstrates that instrumentals are entirely separate and complete bodies of work. Applied rapping or vocals are not complements to production, but instead honorary elements that create an alternative version. Therefore, to an extent, the artist serves as a guest feature over the producer’s original creation. To effectively shed greater light to the creative brilliance of producers, I’ve chosen to start a monthly series titled “Five Excellent Beat Projects,” which will highlight five instrumental works that I consider exceptional.

  1. yeyts. – seat back – yeyts. is super reserved mellow producer out of San Antonio, Texas. The production of yeyts. often falls under the ‘jazzhop’ category, blending blissful jazz instrumentation with polished hip-hop drums and samples. seat back is the producer’s latest offering, which features seventeen tranquil tracks to brighten up your day.

2. Kazam – Natural Healing – Born and raised in Biarritz, South of France, Kazam began producing in 2013. The French producer’s influences span from House to Hip-Hop, effectively infusing the two styles to create a unique atmosphere through his music and live shows. Now residing in Paris, Kazam is the lead A&R of Hip Dozer, which is the hip-hop branch of the record label Délicieuse musique. Natural Healing is the latest album by Kazam, which implements a variety of flavorful sounds, such as oriental influences on the third track “Meidans Grief.”

3. Toshiki Hayashi – Take Your Time – Toshiki Hayashi (a.k.a. Percee) was born in Sagamihara, Japan. Hayashi is both a renowned beatmaker and DJ, and he is a member of the iconic Japanese rap group “HOOLIGANZ.” Hayashi is also a part of the mega popular female rap duo “chelmico.” Hayashi’s production style can be described as graceful; his beats are incredibly polished to perfection, which seems to be the standard for Japanese producers. Primarily hip-hop focused, Hayashi’s sound varies from drum-filled boom bap to softer jazz. Take Your Time is a special fourteen track album consisting only of Hayashi’s compositions. The album is so soothing that one likely wouldn’t recognize if it looped following its end.

4. Handbook – Directions EP – Heavily inspired by production pioneers such as J Dilla, Flying Lotus, and Madlib, in 2010, Handbook began producing music in his bedroom. At this time, the UK-based producer created music through sole reliance of an MPC1000 and MicroKorg. Ten years later, Handbook’s sound is nothing short of world-class, with his flourishing signature sound consisting of soulful samples, thick bass lines, and layered instrumentation. Directions EP is a short four track project with each record (North, South, East, West) making up the points of the compass. My personal favorite is “West,” but each directional song offers its own individual excellence.

5. igory, Twenty Weeks – Tonedeaf – Just as famous painters rarely paint together, it is a rarity for two producers to create an entire collaborative instrumental album. Such a feat requires unforced amalgamation of styles, while determining how to equally divide the auditory spotlight of each other’s signatures. This task seemed effortless for igory and Twentyweeks; two producers who are a part of the worldwide beat community Ninetofive Records. Both producers reign from Russia, with theirs sounds often incorporating soul, funk, and smooth lounge. To create the masterpiece, igory and Twenty Weeks agreed to meet in the cities of St. Petersburg and Arkhangelsk for its recording. The album contains eight stunning compositions; all of which evoke pure contentment.


I hope you enjoy these five masterful works of art. Stay tuned for the next five excellent beat projects next month!


Words by Brandon Washington