When the topic of legendary 90’s producers comes up, you’ll often hear names like Pete Rock, Buckwild, and Large Professor. There is one name that almost never comes up. This month’s edition of Underrated is dedicated to Easy Mo Bee.
Easy Mo Bee has a track record that the average producer only dreams of. He started his career working with Big Daddy Kane producing cuts for It’s a Big Daddy Thing. Shortly after, he worked on GZA‘s (then known only as Genius) debut album as well as RZA‘s first single on Tommy Boy Records (under the name Prince Rakeem). He was even approached by Jazz legend Miles Davis and worked on his last album before his death.
His career kept advancing as he linked up with Bad Boy and produced the majority of Notorious BIG‘s Ready to Die. Unfortunately, most people think P. Diddy produced it. Mo Bee scored more fame with mid-90’s hits for Craig Mack, Busta Rhymes, and Lost Boyz. Despite the sound of hip-hop changing drastically at the time, he was still able to adapt to current sounds with commercial tracks like “I Love the Dough” with Jay-Z. After a brief hiatus, he re-surfaced and worked with Alicia Keys, earning him a Grammy.
Despite all that, many people don’t know who he is or never regard him as one of the best. Also, given his quality of beats and track record, he should have been much more famous than he is. There are several theories on why, but the most widely accepted one is that Puff Daddy used his power and influence to essentially blackball him from the music industry. This rumor stems from an alleged dispute between the two regarding production credit for a Bad Boy-produced single.
Despite his career ups and downs, he’s one of my favorite 90’s producers. His lo-fi samples and drums provided the backdrop for many great MC’s to rock on. Below are some choice cuts to get familiar with him.