Beat Kings of Tomorrow: K-Pop’s Top Eight Next Generation Producers

There’s more to a song than the voice that sings the lyrics. The production staff behind the music bring tracks to life — even if we don’t recognize them as quickly as we do our favorite artists. These days, big names like Shinsadong Tiger, Brave Brothers, Teddy and Sweetune appear in entertainment news day after day as a bragging point for artists and agencies, but who are the next wave of high-profile production personalities? Take a look at this list of South Korea’s top eight composers, lyricists and producers of tomorrow, representing the next generation of beats, riffs and words.

08. Zico
It’s not very often that an idol has their hands in nearly every song their group has released since their debut. Of course, it helps that Zico’s musical career started before ever becoming a member of BrandNewStardom and Block B. Just wait until he starts penning hot lyrics and compositions for artists outside of his agency — it won’t be very long.


Other tracks you may recognize:
Block B’s “NanRiNa,” “Freeze!,” “Action” and “Wanna B

07. Dok2
Dok2 not only cuts most of his own tracks, he also drops words and beats for other artists from time to time, you know, like when he’s not winning awards like the 2011 Producer of the Year award from the netizen-fuled site Hippopplaya.


Other tracks you may recognize:
MBLAQ’s “Mona Lisa,” Dok2 & Double K’s “Hip-Hop (LaLaLa),” Epik High’s “Still Here”

MASTERKEY has worked on some pretty awesome chart-toppers over the last few years with artists from hip-hop duo Mighty Mouth to reggae soloist Skull, and from rapper Bizniz to pop diva NS Yoon-G. It’s his impressive composing range that earned him a spot on our list.


Other tracks you may recognize:
Verbal Jint’s “You Look Good,” Park Han Byul’s “Luv U,” MC Sniper’s “14 Round,” U-Kiss’ “Everyday

05. Cheon Da Woon
Cheon Da Woon is one of those producers that surprise you by popping up again and again, especially when you’re searching for rising producers to put on an MTV K list. He’s been around for a little while but if he keeps on churning out hit after hit, he won’t stay under the radar for very long.


Other tracks you may recognize:
K.Will’s “Amazed,” Secret’s “Calling U,” B1A4′s “Only Learned the Bad Things,” B.A.P’s “No Mercy

04. G-Dragon
OK, we’ve already given you eight reasons why we think G-Dragon is the next big thing, but it doesn’t hurt to focus on his music-making skills. He’s taken part in every Big Bang release since 2006, and has only gotten better and better over the years. Plus, rumor has it that he’ll be behind the booth for tracks by YG’s new girl group.

Other tracks you may recognize:
No, really. At least lyrics for every Big Bang track since “Lies” as well as his solo releases.

03. Primary (프라이머리)
If you’ve been paying attention to the Korean music buzz at all these days, there’s a good chance you’ve come across Primary one or seventy times. This masked producer (yes, he’s the one in the box) has been taking R&B, hip-hop, funk and jazz, and spinning them into quality tracks since the mid-2000s. And his popularity just keeps rising….

PRIMARY — “SEE THROUGH ft. Zion.T and Dynamic Duo‘s Gaeko”

Other tracks you may recognize:
Dynamic Duo’s “Fugitive,” Primary’s “Meet Up” and “?

02. RaDo
RaDo spends a good amount of time crafting catchy tunes for Cube Entertainment. Being an in-house producer doesn’t limit one’s skills, as evidenced by the Cube artist’s mega hits like “Troublemaker,” “My My,” “Volume Up” and “Breath.”


Other tracks you may recognize:
Huh Gak’s “Hello,” A Pink’s “MY MY,” Kim Hyung Joon’s “Sorry I’m Sorry

01. Duble Sidekick (이단옆차기)
Duble Sidekick may be fairly new, but they’re already all over the 2012 K-pop charts. Boy bands? Girl groups? Soloists? Dance Pop? Ballads? Done and done. In fact, the duo produced so many hot songs just this year alone that we had a hard time choosing the highlighted MV.


Other tracks you may recognize:
SISTAR’s “Loving You,” MBLAQ’s “This is War,” Skull and Haha’s “Busan Vacance,” NS Yoon Ji’s “The Reason I Became a Witch

Special Mention Producer
Remember when YG asked fans to help with a CF song for Intel? Teddy provided the choices, but voters made big decisions like the genre, the hook, etc. So if we’re going to get more songs like “Be Mine,” we’re all for this kind of collaboration happening more often. Good job, all you fledgling producers, you!

Were you surprised by any of the credits on this page? Who will you keep an eye out for now on?

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