Producer Fantasy Ranking: Infinity Knives

by Dan-O

Infinity Knives is a composer not a beatsmith. Not someone who thinks about samples or loops. Knives creates movements within songs always with the intention of getting the very most from them and the orator. Ask Brian Ennals, you are not just going to get packs to spit on. On their projects Rhino XXL and King Cobra they ground out this music together and Knives was known to push his collaborator outside of his comfort zone. He’s so far outside the role of “rap producer” that listening to his rap beats is absolutely joyous.The way he builds songs doesn’t resemble anyone or anything. Listen to In The Mouth of Sadness off his 2020 album Dear Sudan. Infinity Knives scores feelings, other people make beats. These are who I want to do a full album collaboration with Infinity Knives:

1.Boldy James-The Sterling Toles produced Manger on McNichols might be the best album on Bandcamp. Toles spent years taking the immediate damaged dope boy lyrics of Boldy and challenging that hush delivery with instruments, noises, clatter. Toles wanted you to feel the city coming for Boldy. Boldy over great beats is elite but Boldy over expansive production that surprises you is the best thing ever. You can get lost in the words, emotions and tone or the journey the sounds behind that voice are taking. Boldy and Infinity Knives would be a full plate.

2.Namir Blade-Some will see Namir at 2 over folks like Jay Rock and Kool Keith and wonder why. The simple explanation is that Namir is an incredible talent at the height of an important career. Metropolis is self-produced fun and artistically developed like fine architecture. Namir has been clear that the boundaries around being your favorite rapper kind of suck. Doo Wop back up singing, dance music all of it was on the table for Metropolis. I can’t even imagine where the two of them would go together with such an expanded scope of musical influence. I have to believe they would hone in on some specific common ground none of us would expect and crank out anthems.

3.Jay Rock-Very high on my favorite rappers all time. Jay Rock hasn’t had a bad verse in a long time. When doing a Jay Rock album you have to be aware his voice carries authority but doesn’t bend or stretch very often. He’s a solid lead character so the cinematography and story has to provide richness and texture. This is where collaborators like Tyler Moonlight and Allison Clendaniel can really swoop in and differentiate songs, breaking them into pieces that form a whole. Never have to worry about Jay Rock bars but I would love for him to benefit from the relationship of a single producer album and break away from that muted TDE production sound.

4.Kool Keith-Few people in the history of hip hop have carved out more lanes than Keith but along the way he got soured on full time collaborating with producers. Knives wouldn’t play that no matter how legendary Keith is, he wouldn’t accept a “send me stuff like this” arrangement. I wonder how long its been since Keith has been in the studio with the producer he is working with talking through the songs and creating in real time? I want that back for him. You can hear the difference between fully galvanized Kool Keith and the way too comfy version. Knives would splash cold water on him and bring my guy back.

5.Open Mike Eagle-How do you top smashing 2 Diamond D beats on your last acclaimed album? Do something totally different. Mike has absolutely mastered the art rap lane he created for himself and I think Knives would construct an entirely new direction. Mike is masterful at bridges that lead to hooks and a second bridge at the end, dealing with someone who loves all kinds of songs as much as he does would be very freeing and create something unlike anything in the market he helped get on its feet.


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