With an intuitive musical approach that has won him collaborations with everyone from Travis Scott to Lupe Fiasco to Jazmine Sullivan, DJ Dahi may be the most versatile producer in hip hop.
2015 sometimes felt like one long coronation of Metro Boomin as hip hop's new production king. In the midst of all the (well-deserved!) Metro hullabaloo, DJ Dahi was quietly putting together a career year for himself. If Metro was a colossus who ravaged and reshaped the hip hop landscape with his rolling hi-hats and catalysmic 808s, Dahi was a chameleon who perambulated unseen through the underbrush. He covered an incredible amount of territory last year, with appearances on albums by Travis Scott, Lupe Fiasco, Jazmine Sullivan, Dr. Dre, Madonna, Big Sean, Tinashe, Kelela, Wale, and Vince Staples, to name a few.
Dahi, 33, caught his big break in 2012, when he sent Kendrick Lamar a beat organized around a reversed Beach House sample and some exotic percussive elements. That beat would appear on good kid m.A.A.d. city as "Money Trees". Since then, Dahi has become a widely respected in the hip hop community for his intuitive and flexible approach that aims to accentuate the strengths of each artist with whom he works.
"A lot of artists don't know what the hell to talk about when they get into the booth," Dahi told NPR earlier this year. "They're really in there just searching, trying to hit a home run with no one pitching. It's important that I give them the setup — 'This is how I need it to feel' — a spark so that the train can get in motion."
Click through the galleries above as we venture Behind the Beat with DJ Dahi.