In Hip Hop a person who ONLY makes instrumentals and doesn’t engage with artists or rappers in any creative process of the project is known as beat maker.
A producer on the other hand can actually have the skills of making beats while at the same having leadership skills to bring together artists of different styles and help them to have this level of synergy were the final work has a sense of cohesion; a sense of a well thought out masterpiece.
In Hip Hop music producers can also be executive producers but these type of individuals are less likely to have to knowledge and the skills to make beats or instrumentals. Instead executive producers are often involved in pairing a beat maker with a rapper. For example, they might pick a beat they think has a potential to be a hit. From there they will find an artist whose rap style fits in with that particular beat in question.
So you can pretty much think of executive producers as guiding angels that are there for quality control purposes. However, beat makers they just produce the instrumental and try to sell it without being concerned whether it’s the right instrumental for the project or not.
The Skills Required to be a Beat Maker
Obviously in contemporary times the skill required to be an efficient beat maker is to be able to use DAW software and a bit understanding of music theory here and there.
Having a unique and a coveted sound also brings in money for a beat maker. So if the beat maker’s signature sound is trending on the market then they are sure to have more clientele.
Networking skills are essential too because with these networking skills a beat maker can meet and come across artists whom they can work with in the future.
The Skills Required to Be an Executive Music Producer
An executive music producer should have an impeccable ear for great beats and hooks. Some rappers aren’t that good at picking beats yet this is vital for the final release of the rap song.
Even some listeners themselves have a tendency to listen first to the beat before they even pay attention to the lyrics. Hence, an experienced music producer is someone who has this knowledge and is suppose to use that knowledge to guide the rapper towards catering to the interests of a diverse fan base.