Dr.Dre is a hip hop icon/entrepreneur, I understand that. I'm also a fan and I got his CDs and cassettes.
However, I'm talking strictly music production wise, Erick Sermon (1/2 of the legendary group, EPMD) is marginally is better than Dr. Dre.
Here is some reasons why Erick Sermon should be in considered.
1. Erick Sermon has played a instrument (MPC, Keyboard, Logic, and etc.) in all his production. He may not have played every single instrument on a song but he doesn't have somebody else make the beat so he mix it and slap his name on the entire production credit.
2. Erick Sermon came out in 1987-88 with EPMD, which is also around the time that Dr.Dre and NWA came out.
Til this day, people say Erick was using a "west coast" sound or samples in his production
. "You Gots to Chill" could probably be the earliest usage of a Roger Troutman track that has been used millions of times in West Coast Rap during the early 90's. So in other words, Erick was a bit ahead of Dre on finding funk samples
3. Dr.Dre is known for quality in music production. Erick Sermon should be in the same class when it comes to quality. He may have boring beats (all producers have them) but you can never call it wack or even his discography of production wack
. Erick Sermon got tons of beats that make you nod your head, make you wanna freestyle, or even dance to. Fuck Drake & 40, Eminem, and P.Diddy. Erick managed to ressurect Marvin Gaye on a record and make the song pop on the billboards.
I may be bias by saying that Dr.Dre has more classic instrumentation
because its more known but Erick Sermon is the Clyde Drexler of Hip Hop Music Production.
Here's some proof of his work.