The song “Mind Your Business” was produced by DJ Premier. How did that collaboration come about and do feel any kind of special pressure when you’re working with a guy like that?
Slaine: Yes, I do. He’s probably the only person I feel pressure working with as a producer. I’m less relaxed working with Premier than anyone else because he’s literally my favorite producer.
I’ll tell you a funny story. Back in 1997, it may have even been 1998. I stood in line when [Gang Starr's] “Moment of Truth” came out, and I wanted to get my LP signed at the Tower Records. It was one of favorite groups, Gang Starr. Guru was from Boston, so he was a big influence on me. So Premier was just my favorite producer ever, everything from Nas to Biggie to Gang Starr, to you name it. So I stood in line, and it was a long line, and I got to the front and wished him well with the record. And I told him, “I’m gonna work with you one day man.” He was like, “Oh, you think you got it like that, man? We’ll see. We’ll see.”
So, fast forward six years, 2004. I was working with a group I’m in called Special Teamz, with Edo G, and we bumped into Premier in the studio. He had just moved into it. It used to be the old D & D and he renamed it The HeadQCouterz. So we go in there and he asks Edo, “Who’s the young guy in the center?” And [Edo's] like, “That’s Slaine.” And he goes into the studio for about two hours while we sat there, and I was like, “I don’t think he likes me, Ed.” And he’s like, no, it’s fine. And another hour goes by, and he’s like, “I don’t think he likes you.”
So anyways, we recorded a track, and it was the first single we put out, called “Main Event.” When I’m touring, I’m in London and Premier is DJing at this club and we go over to check it out. We went backstage and Premier and Melle Mel come walkin’ out. And Premier’s like, “Oh shit! What up!” And he starts spitting the verse from my song. He starts spittin’ the verse with the Boston accent, and I guess he likes it. He’s like, “Oh man, come here, I want to introduce you to this new artist I’m workin’ with.” And then he introduces me to Melle Mel. And I was just blown away. And me and Premier have been friends ever since that, even though this is the first time I’ve worked with him since then. So I worked with him in 2004 and 2012, but have kept in touch, texted him and seen him around a little bit. He’s a good dude, man. I have a great relationship with him, but he’s someone I get nervous to work with. He has that persona. I used to have pictures of him on the wall when I was a kid.