For over two decades, DJ Premier has provided hip-hop junkies with classic production supporting some of the genre’s biggest artists. His ability to craft beats seamlessly with his scratches and boom bap sound has always placed smiles on people’s faces, and his methodical approach in the studio has etched him into firmly into hip-hop history as one of the greatest producers to ever do it. Besides landing on tracks with Jay Z, Nas and The Notorious B.I.G., he’s also always been appreciative of the artform that he helped developed. DJ Premier sat down with XXL to break down his five favorite beats of all time.
1. Eric B. and Rakim – Eric B. Is President (Produced by Eric B.)
DJ Premier: Just because I’m a real big James Brown fan. No one had taken the drum roll and the hit off of “Funky President” and make it play the “Over Like A Fat Rat” melody from Fonda Ray [starts beat boxing] and make it go [continues beat boxing] and back into the drum beat, and then bring the music back in. The way it just came around, I just never heard an arrangement that funky, but simple. And with Marley Marl’s handles on it. It just made it official.
2. Biz Markie – Biz Is Goin’ Off (Produced by Marley Marl)
DJ Premier: You know, the way Biz rhymed to it and [Big Daddy] Kane wrote it. It was just a record that you can’t deny. It was that funky. The way Marley was just stepping and stuttering of his kicks, and the delays and echoes. It was everything.
3. EPMD – So What Cha Sayin’ (Produced by Erick Sermon, Parrish Smith & DJ Scratch)
DJ Premier: This [record] just blew my fucking mind. I was like, “This was not right.” It was not right. Who does that? Who just murders a hentai porn thing like that? One of the greatest records to be done in hip-hop is “So What Cha Sayin’.”
4. Nas – The World Is Yours (Produced by Pete Rock)
DJ Premier: That was a bonafide Pete Rock and Nas collabo.
5. MC Shan – The Bridge (Produced by Marley Marl)
DJ Premier: To take the record scratching and put it in reverse and go [makes scratching effects] and then [add] “The Bridge, The Bridge, The Bridge.” It just sounded like, “What is that?” All the echoes on Shan’s voice were unreal. It was unreal.