DJ Premier Blog » Interview

Classified Talks Working With DJ Premier & Slug of Atmosphere

Another DJ Premier Interview about Making Jay-Z’s “Reasonable Doubt”

Of course my favorite album of Jay-Z! Enjoy this good read:

Ambrosia for Heads: Back in 1994, you produced “Show & Prove” for Big Daddy Kane and it featured Jay Z. Was that the first time you guys met and worked together?

DJ Premier: I knew Jay back in, like, ’88 when [Gang Starr’s] No More Mr. Nice Guy was out. I used to see Jay around because Jaz-O was my labelmate but prior to that, we all had mutual respect for each other. I was living in Brooklyn again ’cause I had moved from East New York up to the Bronx on 183rd St and lived up there for a while. Going to the corner store on Fulton [St]–and it was wild on the block back then, over on 4th and Marcy–that’s how we met Biggie. Biggie used to be there every day so we’d hang out with him. But prior to that, we used to see Jay Z at all the underground clubs with Jaz-O, like the Milky Way and Mars and the Payday, which my former manager Patrick Moxey used to run. You had to be somebody to get in there, even if you were a platinum artist, which was more rare back then. Jay Z used to come in there with that bigass chain on, you know the one he had on in [the video for Jaz-O’s] “Hawaiian Sophie.” So we used to see them coming in and out of parties, just posted up. And then on top of that, I used to see Big L always bring Jay around, too back then. You know, because Big L was more poppin’ or whatever with a major deal prior to Jay gettin’ a deal. When [Gang Starr] got signed to Chrysalis in ’90, we used to have to go to all these distributor meetings with MC Hammer, Vanilla Ice, and Jaz-O and Jay would be at all of those. And he’d be with Big Daddy Kane alot. So I just remember seeing Jay around a lot, and he’d always be the highlight, too. Kane would be like “yo, you gotta check out Jay-Z,” and he’d get him to kick a verse for him. And he would always kill it, and then boom, that’d be the end of it. And then next thing you know, I was doing radio at the time at WBLS and I remember Clark Kent brought Jay Z with him to give me a 12-inch record that they had just done called “In My Lifetime.” Jay gave me the record, I listened to it during the commercial break and right after the break as soon as we were back I went right into it and started cuttin’ it up. So from there, Jay gave me a bottle of Cristal and I didn’t know what that was. I was used to Moet. And he was like “nah, this is way bigger than Moet.” He was already into the whole finer things in life type of lifestyle. So he gave me the bottle of Cristal and he gave me a really dope Cuban cigar as a thank you, and next thing you know, everybody started playin’ that record, and this is way prior to Reasonable Doubt.

Ambrosia for Heads: Patrick Moxey ran Payday Records too and signed that “In My Lifetime” record. Were you the one who took it to Patrick?

DJ Premier: Well Patrick heard the record because it started getting a lot of love from the mix show DJs, and next thing you know, Patrick said “I’m gonna sign Jay Z to Payday [Records]” and it was for a single deal, not an album deal. So that’s when Jaz-O did the remix and then they shot a video, and they used their own money. I knew they were having issues getting funding from the label and they were like “how you gonna sign me to a 12-inch deal but you don’t want to pay for the video?” And then from there, things didn’t work out and they left. We used to all be in the same van together doing promo. Me, Big Shug, Jay, Lil’ Dap, Melachi the Nutcracker, and Jeru [the Damaga]. All of us in the van doing promo.

Ambrosia for Heads: You mentioned Jay had Big L behind him, Jaz-O was a supporter, he had signed to Payday, he knew you. Jay had all these people in his corner from ’89 on, yet it took 7 years for Reasonable Doubt to come out. Why do you think it took so long for him to release an album that got traction?

DJ Premier: Well it’s always about making the right record, number one. Number two, Big L at that time really had a lot of status. A lot. And a lot of respect where his cosign mattered. If he cosigned you, you mattered. And Kane as well, but Kane was also transitioning from the earlier days to the Taste of Chocolate days and all that stuff. And then on top of that, Jay Z always had just one guest spot. He didn’t have a body of work of stuff with him just rhyming by himself. “In My Lifetime” and “I Can’t Get With That” was just two records, you know what I’m sayin’? But around there, that’s when he did “Dead Presidents.” I remember when they were cuttin’ that record because he was starting to come to D&D [Studios] to do work and everybody knew D&D was the place to go. And at that time, we were really hot so Jay started coming to D&D. I remember he brought a white Lexus with a television in it and he popped the trunk and showed me the VCR. He was the first person I saw with movies playing on the headrest. So Jay Z used to be up there all the time with them. And that’s how Ski became a major part of the sound and shape of Reasonable Doubt. He was really the go-to person. He was the Premier of their crew.

Ambrosia for Heads: How did you get involved with the project?

More of the interview can be found here.

Related: JAY-Z: “THE PROBLEM WITH PREMO IS HE’S ALWAYS TOO LATE”

Roc-A-Fella Records’ Kareem “Biggs” Burke & DJ Premier Discuss Jay Z’s ‘Reasonable Doubt’


On June 25, 1996, one of the most celebrated albums in Hip Hop history was released. Jay Z began his reign as a member of the culture’s list of highly accomplished emcees when Reasonable Doubt hit stores on that date.

The LP celebrates its 20 year anniversary in 2016. There will surely be plenty of events, articles, and moments honoring Hov’s classic debut.

Viceland recently held a Facebook Q&A with two insiders that played a big role in the creation of Reasonable Doubt. Roc-A-Fella Records co-founder Kareem “Biggs” Burke and legendary producer DJ Premier sat down to answer questions from fans.

Watch Kareem “Biggs” Burke and DJ Premier’s interview below.

Props: Allhiphop.com

Tupac Was Working on “One Nation” Album With Outkast, DJ Premier & More When He Died

What makes someone a legend? You’re a legend when people are still fascinated by untold stories of your life and work 20 years after your death. Tupac is a legend.

You still can’t talk hip-hop without at least occasionally talking Pac, but for reasons of fate or cosmic coincidence, it seems like there’s been a spree of Pac related news lately. A powerful, previously buried MTV interview recently surfaced, we just learned from Angie Martinez that he wasn’t going to settle for peace with Biggie and Bad Boy until he had his revenge, and now his close friend Greg Nice has revealed that he was working on a “One Nation” album that, as the name suggests, was all about unity. While it didn’t involve anyone at Bad Boy, there was too much bad blood already spilled for that, he was talking to DJ Premier, Buckshot and had even reached out to Outkast for the project when he was killed.

I’d heard whispers, snippets, of the almost mythical One Nation album before. Buckshot mentioned it briefly in a previous interview, some studio footage briefly emerged that’s now been removed, there was that handwritten note where Pac wrote that he was aiming for a summer release of a, “…group album with me, Greg Nice, Buckshot, Smiff & Wesson, Outkast, The Outlawz, Scarface & E-40.” But to the best of my knowledge, we’ve never heard such a complete accounting of the project from Greg Nice himself, the man who was fundamental in making it happen.

Pac’s legacy, like the legacy of any hero that dies so young, is filled with “what if?”s. It’s tempting to say that if he had lived and put out the One Nation album it would have changed everything, maybe he and Biggie would both still be alive, but who knows how events would have played out? Fatal events had been set in motion long before Pac and Nice began to seriously work on One Nation, but at the very least an album like that could have easily gone down as a hip-hop masterpiece.

Just when you think you’ve reached the limits of Tupac Shakur’s legend, it continues…

Props: DJBooth.net

Torii Wolf Explains New Single “1st” & Working With DJ Premier


The musical career of DJ Premier includes creating sound beds for some of the most accomplished performers in Hip Hop history. While Premo is widely known for his work with Gang Starr, Nas, The Notorious B.I.G., Jay Z, and other rap stars, the legendary producer has also put his stamp on records by D’Angelo, Janet Jackson, and Brandy.

In addition, Premier’s catalog includes the East Coast representative teaming with the likes of Jeru the Damaja, Bumpy Knuckles, and Royce da 5’9″ to forge complete bodies of work. Surprisingly, Preem has yet to produce an entire project by a female vocalist. That omission is about to be corrected.

Singer-songwriter Torii Wolf is joining forces with Premier for the upcoming album Flow Riiot. The duo offered a hint about the direction of the collection with the new single “1st” which premiered last week. It has already collected over 24,000 plays on SoundCloud.

“‘1st’ came very naturally, just lots of raw emotion,” says Wolf. “I really let it go in the booth. Preem’s beat brought a heartbroken animal out of me, and that is a common theme we’ve really held on to throughout the entire album.”

The track features Premo’s signature scratches as well as Wolf lamenting about a lost love. With a sample from Dilated People’s “Good As Gone,” the single effortlessly seams together an underground Hip Hop feel with a modern Sade-esque lyrical approach.

“Working with Preem is the nonpareil. It’s all about the feel, which is how I find myself doing everything I do in this life,” states Wolf. “When it comes to expression, I don’t believe there are any right or wrong ways to do it, and creating with Preem falls right in line with that way of living for me. We have great chemistry in the lab, and I think of our creations like language and our genres are our dialects.”

The Wantagh, New York native adds, “Our conversations flow beautifully. We understand each other, and I feel so grateful to have found each other here and everywhere and even more excited to share our sound babies with the world.”

Source: Allhiphop.com

5 minutes with DJ Premier (Infusion Magazine Interview)

pre

One of the most important names in hip hop thanks to his renowned production and DJ skills, DJ Premier is returning to DXB to play new hip night Dubai With Attitude on Thursday March 24. Our go-to hip hop man Lobito from Deep Crates Cartel got 5 minutes with the highly respected DJ to talk modern hip hop, dope rhymes and collaborations in the UAE…

Peace Primo, this is Lobito representing Zulu Nation out here in the Middle East, this is your second time in Dubai if I’m not mistaken, what was your first impression of the city?
It is a beautiful city and I had a good time seeing the sights. Beautiful women there also.

It’s an understatement to say I’m a fan of your work and primarily the consistency you’ve held in your output quality and production style regardless of the genres and artists you’ve worked with, are there any new projects you’re excited about creatively?
Yes I have an independent underground label called Year Round Records. I have a group called the NYGz who have been a part of the Gang Starr Foundation for many years. They are from New York and we will be releasing a new LP that I produced entirely called (Hustlaz Union: Local NYG).  I am Executive Producing an album with the legend MC Eiht of Compton’s Most Wanted which I Produced 3 tracks.  His album is titled (Which Way Iz West). There’s a new female artist by the name of Torii Wolf who is releasing a new project LP that you will hear from this year. She is very different and unique from anything I have produced and she will be a new sound in my production style. I produced the entire album and I co-produced 4 songs with the legendary King Of Chill (MC Lyte, Audio Two, The Family Stand). I started a new band (The Badder Band) and we are currently recording a new EP. Then there’s a DJ Premier solo LP in the works. There’s more but we will start there.

I grew up on Gang Starr which defined me in my early days as a DJ getting into the music so I have to ask you about the state of rap and hip hop culture today. You were pivotal in developing the New York sound after people like Marley Marl, so whats your opinion on where things are now for the youth and where things are going?
The sound of what the younger generation is doing is different from how I was raised in music, but their generation is made for them and I welcome it. I just prefer to stick to the purest form of how the pioneer’s taught me. There is plenty of room for everyone to do what they do and I do what I am good at which is the Boom Bap style of beats.

I also love lyricists that have something to say., although I love to party at times but I love a dope rhyme most of the time.

A local group The Recipe collaborated recently with Talib Kweli when he was here, do you look out for local collaborations when you travel?
Sometimes I do depending on my schedule. I like to dig for records in other cities and I take the time out to listen to artists as well.  I’ve produced many artists from London, Poland, Korea, Germany, Japan to name a few.

What would you like to see more of and less of in the industry?
I’d like to see more respect for the pioneers from the younger generation and less disrespect for the people who opened doors for them to get into this industry. What goes up always comes down.

I’m still bumping your track “Animals” with Anderson Paak for the recent Dre album. Are there any other new artists you’re excited about or any new producers you follow?
Definitely Anderson .Paak, HXLT, Conway, Westside Gunn, O.G.ology, E.L.B., Jakk Frost…

Props to Infusion Magazine

Royce Da 5’9″ Says “PRhyme 2” Might Be Coming Soon

“I can tell you that me and Preem are going in April to do PRhyme 2” -Royce Da 5’9″

Soundtrack: The Story of the DJ (Trailer 1)

Soundtrack: The Story of the DJ is a documentary about the history of DJing. While certain films have chronicled niche aspects of DJing, “Soundtrack” will take viewers through the evolution of radio DJs, turntablists, DJ producers, DJs as part of hip-hop groups, DJs controlling the main stages at some of the world’s biggest festivals and more. Learn more about the film, support and follow the progress at:
www.TheDJDocumentary.com

DJ Premier interview with Brudne Południe (Poland)

Adrian Younge talks about working with DJ Premier on “PRhyme” Album (Interview)




Get Adobe Flash player