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DJ Premier Interview with Shanghai Urban Press

This Friday, June 25, 10pm, DJ Premier performs with MC Nick Javas at The Shelter.

DJ Premier, 44, widely regarded as one of the most influential producers in hip hop history, is descending on Shanghai this week, and with him he’s bringing lyricist MC Nick Javas, fresh out of New Jersey.

A pillar of East Coast hip hop with more than two decades in the industry, Premier has worked with everyone from Jay-Z, Snoop Dogg and Nas to Janet Jackson and Christina Aguilera. Outside producing, Premier spent years touring as one half of hip hop duo Gang Starr. Unfortunately, his partner MC Guru died in April after battling cancer for a year.

Premier took time out to answer some questions over email about his music, his life, and what it’s like working with the biggest names in the game.

How do you keep your tracks fresh?
I keep my music fresh by studying. It’s a serious thing to do what we do professionally. I will never stop being consistent. Even if I sell only one copy, I know that I am the shit. I always scratch, cut and mix on my recordings.

(I think Nick Javas)What inspires you?
Sometimes lyrics pop into my head in the middle of the night and I’ll type them into my phone and see if they still sound dope in the morning. Other times I’ll be in the shower and a melody will randomly show up. But I’d say most times, it’s a dope ass beat that puts me in a certain mood and inspires me to grab that pen and do that beat justice. At that point I just let the music guide me.
(I think Nick Javas)
Before hip hop, you were a Rutgers University football recruit. Then you injured your knee – what’s the story behind that? Did hip hop help you out of that?

The knee injury may have been the lowest I’ve ever been. That was the first time I recovered from depression. I was recruited walk-on, meaning I didn’t have to try out but I would have to earn my scholarship. After consistently proving myself in practice, I was given a shot against Buffalo. Unfortunately I tore my ACL in my first game. Bum knee + undersized wide receiver = no scholarship. This led to depression, which led to writing becoming my therapy. Long story short, those notebook pages sent me down a path that I may have never discovered.

At school, you majored in computer science, is that weird for a DJ?
Computer science isn’t weird for a DJ. They’re all related. In the new millenium we all use Serato on a laptop computer, so in reality, I was already ahead of the game. Plus, there are no classes in college that teaches DJ-ing…

Tell us about working with Notorious B.I.G.
He was a funny and creative MC with a heart of gold. So sad that he’s gone. My last memory of him was the final recording for “Ten Crack Commandments” on his Life After Death LP and then seeing him in his casket at his funeral with the white suit and the white derby on his head big poppa style…Me and Jay-Z walked into the funeral together and I remember all the paparazzi flashing camera and hundreds of people screaming like it was an awards show.

How about Jay-Z?
Jay-Z is a very calculated person. He always has a plan that seems to work no matter what. He is a true go-getter. No playin’ around. He is about his business – excellent lyricist … Jay-Z and I will always be friends. We have a relationship that’s more brotherly. I’ve been mad at him a few times in my life and I always end up putting my differences behind me because he is like a younger brother to me and I love him for many reasons and you must respect his catalog of music – very consistent – and his laugh…

Who do you think is T-painin’ too much?
First off, I think T-Pain can use autotune as much as he wants to, especially since he doesn’t rely on it to make hits. That dude is crazy talented with or without autotune.

Thoughts on the scene in general these days?
The scene now is more child related for the kids and that’s fine with me. I represent the adult scene of music whether it’s hip hop, soul, whatever. That’s why my phone still rings every day. Respect will outlast money any day and my ghetto pass will never be revoked.


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3 Responses to “DJ Premier Interview with Shanghai Urban Press”

  • Comment from Lg Roc

    PRO to the Fullest!

  • Comment from d.fusion

    yo gim have you read the interview. i think theres some mixing up cause some of these questions seem to have been asked to nick javas and not premier. football? writing lyrics? weird…

  • Comment from gimantalon

    Yeah, I think those 2 questions were for Nick Javas as I remember he was talking to my friend about he’s knee injury and recovering thanks to CNN “Invisible”.

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