December 20, 2010 5:56 PM   Subscribe

Legendary hip hop producer DJ Premier interviewed in the XXL Icon Interview and The Smoking Section. Remarkably candid conversations about his life in East Coast hip hop, with interesting stories about his work with Jay-Z, Biggie, Puff, Nas, Jeru the Damaga, Group Home, Suge Knight, Christina Aguilera and of course, Guru. On finding records to sample: "Well, there’s still diggin’ spots. If you’re in that world like I am, you know the spots, you see everybody—Just Blaze, Alchemist, Large Professor, Pete Rock—we still pop up in those spots. You got Big City records, you got Turntable Lab, you still have A1, you got Academy, you know. I’m not gonna tell you all the digging spots."
posted by the mad poster! (11 comments total) 12 users marked this as a favorite
Diggers gonna dig. Word.
posted by rhizome at 6:29 PM on December 20, 2010

yup. I love how straightforward he is about laying things out in these interviews it's really a breath of fresh air

On technology changes: Now, with technology with Fruity Loops and Logic, you can sample a whole album worth of stuff. People don’t have the same creativity. This worked for me so why take it away?

On acid: one of my suitemates was tripping. We had empty 40 bottles of Olde English everywhere. There was one lying on its side and he said it looked like Jesus was in the bottle saying, ‘Come here.’ He was trying to get into the bottle, like trying to put his feet in the bottle. I tripped the next day and saw the same thing. It wasn’t Jesus though, it was a guy in the bottle. Everybody’s trip is not the same.

On Guru When I would see the stuff with him and old boy, I would be like, “That’s not him.” He didn’t look like he was in command.

On Group Home: I had to make it that way [because of] their lack of lyrical ability and technique.

On Chuck D: This is Chuck D, one of my idols, and I was cursing him out in front of his children. We got the lawsuit and it said Works of Mart, Bad Boy and the Estate of Christopher Wallace. I was like, “Have a heart and let her breath, man.”

on Biggie & Puff catching feelings cause of his friend Jeru: I remember the night we held the session, it started off just me and Big. Slowly, throughout the night, more people came in. All of a sudden it looked like they were ganging up on me. I was there by myself on purpose because I [thought] if someone is going to act funny, it’s better if I go alone so if they move on me, we deal with things afterwards.

On Gang Starr: The Gang Starr legacy is forever, period. It will never go away. We’ve been crowned icons. We’ve been crowned legends. From Jam Master Jay to Jay-Z to Rakim to Melle Mel to Marley Marl. Every idol that I’ve wanted to like what we were doing, has called us legends. I’m good. And the music never dies.

On 90s rap conflicts turning violent: I have some horror stories that everybody knows from like 1990 that got really violent, that made MTV News and all that, but that’s when I was ignorant. Pulling guns on executives and stuff like that, but I’m not really like that anymore. It was an ignorant thing, I don’t really feel good about it, but at the time, it was to have them do the right thing because it was the executives who we helped get the job at the label.
posted by the mad poster! at 6:48 PM on December 20, 2010 [2 favorites]

wow that xxl interview actually is pretty candid. don't see that much.
posted by jcruelty at 7:20 PM on December 20, 2010

Wow. I may now actually listen to Wal-Mart commercials!
posted by ignignokt at 9:35 PM on December 20, 2010

"Diggers gonna dig. Word."

Craters gonna crate.
posted by Eideteker at 10:05 PM on December 20, 2010 [3 favorites]

I'm always excited when I remember that Jeru the Damaja is someone people have heard of. I was the Token White Guy in one of his videos when I was in college. I mostly remember having to hide out in the top floor of the location because cops had been called to the scene on the tip-off that people were smoking pot there. It was the first time I'd heard the term "fifty" to refer to police presence.
posted by Navelgazer at 10:37 PM on December 20, 2010 [1 favorite]

that's cool Navelgazer. Yeah Jeru is relatively well known--there's another story about how he walked in on Biggie eating a bucket of KFC naked on his bed with the tub between his legs and told Big he should eat some vegetables!--but as time goes on it's going to be a shrinking audience that cares, so individual memories like that are important because organic histories like hip hop's can be sometimes ephemeral if we don't take care to cultivate the culture.
posted by the mad poster! at 1:52 AM on December 21, 2010 [3 favorites]

I understand he doesn't want to give anything away, but it's still weird to see Turntable Lab included on a list of digging spots.
posted by box at 5:49 AM on December 21, 2010

Turntable Lab has an actual physical store, and they seem to do a good job of getting warehouse finds of 45 RPMs and older singles in to stock.

But in the age of blogs, with the entire history of jazz, private press prog, library records from all continents, tropical big band, and every electro-acoustic rarity getting digitized and tossed online, it does seem a bit antiquated to go dig at whatever local record store in your town. The store has to aquire that record (Via private sale, estate sale, auction, etc) for you to be able to buy it. But with online, people are sharing full albums in FLAC of the rarest of the rare that would run you $100-$700 easily due to their obscurity and collector cachet.

All that said: DJ Premier in Deep Concentration is a personal favourite, and was on one of my first 12"s.
posted by Theta States at 6:34 AM on December 21, 2010 [1 favorite]

Love Gang Starr, love Primo (simply the best hip-hop producer ever bar none), love Jeru (his first two albums are amazing). Thanks for these links.
posted by blucevalo at 9:00 AM on December 21, 2010

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