Veteran producer, DJ Premier talks about recording on one of Joey Bada$$' new projects. He also talks about his long-standing relationship with 2 Chainz, and recording on Game's "Jesus Piece".
DJ Premier has, and continues, to leave an indelible mark on hip hop with a career spanning two decades, and behind production on some of the most classic records of all time. Not happy just resting on his past work, Premo continues to put in work, and evolve his sound as he works with rising artists.
In a recent interview for AlLindstrom.com, the Gang Starr legend talks about working with young New York up and comer, Joey Bada$$, and how the Pro Era rapper’s love of 90s hip hop is how they bonded. He then talks about how he keeps changing his sound and does not get stagnant. Mean Joe Preem then discusses his relationship with 2 Chainz, and how it stems back to his days as Tity Boi as part of the Playaz Circle. Premo also describes how working on “Heaven 4 A Gangsta (HVN4ANGNSTA)” came together, and why it didn’t make the final cut on Game’s Jesus Piece LP.
Check out excerpts from the article below.
Tell me a little bit about this Joey Bada$$ record and how it came about?
I got a call from my manager about Mountain Dew starting a label called Green Label Sound. They are putting together a compilation album with different artists and producers – 9th Wonder, Diplo, people like that. Now, Joey and I met on Twitter because a friend of mine hipped me to him and I saw his first video “Survival Tactics” with his Pro Era Crew. Then I saw one of his interviews where he was asked what made him want to rap and he said, “Gang Starr’s.” That’s the closest album to my heart -one of my favorites- in all the years I’d been with Guru (God bless his soul). When I shouted him out on Twitter, we just started DMing each other after that.
You’ve always embraced the new artists coming up. How have you been able to stay at the forefront of the production game with this new generation?
I think that’s what does it. Being a producer, I’m looking to do new things and then I still do my veteran things like with Shabeeno and Panchi (NYG’z). I’m about to drop their album and the material is strong and relevant. I like the younger talent that’s out there, too. I’m a big fan of Drake.
You’ve mentioned 2 Chainz several times in our conversation. What’s your connection to him?
I’d do a record with 2 Chainz! I know him as Tity Boi, so I knew him back when he started with Luda. We’ve had a long-standing relationship going back to when he was first doing Playaz Circle; we’ve been boys for a long time. I remember when he first told me that he was changing his name to 2 Chainz. I was like, ok, cool, and then he started blowing up. He’s still really humble and a good guy. A lot of people think his rhymes are simple and dumbed down, but he can really spit. If he and I hit the studio and got busy, it would come out like what a DJ Premier/2 Chainz record was supposed to sound like. Otherwise, it wouldn’t leave the studio.
Talk a little about the new Game record “Heaven For A Gangsta” and it not making the final tracklist for his latest album.
Game gave me a text and said that he needs me for the new album. So, I send him some beats. He wasn’t feeling the first beat and not the second one either. The third joint was one that I wasn’t sure he would like and I was kinda doubtful that he’d jump on it, too. I sent it to him and five minutes later he hit me back and said, “This is it.” Game said he just talked to Master P about doing a hook. At least having P on it solidifies it since it draws inspiration from his record of the same name. Anyway, P came in and wanted to do a verse, too. They tracked it and sent it to me the same day. Game wanted R. Kelly on it to do the singing part but that didn’t happen. Game got one of his singers on it and I loved how the song came out. I thought I had more time to get this record done for the album. But, I was on tour with Bumpy Knuckles and I had three other sessions to get to first. Game wanted me to mix the record and neither of us had completed the business side of things. So, I had my engineer tweak it the best he could and I added the scratches to it. The record is very relatable to the hood, especially with Chief Keef having the drama with Lil Jojo and him getting killed in Chicago. P kept it ghetto on that record. Comments out there on the blogs mention Master P’s lyrics and calling them wack. I mean, it was hood and I can relate; and when you’re not hood, it doesn’t make sense to you. Those fans are not listening to the lyrics because, if they were, they would see that the words are heartfelt and real.