:: with Raekwon of Wu Tang Clan - performing his classic album Only Built 4 Cuban Linx in its entirety::
:: The Extravaganja at Hood Lab ::
:: April 19 ::
By Brian F. Johnson
The last several weeks, and the forthcoming few weeks will see more action from DJ Premier than many producers could hope to have in their entire career.
He just wrapped a European tour with Statik Selektah and finished the KoleXXXion tour with Bumpy Knuckles. He has a new NYGz record coming out on his label, Year Round Records. He’s got a new project with Lady of Rage and another one with MC Eiht of Compton’s Most Wanted about to drop. The EP Headstrong, by Khaleel, which Premier produced — again on his label — is due soon, and he appears on the new release Czarface with 7L & Esoteric and Inspectah Deck of the Wu-Tang. He’s also on the new Demigodz release and on the new record by Joey Bada$$. Oh, and he just returned from SXSW, as well.
But for the famed DJ — who was once the instrumental half of the hip-hop duo Gang Starr — that’s all in a day’s, or in this case, a couple months of work.
“I’m a hip-hop junkie. I’m a fiend. So I always want to have new music coming out. If I’m not on the road, then I’m doing ProTools on my laptop. If not that, I’m in the studio, and if I’m not doing that I have a son who is a year-and-a-half old,” DJ Premier said in a recent interview with The Marquee.
Premier has been called “arguably hip-hop’s greatest producer of all time” by Rolling Stone. The Source named him in their list of the 20 greatest producers. About.com placed him number one on their Top 50 Hip-Hop Producers list and he was in the finals for Vibe’s Greatest Hip-Hop Producers of All Time award.
(Editor’s note: Since this story went to press, a line-up change has taken place and DJ Premier will now perform with Raekwon of Wu Tang Clan, rather than Black Thought. Raekwon will be performing his classic album Only Built 4 Cuban Linx in its entirety.)
Premier said that in addition to just thriving in a multi-tasking world, he’s also able to do so much because of the thrill of reaching outside his comfort zone. For his upcoming performance at the Extravaganja Party in Denver, in fact, Premier will team up with Black Thought of The Roots for their set, even though they haven’t performed together before. But instead of trepidation, Premier talks about the show with confident excitement. “It’s all new territory for us,” Premier said. “But he comes from one of the greatest bands in hip-hop culture and he’s one of the illest MCs, who can combine generations from the early days of ’70s hip-hop up to the younger cats doing it now. So I could throw in whatever and he’d kill it. He’s prepared in any circumstance and that’s what a true MC does.”
Premier said too that he was particularly excited about the collaboration because a couple of years ago when he and Black Thought had discussed working together, their schedules hadn’t allowed it. “We had hollered a couple years ago, but it didn’t happen then, so it sounds like this Denver performance could be the start of some great things,” Premier said.
The show will fall on the third anniversary of the passing of Premier’s former Gang Starr bandmate Guru, and “Primo” said that will make the show only that much better. “Playing the old music in front of a crowd is like my therapy. It keeps me from crying all the time. It keeps me happy because I see that Guru had so much of an impact, not just on my life, but on many lives. I used to see people run up to him and tell him all the time that he had saved their lives,” Premier said.
Following the Denver show, Primo said he will continue — and in some ways kind of start —work on two other long-awaited projects, both of which have been underway for a while. First is a collaboration with Pete Rock which has been forthcoming since before the two toured together last year. “We were supposed to do a record all on the underground level,” Premier explained. “But then some names got thrown in like Drake and Rick Ross, if I remember correctly. But they’re not underground, so it changed the whole vision of it. So now, what we’re planning is doing it in two parts, so that we can satisfy our vision as well as the new vision for it. You know, I want the GZA, Wu-Tang, The Beatnuts on it. The rare, raw and gritty type of stuff. But since we’re changing the whole look of it we kind of put it on freeze, and now we’re just in the beginning stages. But me and Pete will do the single this month and start getting the buzz going.”
The second project is the highly anticipated Gang Starr Foundation CD/DVD release which has been rumored for some time. The album will feature Guru verses that were never used before, with collaborations by other performers. Premier said that they are finishing some litigation for the project but that ultimately they will launch Gang Starr Enterprises, which will be in charge of the release as well as merchandising, and that the new company is designed to ultimately fund an education for Guru’s son.
:: DJ Premier ::
:: with Raekwon of Wu Tang Clan ::
:: The Extravaganja at Hood Lab ::
:: April 19 ::
Recommended if you Like:
• Gang Starr
• The Roots
• Pete Rock