DJ Premier: The XXL Icon Interview
When we were leaving Jam Master Jay’s wake, I was dapping up certain people and then I turned around and it’s Chuck. I just hugged him. I was like, “Chuck, I love you.” I apologized for yelling at him. We’re cool now and kick it. Even though he got that money—$85,000 to be exact.
Did “Ya’ Playin Yaself” strain your relationship with Puffy?
Biggie and them took that it the wrong way. We weren’t making that record to diss them. “Playin’ Yaself” had popped off but Puff had power and got [the song] shut down on Hot 97. We weren’t talking about Kim [with the line about] skimpy ass dresses. It was a bigger scope than that. I wouldn’t have made a record like that and then played both sides of the fence. “One Day” is what set the whole thing off. That was talking about the state of hip-hop and how hip-hop had a Versace suit on. We weren’t doing that to diss Big. Big took it that way. I was like, “Dude, why would I work with you and then diss you with my crew?” Same thing when Foxy got mad. Jeru had a good point, he said, “All I said was that she had fake alligator boots on. I said nothing else about her.” She said that she was disease infested on “I Shot Ya.” Jay Black got the worst of it. Jeru said, “We snatched up Jay Black and beat his bitch ass down.” Jay Black would be cool with Jeru to his face but then behind his back to this girl, he would be like, “Why you hanging out with that punk motherfucker?” She said, “What?” And put the phone next to Jeru’s ear. He said, “Why you hanging out with that punk motherfucker?” So Jeru heard him say it on the phone. Next time we were at the Tunnel, Jay Black was right there and Jeru got in his face. When Jeru did “One Day,” he was like, “Let’s throw that dart.” I wasn’t against that.
Did you get the phone call from Puff afterwards?
Oh yeah, Puff called and left the numbers to his house phone, cell phone and boat phone. Him and Jeru kept arguing. It was like, “Word is bond, don’t ever say my name on no more records.” Jeru was like, “Word is bond? Do you know what ‘Word is bond’ means?” Puff was like, “Yeah, I know what that means. Like I said, Don’t ever say my name on no more records.” Jeru was like, “I can say whatever I want on my records.” It didn’t end right. That was around the time I gave Big the track for “Kick in the Door.” Puff didn’t like it and told me that I ain’t hitting it like I used to. He said that with a security guy next to him so I thought he was trying to play me. Big called me the next day and told me to come to the studio. I was like, “Sure but I have to make a new beat first.” He goes, “Nah, I want the one you did.” I said, “Puff don’t like it.” He said, “Fuck Puff. I’m going to kill it. I got some things to say though. Your man really got me tight.” I was like, “Do what you got to do.” 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. I told Big, “Anyone move on Jeru, I’m coming back with him.” And I meant that. Gutta was there. D-Roc was there. Jay Black was there and I had to cover my laugh because I snickered.
What did you think when you heard “Kick in the Door?”
I was blown away by the first verse. Second verse, when he said, “Son, I’m surprised you run with them,” I stopped the tape. I was like, “That’s how you feel?” He goes, “I told you I had to get back at your man.” Just on some real nigga shit, I said, “Go on and say what you have to say. I’m going to let that one go.” Puff was there. I told Puff, “You and Jeru had your talk already.” Big interrupted and goes, “Preme that wasn’t a talk, that was an argument. Nothing got solved.” I was like, “That has nothing to do with you.” He goes, “C’mon man, Versace suit.” I said in front of all of them, “Anyone has a problem with Jeru then you have a problem with me, so move on me. Beat me up. I don’t want to get beat up but if that’s what I got to do to show you how loyal I am to my team and that we’re not dissing ya’ll. You’re making a big mistake if you do it.” I’ll never forget Puff. He was there at Daddy’s House like, “Yeah, we’re coming after Jeru the Damaja too!” I’ll tell you an ill story. The day after Suge did that at the Source Awards was a New Music Seminar convention. [Writer’s Note: Suge Knight dissed Puffy at the 1995 Source Awards.] [People thought] that Suge needs to watch him himself because he’ll get jumped in New York. No. We were at a panel with Buckwild and a couple other brothers. Then Big walked in. At the time, [Death Row] wanted Lady of Rage to work with me, I was like, I can’t do it until I get back from my tour. Rage and I were friends for a long time. But Suge’s brother was like, “If you can’t do it now, you can’t do it at all.” We did the songs and they didn’t accept them. Me, Big and Buckwild are kicking it, laughing, chopping it up. All of a sudden, we hear someone go, “You.” We look and it’s Suge Knight. We were all leaning against the wall. I go, “Me?” He goes, “You.” He comes over and goes, “Yo man, I didn’t really like those songs you did for Rage.” I was like, “Yo, I didn’t want to do the songs but your staff told me I had to. I didn’t have time to do it but that’s my homie and I want to be on her album.” He goes, “Don’t worry about [it]. When can yo do some new beats?” I go, “Couple of weeks.” He goes, “Well, Dogg Pound is coming out first so you got another month.” He was talking very civilized. I gave him a hug. Big walks up to Suge and says, “Ayo, I want to get in touch with Dre to do a couple of songs on my new album Life After Death.” Suge just looks at him and goes, “Yeah, aight.” And walks off.