DJ Premier: The XXL Icon Interview

Did you ever resolve the issue with Chuck?

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.

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  • Magnetic

    Dope interview. Gangstarr has got to be the sureshot

  • mick

    the greatest producer of all time. premo when you coming to scotland?

  • Worley

    Salute to Preemo. A Nas/Preemo album and tour would be epic. Some Fresh Fest type sh!t.

  • Don mcCaine

    “I’ve heard you say that Group Home’s Livin’ Proof was your toughest project


    A lot of people think it’s your best work.

    I had to make it that way [because of] their lack of lyrical ability and technique”

    ^ BWAHAHAHAHAHAHA…AND WE STILL SUPPORTED IT…’Baby Pa’ is my fave song on ‘Livin’ Proof’.

    good read here…Can you “fans” see that there was no rap cumbaya holding hands sh^t? None of that “I’m too good to respond” bullsh^t. Anyway…

    “I’ve done Wal-Mart commercials that you wouldn’t know I did. I’ve done Back to School instrumentals for Wal-Mart”

    ^ I have a blog up about the ‘The Rap Alphabets’ that speaks on stuff like this. There are other ways to get you’re music out there…

  • Q461

    Wow. My thoughts.

    # 1 Primo is the best producer in hip-hop history. Pete Rock, Dre, Rza are all up there but Primo’s sound defined a whole era, a whole coast. Greatest of all time that’s my word.

    # 2. I’m disappointed his work wit Kanye wasn’t on the album . I was looking forward to that shit.

    # 3. I always thought it was ironic how Primo is from Texas and Guru is from Boston, yet Gang Starr epitomizes the whole New York sound of the mid 90′s.

    # 4. Crazy had Primo pretty much outright admitted Grouphome was wack lyrically, but that it was widely considered his best work ( the Livin Proof album).

    # 5. I remember when Chuck D was swoll about that Biggie sample. Crazy how Primo went off on dude at a 711 lol.

    #6. For someone wit only a few albums, Jeru the Damaja had beef wit a lot of niggaz. Dude threw darts at the Fugees, Threw subliminals at Puff and Biggie and hinted that he thought Death Row and Foxy weren’t “real hip hop” Must have been crazy for Primo to produce Kick in the Door knowing Big was throwing shots at Jeru (Not to mention Nas, Ghost and Rae). Respect to Primo for having Jeru’s back even when around Biggie and Puff.

    #7 Crazy how dude didn’t hesitate about the question Who’s the best MC Biggie, Jay-Z or Nas? If anyone would know it would be Premier.

    # 8. Funny how far back some of Jay-z’s shady business dealings go.

    # 9. That album Premier vs Pete Rock got me souped! That will be some historical shit yall.

    # 10. Premier’s sound ain’t stagnant. I think dude is like Michael Jordan, he makes any nigga sound better over one of his soundscapes. RIP Guru. Gang Starr one of the best groups to ever do it, fuck going platinum, those niggaz are legends. Period.

    • Don mcCaine

      Q whaddup? you know I was aggy there were only 4 comments…

      #1 will be debated to the death (tho’ I agree). #3 is on point. heads are gonna overlook #8. #10? his sound ain’t stagnant, cats are fickle trend followers, no longer trend setters. So with that said…

      ‘Moment Of Truth’
      ‘Beyond Comprehension’
      ‘Come Clean’
      ‘Nas Is Like’
      ‘My Mind Spray’
      ‘Mental Stamina’
      ‘Da Realness’


    yo, this interview is one of the MOST f*** UP .
    Premo dropped a bunch rap secretzzz..s***

    interview review 10/10

  • Q461

    @ Don McCaine

    What up nigga? Yeah tere were zero comments when I first read this, but 4 by the time I finished my novel lol.

    In keeping with tradition:

    Krs one-outta here
    Jeru The Damaja- D Original
    Das Efx-Real Hip-Hop
    Fat Joe-The Shit is Real remix
    D an D All stars- 1, 2 pass it ( one of the best posse cuts of the 90s imo)
    Bahamadia-3 tha hard way
    MOP and G Rap-Stick to ya Gunz
    Rakim-Been a long time
    Gang Star-Mass Appeal
    Bun B-Let em know

    I can keep going lol… dudes got a million classics….

  • Sha

    You know what? I would love to read a whole book about behind the scenes convo with Preemo, Pete Rock, Dr. Dre, and any other mega producer. I’ll bet they have hella stories. Preemo did XXL a solid. He could have made a book with this info. Just goes to show you how down to earth dude is. A true legend. Take notes young producers.

  • Don mcCaine

    Sha I see you ova here…name some songs homie…

    ‘Salute pt 2′
    ‘Robin Hood Theory’
    ‘Who Got Gunz’
    ’1st Of Tha Month (rmx)’
    ‘Next Level (rmx)’
    ‘Lady (rmx f/AZ)’
    ‘Ten Crack Commandments’
    ‘Rap Phenomenon’
    ‘Devils Pie’

  • Dick B.

    Premier’s the best, what else is there to say except why doesn’t he have XXL cover?

  • Q461

    @ Sha

    Co-sign dog. I think a Behind the scenes book on producers would be crazy to read… So many hidden stories niggaz don’t know about …

    @ Don

    Gang Starr- Royalty
    CNN-Grand Royal
    Rakim-New York ( Ya out there)
    Rakim-When I be on the mic
    AZ- the format
    Pitch Black-It’s all real
    Xzibit-what a mess
    Snoop Dogg-the one and only
    Royce da 5’9-Boom
    Common-6th sense
    Mos Def-mathematics
    Limp Bizkit and Meth N 2gether now
    Jay-Z- a million and one questions

    • Don mcCaine

      OK my niggg…I quit…I’ma put one in the air for ya…knickerbockers almost had them…’bout to 2 check blazers/mavs at the bar…

  • Q461

    lol Word we can be here all night with Primo’s hits…

    Yup My knicks showin some heart though…Amare’s a monster and if we get Melo it’s fuckin on for real….

  • abhishek denzil

    nice interview!

  • Don mcCaine

    word Q…

    if this post don’t reach plat status, on everything I’ma throw DARTS…there will be a 100 comments on BULLSH^T media PRESS RELEASES, BUT there will be few comments on HIP HOP MUSIC.

    Hip Hop music lover>>>>>>>>>>>>>mainstream rap fan

    p.s. them my Knicks 2 n^gga…shouts 2 my homie Black Just (Melo’s physical)…


  • ell

    this interview made my whole day man premo..some info whe would have never heard of the best interviews

  • scjoha

    Great anecdotes. Probably the best of all the recent Premo interviews. Thanks and respect to Premo and the XXLmag reporter for this interview. This is how hiphop history is to be covered!

  • SenghorChild

    This GOTTA be one of the BEST interview I ever read from anicon. In comparison the DRE interview which drops this month is weak…

  • sb

    one of the best interviews i’ve read on this site all year!!!!

  • EmCDL

    That was a dope interview, and I think thats the first one I’ve read from him…ever. Them albums he working on got me hyped…Nas and Preemo? Lets Goooooo!


  • Sha

    What up $yk!

    1. Baby Pa— I love the Dice skit. That beat is so sick! The way he brought in some Spanish Music on that shit. Preemo is the master of the Intros and Loops.

    2. B.Y.S.—– The way Preemo cut up that Slick Rick and Dougie.

    3. Invasion—- Don’t need to say anything about that one

    4. Rappaz R. N. Dainja ——Kris slayed that one

    5. Unbelievable—- Flippin R Kelly was some shit I never thought of. Definitely from another angle.

    6. New York (Ya out there)—– The way he sliced up New York was on some mind blowin stuff

    7. In Memory Of..—– Seems kinda prophetic with Guru’s passing

    8. 2nd Childhood—— Nas and Preem. Dope!

    9. Represent—— Another Nas joint

    10. New York Ryder Music —— He HAS made some new classics. Agallah killed that one.

  • Curtis75Black

    This is one hot interview. Straight thorough. Premo went thru a lot of shit. That background book would be hot. Funny how homie is surrounded in a studio taking up for Jeru !! What’s crazy is didn’t Nas say “Kick in the door” for him ?


    premo is a legend, a true king on this rap s***.Dude blessing us with affiliattions like I GAVE YOU POWER,NAS IS LIKE,KICK IN THE DOOR,UNBELIVABLE,MASS APPEAL,ABOVE THE CLOUDS,WHATEVA…

    nobody can t touch him,bro…. =_= ( good ***d ) !

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  • caino

    See XXL, you can pull off real hiphop if you interview the correct person! Dope interview, Preemo coming across as a straight up guy, with enough stories for that novel , like sha suggested! .

    The sun rises in the east – full album
    Memory LAne
    NY State of Mind

    like everyone else l could go on!

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  • oskamadison

    Dammit!!!!!! I was late as hell seeing this joint. It looks like y’all covered evrything there is to say about Preme. Most of y’all even share some of my top 5 favorite Preme joints (Gang Starr’s Speak Ya Clout, Unbelievable, Kick In The Door, Royce Da 5’9′s Boom and Rakim’s New York.) Peace to all the TRUE heads that really know and can comment on the MUSIC, not just all the b.s. As always, $yk, what’s up!!!! Q, I see you too. 75 Black, ain’t seen you in a minute, what’s up?

  • TUMI