Last night I had the opportunity to attend the first installment of Peter Rosenberg’s “Noisemakers” panel series, which honored, paid tribute to, and featured the legendary DJ Premier. It took place in New York at the new location of the 92nd Street Y. The event started at 8, I got there somewhere around 9, because… well… there was literally a monsoon in New York last night. Braving that rain was something I would only do for hip-hop.
But anyway, I missed the first half of the event, finally walked in soaking wet (pause), and was greeted by a live band playing classic DJ Premier beats. I didn’t manage to catch the name of the band (what a crappy journalist I am), but they were definitely solid. DJ Rob Swift was on the 1 and 2s.
Rosenberg and Premier were seated on stage, almost like James Lipton and his guests on Bravo’s “Inside The Actor’s Studio.” Before they started the second half of the event, a question flashed on the projection screen behind them, asking “What Does DJ Premier Mean To Hip-Hop?” That question was answered in video format by Common, Kanye West, Erick Sermon and Ludacris, amongst others, who all had words of praise for DJ Premier.
Then Rob Swift cued up “Crooklyn Dodgers part 2,” which Rosenberg said was his favorite Premo beat of all time. They talked about making the record, how Spike Lee had shown Premier the trailer for the movieClockers before he made the track, and how Chubb Rock was really beasting to go first on the song.
Then came “Nas is Like,” and Premier talked about how he had bought someone’s whole collection of vinyl for 4gs prior to making that particular track for Nas. He said all he had was the drum pattern and the little bird chirping sounds on the beat, but he had a 45 with no cover on it, that he was about to weed out of the collection he’d bought. But he was late to D&D for the session with Nas, and right before he left to go to the studio he put on this “Cantata of New Life 45,” and he found the sample he wanted to use. Watch Premier talk about making “Nas Is Like” HERE.
Other songs he talked about were KRS One’s “Outta Here,” in which he said KRS has a version where he’s dissing everyone in hip-hop at the time that he felt was “outta here.” According to Premier, that version exists. Could it be the same one that was liberated on Unkut a few months back?
When talking about Rakim’s “New York,” Premier did express his concern for New York hip-hop, and the wrong turn it’s taken the past few years. He said, “You got cats my age trying to do a Soulja Boy record. The sound of New York has to remain for the classification of Hip-Hop to exist.”
He also talked about recording with Biggie, how Big begged him to do “Unbelievable” for 5 thousand dollars, and how they used to get frequent the same weed spot in Brooklyn. He had a lot of Biggie stories. Watch Premier talk about Biggie HERE.
On who’s the best, Biggie, Jay-Z, or Nas: “Definitely BIG. I been in so many sessions with hi, he was just funny funny funny. He was just that funny.”
On J Dilla: “I never heard anybody chop samples like he did. He’s in my top 5.”
Premier’s top producers ever: Marley Marl, Rick Rubin, Larry Smith, Large Professor, Pete Rock, J Dilla, Q-Tip
All in all, it was a great event. I’m glad I came out in the rain and looked like I went swimming in the East River by the time I got home. Thanks Rosenberg!!
Watch more footage HERE.