What some of you may not know about me is that I took up deejaying as a hobby early last year, and it’s quickly become my go-to thing to do when I want to relax or release tension (and it’s a bonus if I get to make a quick buck from it as well). I was inspired to try my hand at this because a) at the time I was going into my second year of unemployment and was bored as shit staying at home all day and b) I’m a huge stan for DJ Premier and personally regard him as the greatest hip hop producer of all time.
OF ALL TIME.
DJ Premier has always been an icon of what represents, unfortunately, the old model of hip hop production: jazz and funk-infused boom bap that, while very instrumental in the rise of hip hop throughout the early- to mid-nineties, is essentially out of place in today’s synthesized beat making. Horns and saxophones have given way to futuristic keyboard stabs and plinks provided by the likes of The Neptunes and Timbaland while traditional boom bap was cast to the wayside, now supposedly residing in neo-faux-backpack rap and indie-slash-Internets mainstays.
With this advent, a previously untold norm also became more popular than ever: two or more producers working together on one track. While there were teams like The Bomb Squad, Puff and his Hitmen crew and The Neptunes known for doing that, they were initially introduced to the world as such to little or no objection. Yet if a prominent, primarily solo producer were to have spread their wings and brought others into the fold during that time, it was considered blasphemy. Dr. Dre used to catch flak for working with the likes of Scott Storch (and Jay-Z, but that’s for another time) on “Still D.R.E.” and other songs in the past.
Hell, maybe Dr. Dre should get Scott Storch to work with him again. The two of them have been awful on the solo tip as of late.
That’s definitely not the case now. Dre’s millennium contemporary Kanye West frequently works with fellow Chicagoan No I.D. (who, coincidentally, gave Kanye his first shot at the majors), while underground mavens such as Virginia’s Nottz and Los Angeles’ The Alchemist recently dropped a song last week. Timbaland has been one of the longest-standing purveyors of this method, collaborating with protégé Danja on a variety of eventually hit records, most recently “Hello Good Morning.”
This “two producers, one beat” idea is actually pretty great, and leaves the mind to imagine virtually any possibility. I’m still waiting for my fan boy wet dream – collaboration between Pete Rock and DJ Premier – to happen. It’s not like that’s impossible nowadays.
You still can’t beat Primo’s “scratch hooks,” though.