Last night at New York City’s 92 Street Y, Hot 97 radio personality Peter Rosenberg sat down with legendary producer DJ Premier for what was said to be the first installment of his Noisemakers series of one-on-one interviews with some of the biggest names in hip-hop. During the discussion Primo spoke about many of his infamous collaborations, and those that were never able to materialize.
When asked what rappers he’d like to have worked with that haven’t yet manifested, Premier said “Definitely Busta,” before adding, “50 too. I gave 50 a bangin’ beat, [but] he turned it down. It was dope, though.”
The rap vet didn’t dwell on that as he explained what it was like to work with The Nototious B.I.G. “Biggie called me in a frantic panic on the phone and was like, Yo, I got one more song I need for my album and I’m done; I gotta get a song from you.” That conversation soon turned into “Unbelievable,” off of Big’s debut, Ready to Die, which Primo “thought was a little too nice for the way his voice sounded,” but Big Poppa “just walked in the booth and laid it—no paper, no nothin’.”
When the possibility of a full-length album was brought up, he acknowledged that the wheels are in motion, but it may be difficult to get everyone he wants on the release. “I talked about starting it a couple weeks ago, because a lot of artists [want to help]—like Kanye, [after] I scratched on his album, he was like, ‘Yo, I’ll give you one for free whenever you need me.’ And I know that the bigger people get, it’s harder to get ‘em. Even Jay-Z is hard to get now, and we were around each other for years, but it’s hard to even get at him. I’m just trying to swap with everybody.”
The perfectionist that he is, Primo knows the situation needs to be right. “It’s gotta be like my Chronic,” he continued. “Just like the way Dre came out with Chronic and just shitted on everybody, mine’s gotta be the same way.”
Whether or not a DJ Premier album is in the immediate future, more music is certainly on the way. “I’m back to almost a beat every two days,” he assured. “The money’s always secondary. That’s the reason why I think I still get work. Even in desperate times, I still gotta make the record bang.” – Adam Fleishcher