DJ Premier may be from what young hip-hop listeners would now consider the “old school,” but he wouldn’t remain one of the most revered producers more than twenty years into his career if he didn’t know how to adapt to the culture’s evolving landscape. Preem’s revered ear is for more than samples; he’s got an ear for the new generation’s rising talent, as well. In a recent interview with the legendary hip-hop architect he revealed to XXLMag.com that he hopes to work with rising stars J. Cole and Drake.
“I saw Drake at the Yankee Stadium [concert with Jay-Z and Eminem for their Home & Home Tour] and he [was] just like bowing and all that,” recalled the beatsmith. “I’m like, ‘Nah you ain’t gotta do that, man.’ And he’s like, ‘Dude, I wanna work with you.’ And I was like, ‘Dude, I wanna work with you.’”
As far as Premo is concerned, Drizzy has earned respect for his skills with the pen blackberry. “He brought lyricism back,” he said of the Toronto-native. “For a 22-year-old man, he brought lyricism back. When [Gang Starr's] Step In The Arena came out, I was 22-years-old. And I just thought about it, I was like, Damn, I was a youngster. I wasn’t 30, 31. I was 22 and coming with heat. And that’s why I like that he’s bringing stuff back.
The Roc Nation MC is also on Preem’s radar. “J. Cole, I like that he’s bringing lyrics back,” he added.
Never hesitant to drop knowledge about hip-hop history, the innovator then added, “Everything doesn’t have to be super, over-lyrical, but we do pride ourselves on cats that can spit, because [rap music] was always a competition about who got the dopest rhymes.”
The hip-hop icon is currently gearing up for the release of DJ Premier Presents Year Round Records: Get Used To Us. The compilation, which features appearances by Styles P, Saigon, Royce Da 5’9″, Joell Ortiz, and Grand Puba, among others, is set to drop on December 7. —Adam Fleischer