DJ Premier Wants to Work With Drake & J. Cole, Believes They “Brought Lyricism Back”


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

  • Noneyme

    Drake sucks big rhino’s dick.

  • norhyme

    Nah he dont, cuz your moms already on that dick.. U HATin Son U hatin, do somn big urself n then talk faggot..

  • ndaw420

    Drake and jcole can rhyme no doubt but they on that RnB tip to much. And they didnt bring lyricism back theres been rhymers like banks, cass, royce, em its just there not mainstream.

    • damson

      cole is not RnB. he d future of hiphop and worth 1million drakes to d game!

  • supadupa_interlude

    the more Premo opens his mouth the less respect i have for dude’s opinion. drake and lyricism don’t go in the same sentence.

    But that nigga J Cole is the truth. havent heard a wack track from that nigga yet

    • verdas

      Preem brings the best outta EVERYONE. Drake would be no different.

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  • Ani

    Drake and J.Cole are both really talented (even tho Cole’s a little better) but i have to say it was really Lupe Fiasco who brang proper lyricism back.

  • http://www.bigreczilla.com BIGREC (1/5th of THE 5IVE)

    While I feel Premo’s point, I’m gonna have to agree w/ Ani. Lupe did what premo’s talking about–the main difference is the level of success. The whole point Premo’s making is that Drake & J.Cole brought lyricism back TO the mainstream. There’s 1000′s of dope lyricists all over the underground scene…universally; but these two in particular are recreating a trend of dope lyricism being present in a mainstream consciousness.

    • Anonymous

      I think all yall have short memory spans TALIB bought & still brings lyricism any & everytime he spits, do ur homework….mos def 2

  • Deadly MIME

    Preme just wants some airplay and work cause now that Guru died and the fact that he’s not relevant to current trends in hip-hop, he’s trying to find a way to come back. Do i think Drake and J. Cole lyrical? Well Drake has a few lines here and there while J. Cole has the potential to be a great lyricist. All and all, if drake and j.cole work with premo then their music will sound better. to Ani: Lupe was the true new guy that brought lyrics back.

    • Yo

      You know Premo didn’t work with Guru for like a decade right?
      As for airplay…he’s been on almost every major record release for a while, at least on the east coast.
      As for this Lupe thing, I got mad love for him, but Premo brought Drake up because he went platinum and for a mainstream platinum selling artist to be lyrical is a bit strange in this day and age.
      Again no shots fired, RIP Guru, premo is always gonna be amazing and Drake has a good career (even if I’m not gonna listen). J Cole has heat too

  • S.I.N.

    I’ve only posted one time in my life and it was on this site for a Mike Bigga drop, but reading the comments everyday, I just have to ask….

    Why does it seem like everyone on here hates Drake?

    And an even better question…..

    Why does listening to one’s person’s music mean you can’t listen to someone else’s?

    Drake came in the game exactly how he is, a Degrassi show alumni, mixed with jewish, lady-loving rapper and has not strayed nor pretended to be anything but that. Not liking someone’s music is one thing, but to say he can’t rap is just pure hate.

    Anyone who claims to want lyricism and says there a true hip hop fan should be able to pick at least a couple verses from his many mixtapes and album that were fire. We should respect the fact that even though this game is built on lies and facades that he is Truly keeping it real with his story and music.

    We need to stop kicking our new generation just for the sake of it. We have wack music, no doubt but artists like Lupe Fiasco, J Cole, Jay Electronica, AND Drake are doing music with integrity.

    U can support them all. IT’s only 10 bucks the first week a cd comes out. We spend that on food in a day! Ultimately, OUR music is WHAT WE MAKE IT. IF we don’t support it, no one else will.

    And if we keep saying everyone’s wack that actually tries to be themselves (Drake, kid Cudi) Then the next Generation of Rappers will be even more scared to be themselves and smile….

    Think about it

    • TonyStakz!!!

      Lol Fruitcake drizzy Is Not even in the Same League with Lupe Fiasco,Fashawn,J. Cole,Jay Electronica,Big K.R.I.T.,Curren$y and many others of the New Generation Lol I Mean there’s No Comparison these Dudes emcee For Real some of them even Produce their own Shit!!… We all know drizzy is a Nickelodeon artist he’s just some Comercialass garbage I don’t even Consider Him Hip-Hop So I don’t Expect him to do Anything for It…But I do see why Preem Would Wanna Work with Him C’mon Premier Needs to sell some records too its not that he needs it but a little extra money doesn’t hurt anyone besides it’s a good Way to Introduce him self to all those new fruits out there who Don’t Know who he Is…I also Believe he will bring the Best out of drake Maybe Preem should put him and Christina Aguilera on a track hitting those high notes together!!!

      • Yo

        I would consider Drake with those rappers, I mean I think of it like Wu-Tang, for every Method Man, Tony Starks, Rae, GZA, ODB type rapper, you also have your U-God. So Lupe, J Cole, Curren$y, Jay Electronica and Drizzy is like the anti U-God. He’s the wackest of the crew, but ironically got much more popular

      • Named

        The guy is a fruitcake because he likes and gets more girls than you.. haha.

        He’s ONE of the people that saved hip-hop, you’d know if you actually listened to his music instead of hating on the man just to be cool.

    • Wassup

      I don’t bother to comment that often either, unless I see it neccessary, but S.I.N. is spot on. It’s cool if you choose not like his music, that’s understandable, you don’t have to, but to say he can’t rap and isn’t lyrical is just hating. I know that words overused, but that’s what it is, HATING.

      All these people complaining about how Hip-Hop is all about the gimmicks and money now, are the ones judging all these kinda dudes on the gimmicks and money, rather than actually listening to their MUSIC, which is what’s actually important, and basing their opinions off of that. Dude’s the most honest MC in the game. You dont like it, cool, then just keep it moving.

      Same with “old school” , close-minded heads who claim dudes who like this “new school hip-hop” or “rap” have no idea about “real” or “old school hip-hop”, even if they don’t even know how much the dude might listen to and love the older, more traditional hip-hop. Someone can choose to love BOTH, for the things each bring to the table.

      I swear man, these guys are what are stunting hip-hops growth. Music changes and progresses over time. We’ll still have the old stuff, but let’s let some new and original music flourish. That said, of course there’s still plenty of wack music out there.

      If it gets into the mainstream it’s instantly deemed crap, for absolutely no valid reason. Grow up, for real, your opinions on MUSIC need serious maturing.

      Pardon the rant y’all. Just venting frustration on these ignorant, close-minded fools.

      • http://www.bboycult.com Don mcCaine

        Then some of y’all should comment more and over weigh the nonsense comments that appear from dudes who know nothing and have a hella lot to say.

        As for being closed minded, how can that be so if they are listening to the new stuff? Isn’t that attempting to connect with it and giving an opinion afterwards?

        And yes, a lot of the new cats are rap fans, not Hip Hop heads. They do not live the art, they like the entertainment of the music. Emcees rocking over a beat is only one facet of the CULTURE of Hip Hop.

        Drake has enhanced the singing into the new rap. In Hip Hop’s early day it was called HARMONIZING. Go research some Cold Crush, Masterdon & The Funk Committee, and others and see what Drake is doing is nothing new.

        A lot of the youngin’s say Drake is wack, a lot of the OG’s say let son prove himself before y’all crown him the KING, like the media was doing. Gimmicks & money? The rappers will tell you “stop hating, I’m getting money”, and start drama for promotion of an album. Most just wanna get paid and care nothing about creating their OWN TYPE OF SOUND, and hope the people like it so they will sell, they are happy with being a carbon copy of the next man who is successful at the moment for a check.

        Look at how many people have “freestyled” over ‘BMF’ looking for fame, instead of connecting with one of the thousands of up and coming producers out there and making their OWN ‘BMF’.

        And a little more perspective, the youngin’s have had a good lane for years to get on and prosper. A lot of old heads fell back, retired, starting doing other ventures.

        So don’t throw too many darts at the OG’s. Cats LIVED Hip Hop. No youtubes, producing programs, downloads, web-streams, websites, even video shows at one time. This is where a lot of creativity came into it. You had to envision it in your mind, because most of the time you couldn’t see it, or the artist. You had to obtain physical contact for a deal, connects, beats, collabos, EVEN RECORDS & TAPES. These days, go 2 a site, see a video, say yay or nay, and by the end of the week you have 300 songs out there, where you CANNOT get a grasp on whether or not all of those songs actually are good or not.

        You make some valid points, but I can tell you haven’t lived both sides of the coin to weigh the pros and cons. The new school are y’alls’ peers, tell them to step it up. Support those not in the media shine who are great in their craft. Because the OG’s have years of music to listen to, they don’t necessarily have to buy anything new. And also consider the fact that a lot of OG’s would feel funny bumping a lot of their kids’ music, it’s really not relative to them at their age.

        And, it’s easier for y’all with all of this tech stuff, why is the music game going backwards?

        And, if you took all of the OG’s out of the game, all of them right now, who would you listen too? Would you even listen to rap music anymore? Think REAL HARD ABOUT THIS.

        • DV8

          “the OG’s have years of music to listen to, they don’t necessarily have to buy anything new”

          aint that the truth. when i hit the record store im usually looking for something thats been out that I didnt have the chance to listen to yet.

  • swype-matic

    Premo, um, how could they have brought lyricism back when Wu-Tang, Royce, Kanye, Jay, Canibus, Talib Kweli, Nas, and loads of others never left? No slight on J.Cole or Drake (more just J.Cole though), but that’s like saying Taco Bell brought food back.

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  • Dick B.

    Hey Preem your my favorite producer in all but, hip pop and boom bap don’t mix.
    I hope this record doesn’t happen. Work with Wu Tang or Sean Price or something.

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  • Silky Johnston

    I like how theres so many people hating on one of the few Hip-Hop untouchables. Preemo has never done ANYTHING that should lead someone to believe he’s out for airplay or a quick buck…he’s always stayed true to his sound and his musical vision. If he says he thinks Drake can do something big then I believe him cuz lets be real here…when was the last time DJ Premier did something wack? Oh and we all know J. Cole would murder a Preemo beat…

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  • NES

    J.Cole > Drake

  • John Cochran

    I guess yall wanted him to hate on Drake huh. Yall niggas funny. I’m not a Drake fan, but not because he can’t rap, cause he can, but because his flow and subject matter are limited. Why when DJ Premier wants to work with someone outisde of the boombap arena theres hate. Thats like saying Dre should only work with Snoop, 50, and Em. He is one of the best because he’s not scared to try shit.

  • bk

    Huh.. Well its good that Premo has his own set of opinions and is not just another hating robot…

    [robot]Only rep tha realness, must hate anything that people who like pop music would like[/robot]

    Also, to say that Premier’s irrelevant is to not be a fan of hip hop. Your johnny-come-lately favorite rapper knows what’s up better than you: if Premo blessed Drake or any of these new dudes with a track they’d be all over it ’cause that’s the classic sound they heard when they first started liking rap. comes around, goes around.

  • http://www.bboycult.com Don mcCaine

    “Preme just wants some airplay and work cause now that Guru died and the fact that he’s not relevant to current trends in hip-hop, he’s trying to find a way to come back.”

    ^ #cutitoutyo

    c/s Silky J

    Premier means lyricism in the way that cats are paving their own lane, not biting the next man’s style because that’s what is selling at the moment.

    Bottom line, some comments on here show that many of you are not students of the game, but are followers of trends.

  • whatitis

    HAHA what tony skatz said about drake was mad funny, but im glad someone mentioned big k.r.i.t. and curren$y for once. there so good but i feel as if their forgotten all the time.

  • kcz253z

    Cats just have no idea what hip hop is or is about anymore. Or at least the one’s who comment the most on here. For anyone to hate on Premo or say he isn’t relevent is crazy. For people to hate on Drake because he’s kind of R&B is crazy. Hip hop and R&B are cut from the same cloth. He can spit if you really listen to him. And he is being original, him self. Not biting of someone else’s style. If you don’t like him thats ok but, so much time and effort is put into hating is mind boggling.I think Premo he is saying is he digs there style and originality. You don’t have to be a gangster to be hip hop. You dont have to be a d boy to be hip hop. You dont have to be street to be hip hop.

  • Q461

    @ Don McCaine

    Co-sign.

    Premier is one the best producers in hip-hop history, ands down. Dude has blessed everyone from Krs-one to Fat Joe to Jay-Z to Snoop to Bun B.And he makes everyone sound dope! anyone who disagrees with this just proves you are ignorant to hip hop history. I would love to hear dude produce a Drake or J-Cole track. You know that shot would be dope as fuck. Besides just his Gang Starr output, dude’s resume is just sick.

    Case in point- Grouphome who were 2 subpar rappers put a 90s era classic based off Primo’s ill beats. Them niggaz rhymes were def not the reason everyone was bumpin that album. If you can make the cats on your shit sound better than they really are, thats some Michael Jordan shit right there.

    • http://www.bboycult.com Don mcCaine

      “Case in point- Grouphome…”

      ^ I was saving that dart for one who retorted with some nonsense.

      Glad to see the Hip Hop heads come out and stop some of this nonsense that be going on with some of the great OG’s.

      Now off to that Ghost thread…

    • YepYep

      So true. The joints with premo were classic. But the latest track G.U.R.U., the lyricism is unbarebly wack. for real.

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  • roclafamilia

    Helpful blog, bookmarked the website with hopes to read more!

  • Official Fully

    Lyricism never left.

    DUCK DOWN.

    • Named

      Lyricism never left? We were in the midst of a club joints w/out lyrics only hip-hop era before Drake or Jay Cole or Lupe Fiasco or anyone else showed up, stop drinkin’ boi.

  • Anonymous

    Drake is a cross-breed between mild dopeness and extreem wackness (whichever suits you). I have to admit that I am not all that into this dude but he surely has a sleek flow. Just listen to Miss Me from his album Thank Me Later. Although we have to admit that Weezy ‘outflowed’ him on that track. Let’s be patient and give him time to prove himself

  • http://smartthoughtsri.info/ Alex Woetzel

    Good piece of writing, well written I must say.

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