Saturday, February 20, 2010
DJ Premier Interview At NBA All-Star Weekend Dallas
As reported by Sherron Shabazz at the Examiner
Examiner: What has All-Star Weekend been like for you so far?
DJ Premier: It’s been really great. We just got here today. The funny thing is I’m from New York and we just got a little rough snow but I’m used to it. I shovel my own drive-way, I shovel the side walk, take care of all my neighbors, and make sure all the old ladies get their drive-ways shoveled and get taken care of with salt and all of that. I’m from Texas originally but I’ve been living in New York for 22 years. My sister lives out here and to come out to 9 inches of snow is funny. I’m used to 36 degrees but everybody out here is panicking, flights were cancelled and all of that. We made it here safely.
Big shout out to 944 [magazine] for having us out here, we appreciate it. Shout out to The Boardroom for having us, Russell Simmons, Melanie Fiona, Paul Pierce, Snoop Dogg, DJ Reflex, and Doug E. Fresh. It’s a beautiful thing to be out here. Shout out to Nick Javas who ripped it with me. He’s on my label Year Round Records. Also shout out to all the people that came through, Amare Stoudemire, LeBron James, Chris Tucker, Magic Johnson and also Allen Iverson who couldn’t be here who I’m a big fan of.
Examiner: I read that you were working with MC Eiht on his new album, how did that come about?
DJ Premier: We’ve been friends for a long time. I’ve known him since the 90’s; we came up in the same era. When the West Coast was strong with Death Row MC Eiht had his own lane—he also became an actor in the film Menace II Society. I did my first gig in L.A. in 1989 with Gangstarr, Compton’s Most Wanted, WC and the Maad Circle, and Ice Cube. This was when Ice Cube first left N.W.A. He got into a big beef backstage. All the action wasn’t out in the crowd it was backstage. It was crazy to witness that and see how many people were mad at Cube for moving and taking that step. It turned out to be one of the best moves that he made.
The first person I met in Long Beach at the show was MC Eiht. He had two beepers on his hip, a big fresh jheri curl, and black khaki’s. He said, “What’s up DJ Premier my name is MC Eiht,” and we’ve been friends ever since. I just love his style. He has a unique voice and a unique flow—he has his own lane. That’s what it’s all about, having your own lane. Everybody always wants to sound like everybody else but when you’re different you always prevail even if it takes a minute to get there. He never switched that up.
When I put out an artist named Blaq Poet on my label Year Round Record in June of 2009 we wanted to do a remix. Eiht and I were on the phone talking about new music he was working on and I let him hear the song and he loved it. He was like, “Yo let me get on it.” I let him get on it and then my man Young Maylay who’s down with Dub C [WC] and Crazy Toones who is also from the west coast let me hear his stuff and he’s a great MC. He’s going to be on my label too. I asked him to get on it too and he sent it to me in a day—done! I said let’s shoot a video because I was working with Christina Aguilera on her new album out in L.A. Gordon Franklin who runs my label said, “Yo I got some cheap tickets we can get. Let’s bring Poet, fly out to L.A., shoot the video, and go back to New York the next day.” I stayed out there and worked with Christina. I snuck away…she don’t even know I broke away. I’m going to get in trouble now. I broke away from a session that she’s paying me to be out there for to go and shoot the video with Poet, MC Eiht, and Maylay. It came out really good, it’s called “Ain’t Nuttin’ Changed.” Then they came to New York and did the show for our release party. We flew them up, put them in nice hotels, and took care of them—we’re old friends. I said you know what, we should do an album. Eiht gave me like 40 songs and he doesn’t know how to mix. He gave me like 40 songs all sparse and crazy but the beats and lyrics were dope. I said, “Yo man we could do two albums together! I’m gonna put you on my label and do a couple of one-offs.”
That’s what my label represents, pure Hip-Hop from the bottom up! You gotta start from the bottom and work your way up. Everybody now is so caught up on first week sales and soundscan. [Forget] soundscan and [forget] first week sales, it’s all about integrity and quality music. We care about our fans and we care about giving them their money’s worth. That pays more than a payola record. Paying for a record means you’re buying your friends. I don’t have to buy my friends to like me. I want you to like me because I’m real and I’m me. So all those other [expletives] let them pay for their records, we know that they don’t hold water next to what we do. I don’t care if they get 20 million spins they can’t stand next to us when we drop our [stuff]. Play yours then play mine—ours is better (laughs).
Examiner: Pete Rock is in town, I think 9th Wonder just left town…
DJ Premier: Family man…all family.
Examiner: I recently saw clips from the show that 9th did to honor you and Pete in North Carolina….
DJ Premier: Yeah man. That’s one of the dopest things I’ve ever experienced. To be honored…. Man I feel like I got so many more miles to go. I’ll be 44 years-old this year. The love that 9th Wonder gave me and Pete was so incredible. The band that played for us mimicking our records and sounding just like the beats we produced from out heart and soul, it was one of the biggest, dopest events ever in my lifetime. I love 9th Wonder, I love Pete. Big shout out to both of them.
Read the full DJ Premier interview here:
Examiner - Q & A With DJ Premier
DJ Premier blog
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