DJ Premier Talks Lil Uzi Vert Freestyle & Wanting Drake On “Family And Loyalty” | For The Record

DJ Premier Talks Lil Uzi Vert Freestyle & Wanting Drake On “Family And Loyalty” | For The Record


Rob Markman: What’s up, geniuses? Welcome to For the Record. I’m your host, Rob Markman. Rob Markman: Today’s guest is a hip hop legend,
one of the greatest producers… I would say in the culture, right? One of the greatest producers in music, let’s
just be real about that. He’s given us countless classics and we’re
on the eve of him releasing what might be his most difficult project to create yet,
but we’re going to talk about it. We’re going to hear straight from his mouth. Rob Markman: Gang Starr is back. Almost 10 years after the death of his partner
and the legend Guru, he’s here to talk about the new album, One of the Best Yet, and how
it all came together. DJ Premier, welcome to Genius. Welcome to For the Record. DJ Premier: Good to see you, brother. Always. Rob Markman: Great seeing you, man. How you doing, man? How you feeling? DJ Premier: Blessed. Happy to still keep doing what I do and breathing
life. Rob Markman: That’s dope. And you’ve always been one to elevate, to
push forward, to breathe life into this thing that we love: this hip hop thing. Now we have the new Gang Starr album, the
long awaited Gang Starr album, One of the Best Yet. ‘The Ownerz’ was in 2003. That was the last proper Gang Starr album. We lost Guru, unfortunately, in 2010. It’s about 10 years after Guru’s passing. Rob Markman: In dealing with the hurt and
the mourning process, which I’m sure you go through, how do we get to here and where does
this album begin for you? Like, just the mood to do it. DJ Premier: For one, I definitely gotta credit
my manager Ian. He was a big part of really feeling my energy,
that I told him, in some type of way, I know Guru’s process of recording and once he partnered
up with his business partner I could feel that there’s some recordings that exist because
I know his work ethic. I said, “I just know they’re there somewhere. Just got to figure out how to get to them.” It took seven years to even just keep believing
that that’s the case. DJ Premier: Then once it got to that point
of where there was some communication amongst him and my manager, Ian was like, “There might
be a possibility that we can get it.” I was like, “Let’s figure out what’s it going
to cost, because I know there’s going to be a price tag on it.” I was willing to pay for it, it just had to
make sense. And it finally made sense. Rob Markman: So this started feeling right
for you… The thing that artists get to really get motivated
to work. So this was about seven years ago… DJ Premier: Yeah. But from the day he passed I was already feeling
that way, because first thing I thought was, “How is his son and his family going to still
be able to eat off of his legacy?” We wanted to make sure that that was operating
from his publishing and all of that to make sure that his family is getting it, because
we know how a lot of artists pass and our family is fighting over money. None of that even took place in this particular
situation. It was a team effort, and again, I really
credit Ian for being the facilitator of bridging the communication to get it to happen. I know what I can do once it’s in effect,
because musically the fans really want it, and that’s what I was wanting to do it for. I was like, “If I could just do another one
for the fans…” and for myself. I’m a fan of what we’ve done. That’s the reason why every album we’ve done,
it’s been very consistent. Rob Markman: I want to go back to the process
of how you get the actual recordings, but what was the feeling that you want to… because
it’s no secret that Gang Starr had split. DJ Premier: Yeah. I don’t want to say split, because it was
never confirmed. It was never confirmed. Even if you look at his interviews way past
after we hadn’t done anything, he still was not saying, “Gang Starr is over. We split. I’m not down with Premier.” There’s no proof of that or any video. Rob Markman: But it had been some years since
we’d seen y’all together. DJ Premier: Oh yeah, no question. Rob Markman: It’s fair to say. And that was your man as well as your partner
and you guys made history together. What was the emotional connection in making
this album? I’m sure it wasn’t like an easy thing to just
make a beat. DJ Premier: I was extremely emotional, from
crying by myself to looking at this picture that I have framed in the room. The New York Times just posted our interview
and it has a picture of me holding that frame. That’s the one I brought as the energy of
being able to look at him. I literally would talk to that picture, like,
“You see what’s going on?” I was literally like that many a times on
late nights just constructing all the songs and stuff. DJ Premier: So yeah, it was very emotional
on so many levels, because I know what it should sound like. I know what he’d be happy with. And I know, spiritually, he’s happy anyway
because he sees what we’re doing down here in the physical. He sees that we’re taking care of his son. He sees his family straight, that there’s
been no stress on that end. And he knows that what we do together is always
dope. DJ Premier: We used to always be in the lab. We could be straight from fighting in an argument
to going, “Oh man, wait until they hear this right here. They going to love this one.” Rob Markman: Was there a specific record that
happened that maybe there was a difference between y’all and then the beat comes on and
the rhymes come…? DJ Premier: “Now You’re Mine.” That was a tense moment. I remember when it was done he goes, “And
by the way, fuck you!” But I’m like, “Got the vocals,” you know what
I’m saying? Then later on we’ll make up and we’ll be at
Joe’s Pub. That was the spot. That was the weekly. Joe’s Pub, he’s already at the bar and he’s
already got three ladies flanked around him. That was a normal thing for us. Joe’s Pub or the Powerhouse, which was my
former manager’s club. They used to call it The Building, but that
was the spot. Rob Markman: Super dope. Shoutout to Paul Cantor, too. You mentioned the New York Times article,
which was really dope. DJ Premier: Yeah. What up, Paul? He really did his thing. Rob Markman: It’s funny, you talk about the
picture. The other thing was that there’s a dope lyric
on the album from Royce da 5’9″ on “What’s Real,” because you also had Guru’s… the
urn with some of his ashes. Royce says, “While the smoke in the air feel
like the voodoo’s on the floor, because we got the actual ashes of Guru on the boards,
he’s sitting right aside in the urn in the session looking down from heaven at Gang Starr’s
current progression.” DJ Premier: Progression, yep. Rob Markman: “Earnest successes, his legacy
gets treated like folk themes moving forward, and his children shall eat up the proceeds.” DJ Premier: His children shall eat up the
proceeds. Yeah, that’s dope. And Royce wasn’t there to do a Gang Starr
record. We were there being ready to go on the PRhyme
2 Tour and he was touching up his vocals and we were figuring out how we were going to
put the show together. So he was there for that. Then I said, “By the way…” because I wasn’t
telling anybody about the album. Ian and I sat down and said, “Let’s just do
it, and when it’s done then we just out-of-nowhere announce it.” I was like… Even though Royce is super trustworthy… “You know what? Let me tell Royce what I’m doing.” I said, “You want to hear a couple of Gang
Starr joints I’m working on?” He goes, “Yeah.” I was like, “You think you want to get on
one?” DJ Premier: After he heard “Bad Name”
and he heard the song called “Bless The Mic,” which was the first one I did just
to see if I could even get back into the groove… Then I did “Family and Loyalty.” Once I got to those three, I was like, “Yeah,
it’s time to write.” Then he heard “What’s Real” and was like,
“Just run the beat.” He started pacing back and forth. I go, “By the way, those are Guru’s ashes
right there.” He goes, “Are you serious?” I’m like, “Yeah.” He said, “Why didn’t you tell me?” I was like, “Well, I didn’t want to be like,
‘Hey man, Guru is in here.'” But he was like, “Wow man, that’s ill.” I didn’t know he going to write all that. DJ Premier: Even Group Home, I planned on
reuniting with them to do a song, but what made me spark to be on that song was because
he said, “I’ll send this whole group home like Melachi the Nutcracker.” I was like, “That’s what they need to do now.” Rob Markman: So Royce inspired that? DJ Premier: Yeah. Rob Markman: One great thing that you did
with this album is it features J. Cole… amazing feature… it features Royce, Talib
Kweli, Q-Tip, Ne-Yo, Nitty Scott, but the Gang Starr Foundation is fully represented. So Jeru is featured on it… It’s people who Guru absolutely worked with
while he was here and would’ve continued working with. So Group Home, which was the group that he
brought to you and said, “I think you could do something with these guys.” DJ Premier: Yeah. Melachi was like my little buddy that I mentored
when I moved to the Bronx, and that’s how I met Panchi, that’s how I met Smiley the
Ghetto Child, and all of us. That’s where I met Chubby-Chub and Ski and
Jay-Z used to come around the Bronx then because he was with… Dame Dash would be walking his dogs and Ski
and them lived right down the block from us. Even Red Handed, who was Jay-Z’s DJ at the
time, was just a young kid down the block that knew our Gang Starr videos from Word
I Manifest and Positivity. That’s how that whole thing got put together,
with knowing all of those guys, you know what I’m saying? DJ Premier: From there I just kept mentoring
Melachi because he was a troubled kid getting into a lot of trouble with guns and violence. He used to hang with us every time we’d be
together and Guru was like, “Man, y’all should be a group. You’ve both got the same size. Melachi is like, ‘I will fuck anybody up that
fronts on me.'” He’s really like that. Rob Markman: Absolutely. He’s the box. DJ Premier: Big time. And then Dap is the little stick-up kid that
used to run around stealing bikes. One day Guru played me the song called So-Called
Friends that they did and I was like, “You know what? They sound kind of dope together.” DJ Premier: My former manager, Patrick Moxey,
who started Payday, said, “If you produce the album, I’ll give you all a deal. No demos needed. Nothing. Just as long as you’re producing.” Guru was like, “Will you do it?” I was like, “Yeah.” Guru was like, “Well, we should get three
groups each and sign them to Gang Starr Productions.” DJ Premier: I said, “All right.” He said, “You got any groups?” I was like, “Nah, but let’s start with who
you want.” He said, “I was Jeru, Group Home, and I want
Shug since he’s the co-founder and he’s home from prison. I want him to be able to do an album.” “Cool.” “Well, who do you want to start with?” I said, “Jeru’s ready,” because I was hearing
all his demos and they were cool, but I was like, “Get somebody’s voice and his powerful
delivery… let’s go with him first and then trickle down.” We started with him and Come Clean was Guru’s
that I did for his Ill Kid project, which Ill Kid Records was his demo vinyl. He would only do demo vinyl and that was my
demo for that particular episode, only because Bahamadia was first. Well no, she was second actually. But that’s why it was a Group Home record,
a Jeru record, and a Big Shug record all on the same 12 inch. DJ Premier: Next thing you know, Come Clean
took off immediately and Patrick said, “Deal. You do the album.” That’s how it all turned around to be what
it is. Rob Markman: Super fire. It’s so dope to hear them all represented
on this album. Another Militia record with Freddie Fox. DJ Premier: Very important, yeah. He said he’s Freddie Fox only on Gang Starr
records. He’s Bumpy Knuckles. Rob Markman: He’s Bumpy Knuckles usually. Shoutout to Bumpy Knuckles. Respect. Rob Markman: At the time, before his death,
Guru was working with his partner DJ Solar. DJ Premier: He’s not DJ Solar. Just Solar. Rob Markman: Just Solar. And that’s where the vocals come from. When you get those vocals, those acapellas,
and you have to start building music around it… you had known Guru for so many years,
worked on so many classics with him. I’m sure there was things about his cadence
that you knew right off the bat, things about his rhyme style, the way he hits the beat,
the way he sounds on the beat, that was very familiar to you. But artists evolve. Was there anything that changed in his style
or anything, or was it all super familiar for you as soon you got the vocals? DJ Premier: Super familiar. I know the ones where he’s drinking, because
I can tell the tone. I know the ones where he’s very sober and
very focused. And then some that I have where that the hook
is dope but the lyrics are a bit shaky. And we’ve had drunk songs that are dope. “ALONGWAYTOGO” is one of my favorites. He was super inebriated. I loved that song. If you listen to it now you’d be like, “Oh
yeah, I can tell the difference,” because that was for ‘Poetic Justice,’ for John
Singleton, god bless him, and he says it in the lyrics. Rob Markman: That was a dope soundtrack. DJ Premier: Well, they didn’t accept the song. They turned it down. But that’s why I was like, “Man, this is still
dope. That’s start the ‘Hard to Earn’ album
with that because it says, ‘Here’s a funky introduction’ from Phife,” who, god bless
him as well… Rob Markman: But they turned that record down? That wasn’t on the soundtrack? DJ Premier: Nah. And Guru hates rejection. I do too. I mean, who doesn’t? Rob Markman: But it was a dope soundtrack. Pete Rock and CL Smooth had ‘One In A Million.’ There was dope records on there. DJ Premier: ‘Niggas Don’t Give A Fuck’
with Dogg Pound and Snoop. I was like wow. And he says, “It’s a long way to go…” John Singleton showed us the movie. When we saw it and we seen that they’re lost
and the mail truck… The whole journey is about being lost. And the love part, of course, with Janet. But we were like that’s why he started writing
it right there, going, “It’s a long way to go where you don’t know where you going.” We were like, “This is perfect.” Then he says in the first verse, “The cellophane
ones that you can see through it’s poetic justice because I’m mad with the pad.” Rob Markman: Wow. It makes sense down. DJ Premier: So when he turned it down, he’s
like, “Damn, should we take poetic justice out?” I was like, “Nah, because it still makes sense.” I said, “Being it says, ‘Here’s a funky introduction,’
this is still the perfect thing to set off the album,” so we kept it. Rob Markman: So you’re very familiar with
the vocals. It wasn’t like you watching his style so you
kind of knew. DJ Premier: Nah. I can always tell. Rob Markman: Was there anything… a through
line with the raps that he was writing in this era… like, thematic? I listen to songs like “Business or Art”
with Talib Kweli or” Bad Name” and he kind of talks about a frustration with the
business of hip hop, which he’s rapped about before previous, and guys not keeping it real
or being true to the art form. Was there any theme that you noticed within
raps or…? DJ Premier: Nah. The thing is, I’m used to him writing to my
tracks. Now I had to write to his lyrics. I’ve never done it backwards because all of
our albums have been systematically done with a list that he gives me and we stick it on
the wall until the album is done. We don’t go in any order. We just, “Today, I’ll do number six.” Again, even though it’s number six doesn’t
mean that’s going to be in the sequence of the album: this is just his list. DJ Premier: It’s crazy, I just found one of
his lists that Sarah Honda… big up to her. She’s Gang Starr family. She gave me all this old… She used to transcribe his lyrics for videos. When you do videos you have to show the lyrics
and Guru’s stuff is so messy. Rob Markman: Before Genius. DJ Premier: Yeah. And she literally gave me all of this stuff
and I was like, “Wow. There goes our lists.” Actually, I’ll take a picture of that when
I get home. DJ Premier: But yeah, that list is how we’ve
always done our albums. It’ll have little descriptions. It might say, “Just to Get a Rep,” about
getting robbed. “Mass Appeal,” our first single. “Above the Clouds,” a song about your
mental, hopefully with Deck.” That’s what it’ll say. I’ll just look at which one I want to focus
on today, because some songs, based off of what it’s going to be, I hear it in my head
first, but I would like to tackle the more difficult ones first. The only ones we don’t attack is the singles. He already knows what the singles are going
to be. He said, “’Royalty’ with KC and Jojo. ‘You Know My Steez’ and ‘Militia’
are our singles.” “Cool, I’ll mess with those last.” Singles are always last. That way they sound literally fresh out of
the oven. Rob Markman: The first song we heard from
the album, “Family and Loyalty,” featuring J. Cole, which I felt was special. How did you get Cole on that record, man? DJ Premier: First, I wanted Drake on it because
we had just done “Sandra’s Rose” for Scorpion. He was literally locked down for this tour
and it just couldn’t happen in the timely manner to get it done. At that time I was like go go go, even though
we had plenty of time, because “Family and Loyalty” is the third record that I was
working on. “Bless The Mic” was first. “Bad Name” was second. Family and Loyalty was third. I wanted to Kendrick, they said… shoutout to Top… “He’s locked in right now on his own album.” So he’s got his own album, cool. No problem. Then I was like, “Man, I wonder if Cole would
do it.” DJ Premier: First I sent him a song called
“So Many Rappers.” I texted it to him. As soon as I texted it to him, I was like,
“Why did I send him that? He’s already talked about those topics.” I literally said, “My apology, man. I shouldn’t have sent you that. You’ve already covered this topic.” He goes, “Damn, what timing, because I was
going to tell you I’ve already covered these topics, so I don’t really want to do that
one.” Cool. I said, “I’ll reach out to you later on when
I get further down into it.” When back to messing with “Family and Loyalty”
again. Sent him that: texted it to him and said,
“Hey, here’s another one called ‘Family and Loyalty.’ Tell me what you feel about this.” Wasn’t even five minutes. He texted me and said, “Bro, I got the chills. This is dope. How you got his voice sounding like that? He sounds so new.” I was like, “Just from all the history. This is how we do it.” He’s like, “I’m on it. I got you.” I said, “Think we can get a video and a single?” He said, “Yeah, definitely. I’m in.” Rob Markman: That’s dope. Then he said in his tweet that this was his
last feature. DJ Premier: He told me that right before the
video shoot. He had us move our date up, that’s why I came
out so early. We weren’t ready to drop that yet. We wanted to drop that second. I wanted to drop “Bad Name” first, because
that sounds like the traditional jump-off of a Gang Starr record, where “Family and
Loyalty” is more laid back and calm. We don’t drive records like that as our first
record. DJ Premier: He had already agreed to let it
be the second single, so when he hit me up after our whole marketing campaign and everything
was straight, he literally out of nowhere called and I see his name… I’m saying, “Hey man, what’s up?” thinking
I’m excited or whatever. He’s all, “Hey, I know you’re about to drop
Bad Name, but I think you need to flip-flop it because I’m about to take a step back. I did a lot of features this year and I’m
about to disappear.” I was like, “Okay, that’s cool.” He said, “But I need it to be within this
timeframe, because when I take this timeframe to… I need space between all the features I’ve
done. I just want to not do anything.” I’m like, “Okay, cool, but how is that going
to affect us?” He said, “Because I’ve already set that this
is when I want nothing else to happen.” DJ Premier: I whined a little bit but he made
great points. He said, “Think about it, Preme. This is not going to hurt you. I know “Bad Name” is more your energy
to set it off. But you have an advantage that a lot of new
artists don’t have. You have an audience that is so dedicated
and is going to be so excited about Gang Starr coming back, they’re going to get with it. You could drop anything and they’re going
to get with it because they don’t even know you’re dropping anything. Plus, usually you need six to eight weeks
to work a single. You can drop another one in two weeks and
go ahead and drop “Bad Name.” Now you’ve got it and the fans are still going
to be with it.” I was like, “All right, cool. What about the video?” He said, “Video will happen as long as it’s
in with… It has to be no later than September 20.” DJ Premier: We set September 20 as the date. I had to call my marketing team, Dimples,
and mash out to Matt and Ian and we had to emergency switch and call our distributor. Like, “Change of plans. That single is on hold.” DJ Premier: Now, I didn’t have a video idea
yet because we already knew that was going to be the second single, so we couple of weeks
and months to think about that later. Now I’m like, “Damn, who do I call that can…?” We called Jonah Hill because… Rob Markman: Shoutout to Jonah Hill. DJ Premier: I like the Travis Scott video
he did. Me and Jonah have been cool with each other,
so I wanted to see how creative he could get. And I know he’s Gang Starr fan. He was like, “Man, I’m doing these commercials
and stuff. Damn. Why’d you call me now? I’m so caught up I can’t break to focus on
them.” And there’s tons of other directors that wanted
to send treatments, but I just wanted to… and not only that, we’ve got to hurry up and
get to it because the 20th is coming. Cole said, “I only have this window and that’s
it. This is my last feature.” We’re like, “We got to get this done before
he shuts down.” I said, “Man, Fab 5 Freddy did a great job
with ‘Just To Get a Rep.’ Let me…” Rob Markman: Yeah. The history that y’all have, it made sense
to come back around and have Fab 5 Freddy do it. DJ Premier: Yep. So I called him and you know, there’s Freddy
with that voice. He’s like, “Yo man, so what’s the song about?” I said, “I’m going to text it to you right
now.” He called me back, “Word, yo, I like this.” He came up with the whole concept because
he said what do I envision? I said, “I want to be almost like a photo
album with his son looking at all the archives of his father’s work and when you turn the
page in this big book it turns into videos and old footage and stuff like that.” It kind of followed that, not fully to the
way we envisioned it, but when Freddie wrote the treatment and said, “We should reenact
the will,” being that all these rumors were about a will and all of this. “Let’s reenact the will to be done in a positive
way.” DJ Premier: When he wrote the treatment I
was like, I got to make sure his son and his family is cool with it. Showed it them. His son was like, “I love this.” Rob Markman: His son was in the video. DJ Premier: He was nine when he passed. Since he’s 19, he’s involved with a lot of
the Gang Starr activity that we do. He was like, “I love this, man. Yeah, I want to do this.” I was like, “You mind being in the video?” He said, “Nah, let’s do it.” Talked to Guru’s sister who he was very close
to and she was like, “I love it.” Guru’s son’s mom, she was like, “I love it.” Then his nephew, Justin. I wanted their okay. Once they said cool, I said, “Freddy, let’s
go. But it’s got to be right now,” and we started
having to rush work and work through around Cole’s schedule. Cole was like, “I’m moving from New York back
to North Carolina. I need you to do it on only these dates, because
I’m really busy with family.” I was like, “Cool, got it.” DJ Premier: We went to North Carolina and
shot it. Rob Markman: Dope. Super dope. Rob Markman: Real quick, you had mentioned
the will. I know a lot of people have questions about…
there was a supposed letter and some instruction that Guru wrote on his deathbed that mentioned
you. The New York Times article… DJ Premier: I always say this: it didn’t mention
me. It said, “Ex-DJ.” Rob Markman: “Ex-DJ.” DJ Premier: There’s four DJs that existed:
me, Shawn… shoutout to Shawn, that’s my guy. Shoutout to Mike Dee, who’s the second DJ
of Gang Starr. Actually, you could say five DJs because Shug’s
brother, Suave D, was the first DJ in Gang Starr. Then it was Mike Dee. Then Shawn and Tommy Hill, who was Jeru The
Damaja’s DJ from East New York. Then me. Whenever I wasn’t around, because I was going
to college and going back and forth… Say either DJ Premier or Christopher Martin. There’s no name. Rob Markman: But he didn’t mention either
the stage name or your government name. He did say, “Ex-DJ.” DJ Premier: It’s like ex-girls, man. Rob Markman: If you read the New York Times
article, it reported that that was found by the courts a few years ago to have been false
and not have been a document that Guru could’ve wrote because he was in a coma. DJ Premier: Yeah, I was in court. The doctor took the stand and said… he brought
it up while he was being questioned… “There is no way this letter could’ve been
written,” and this is from the doctor, you know what I’m saying? There’s the facts right there, under oath. Rob Markman: I just wanted to clear that up. You had mentioned… I know there’s a lot of questions that fans
had, and if you hadn’t read that New York Times article, you should. DJ Premier: We never believed it anyway. I know how Guru writes. I know how he talks when he’s angry. I’ve been around him all these years. There’s nothing we don’t know about Guru. Rob Markman: It’s funny. I didn’t even know… you’re always full of
gems… that a possibility or vision that you had was for Drake or Kendrick to feature
on the album, too, because I think it’s really important… I think Cole coming through for the album
is really important, just being of a newer generation. And he was right. There’s already a generation of guys like
myself who grew up on Gang Starr who’s tuning in. I don’t care who’s on that album. As long it’s Guru and Premier, I’m pressing
play. But there’s certain people who may not know
Gang Starr and see a Cole and then, “Okay, Gang Starr, heard of them. Let me check this out.” DJ Premier: That’s what Cole said too. He said, “Preme, a lot of people that don’t
y’all is going to start going back to your old albums.” He wanted to assure me why it’s going to still
be beneficial to switch it, because again, I just didn’t want to come out mellow and
laid back. But… Rob Markman: It worked out! DJ Premier: What’s that? Rob Markman: It worked out! DJ Premier: Oh yeah. Cole, I remember he said, “I love doing this,
all these planning things.” He said he loves doing this. So I said, “Well, let’s start a planned company,
man.” Rob Markman: Was there anybody else that you
reached out or envisioned for the album that just didn’t work out? DJ Premier: Nas. Yeah. Nas. Rob Markman: I thought I was going to get
Nas, because when we heard the voicemail, the skit, it automatically brings me back
to “Aiiight Chill” from ‘Hard to Earn,’ the skit. And Nas… DJ Premier: I explained to him, “Let’s reenact
that.” Rob Markman: That was a dope callback. Again, day one Gang Starr fans, when you hear
Nas and you hear the voicemail and then that little beep… DJ Premier: And you know “Aiiight Chill”. There’s people that were like, “What made
you do that?” It’s like, “Aiiight Chill.” They’re like, “What’s that?” Rob Markman: It’s a skit on ‘Hard to Earn.’ If you haven’t checked out ‘Hard to Earn,’
go check it out. Rob Markman: When I heard that voicemail…
and that was kind of the first thing that alerted us that there was a new Gang Starr
album coming… I said, “Oh, Nas is going to be on this Gang
Starr album.” You know what I’m saying? Where’s it at? What happened with Nas? DJ Premier: Shoutout to Panchi from the NYGs. He was the one that was like, “You should
start a rumor,” and Alchemist as well. Alchemist was like, “You should start a rumor.” Both of them in two different scenarios brought
up that it should be a rumor. I was like, “Yeah, I’m with that. How do we do it?” Shoutout to DJ Scratch, because he was supposed
to do it. Well, he did one, but… DJ Premier: The reason why I wanted Scratch
and Nas: Scratch is the voice of the “P-p-p-premier,” and it’s from Aiiight Chill as well. Being it’s from the same record, it was a
symbolic thing that those two stood out, mainly Nas because it sets off before the beat drops
and he’s going “Yo, yo,” and that’s when Large Professor was working on “Ijuswannachill,”
but I used to be in sessions with Large Professor and Nas, even when I wasn’t doing no beats
yet for Illmatic. I was around when he did “Ain’t Hard to
Tell.” I was there when he did “One Time for Your
Mind.” “One Time for Your Mind” was just him
messing around and I was like, “Yo, that’s dope.” And it ended up being on ‘Illmatic.’ DJ Premier: I was around him so much… Even Shane Nicholson… You know Shane Nicholson that did Robokings? He was an intern there. When he did Robokings he was a guest on my
radio show and he goes, “Yo man, I got a story to tell you. You’ve met me before.” I’m like, “When?” He said, “You came to pick up the final deck
of “Life’s a Bitch” when AZ did “Life’s a Bitch,” because you were going to master
the ‘Illmatic’ album with…” shoutout to Tony Dawsey, who masters all my stuff. He said, “You were going to take it to Tony
and when you picked it up and you met Nas’s dad, that’s when his dad…” I sat there and waited for him to play the
horn. Then when he was done, I took the deck with
me because that was the final song I was recording for ‘Illmatic.’ DJ Premier: As soon as I’m walking out the
door, I go, “Yo Nas, don’t forget: whatever you say, just make sure you say, ‘Aiiight
Chill.'” Shane was an intern. He said he was just hoping everybody was in
the room. He’s running to get coffee and do stuff like
that. He was like, “What does that mean? Whatever you say, all right chill?” Then the album comes out and he hears it and
he’s like, “I was there for that.” Then he blew up as a movie director. That’s just crazy because I wouldn’t have
been like, “Hey kid, who are you?” You know what I’m saying. He’s another person in the room. But that’s how crazy “Aiiight Chill” is
such a… DJ Premier: I remember some people wrote reviews
dissing it, saying, “This is corny,” and, “Premier wasted space.” It was like, “You didn’t even get it.” Rob Markman: No, that was hard. It definitely felt dope hearing it. Rob Markman: But basically what you’re saying
is you trolled us, man. You put out the Nas… You know what I’m saying? I know Alchemist is now on his troll shit,
especially on like… DJ Premier: Yeah. What up, Alchy? Rob Markman: Yeah. Alchemist has a lot of fun on social media. But basically what you’re saying is that you
trolled us. You made us think we was going to get a Nas
verse. We didn’t get the Nas verse, but we got a
dope album. DJ Premier: Yeah, it was perfect. DJ Premier: I remember me and Ian was sitting
when I’m about to post it and we’re standing next to each other. He goes, “You know, once you hit send, this
is about to go,” and we’re both like, “You ready?” I go, “Ugh!” And we go, “Ah!” Like little kids. It’s about to be on and it just bing, bing,
bing. It went super-viral. Rob Markman: Nah, that was dope. Rob Markman: You had mentioned Drake, too,
earlier. Aside from “Sandra’s Rose,” there was
another beat that you sent him… “Sail”… that I read an interview… DJ Premier: 40 sent me that first. Rob Markman: They sent you the sample? DJ Premier: Yeah, from Maneesh. I didn’t even know Rick Ross was going to
be on it. They just sent it to me and said, “Can you
hook this up?” I was like, “Yeah, I’ll hook it up.” Hooked it up, sent it to them. They said, “We’ll get back to you. Might put somebody on it.” Then they sent me “Sandra’s Rose” and
Drake was like, “This is the one. It’s about my mom. I really want you to work on this one, too,
but this one is more important.” I was like, “All right.” Just started a program around Maneesh’s
sound and I left around 4:30 in the morning, which is a normal time for us. DJ Premier: As soon as I got home… I had to get up early for my son or whatever
to go to school… But I remember getting up at like 6:30, and
whenever I wake up the first thing I do I go, “Thank you,” because I woke up. It’s my new thing now. I said, “Thank you,” and they said, “Do-do-do.” Grabbed my phone. I see it’s 40. When I hit it, I see the little video picture
and I’m like, “I know ain’t do it.” Rob Markman: They cut the record. DJ Premier: Yeah. Played it and I’m like “Ooo!” watching
the video. Then you hear him going, “We got one!” Next thing you know, I remember Ian was like,
“Check out Drake’s IG story.” It had a picture of me from the Nas ‘Illmatic’
thing that we did with Video Music Box for his press kit, and it was the old picture
of me with the Columbia jacket and it had a little scorpion right there. Rob Markman: You made me want to get the Columbia
jacket. Absolutely. You’ve made the Columbia jackets hot, bro. When you did the Columbia jacket with the
hat, you know what I’m saying? DJ Premier: That was the move back then, the
Columbia jackets. DJ Premier: But yeah, when I saw the little
scorpion he morphed into the picture, I was like, “Okay, I’m definitely on the album.” Rob Markman: The other record we don’t know,
in the vaults. DJ Premier: What’s that? Rob Markman: You said there was the other
record with Rick Ross. DJ Premier: Yeah. Ross did a verse and then I just said, “Let
me know.” Drake never cut his vocal. So I have it in the vault, yeah. It’s Drake’s record. You got to talk to him. Rob Markman: At the very least, there’s a
Rick Ross-Premier thing floating around, which you say at the very least, and that’s funny
because that sounds amazing to me. DJ Premier: And he said he was going to release
a new record then “Money in the Grave” came out and “Omertà,” so I didn’t know. I was waiting myself. When the Raptors won, he said, “If Raptors
win, I’m going to drop a new record.” When I saw featuring Rick Ross, I’m like,
“Oh, that might be it,” because I figured maybe they touched it up because I gave it
to them with the beat already set to the way it needs to be. I’m like, “This must be it.” And then I played it and it was “Money in
the Grave.” Rob Markman: I love it, man. I know we’re here to talk about Gang Starr,
but I love the progression of DJ Premier as well. You on “Sandra’s Rose” is like my favorite,
and I think a lot of people’s, favorite version of Drake: the very introspective storytelling
and we really learn about his life. Cole on “Family and Loyalty” on the Gang
Starr album, dope. I love to see Premier with this new generation. DJ Premier: Cole went H.A.M., man. Rob Markman: I also want to shoutout… I want to ask you about this… my man Yo
from DJBooth. DJ Premier: Oh yeah. Rob Markman: Amazing young journalist. Really coming up. I’m a fan of his. And you had an interview with him after… DJ Premier: Back with PRhyme? Rob Markman: This was the PRhyme joint. This was after Lil Uzi Vert. It was the whole Hot 97 thing. We didn’t want to rhyme over “Mass Appeal.” People were upset. Preme was like, “I get it. I spoke to this kid.” Rob Markman: Were there actual plans or talks
of having Uzi on PRhyme 2? DJ Premier: Yeah. Prior to that, somebody on my Twitter was
like, “Yo man, you need to ban Uzi Vert,” and they at-ed him on Twitter. I said, “Why do you have to ban him? He doesn’t have to rhyme to anything I do. It’s all love.” He literally replied back to me… never met
him… “Thank you, Premier, for saying that. Can you DM me?” I was like, “All right.” I wasn’t following him. I started following him, because with Twitter
you can’t DM somebody unless you’re following each other. As soon as… I guess he saw that I’m following him, he
DMs me and he goes, “Yo, big bro. It wasn’t that I didn’t want to rap over “Mass
Appeal”… It wasn’t that “Mass Appeal” is whack
or whatever. That just wasn’t the style of beat I wanted
to rhyme over.” He said, “If it had been ‘Full Clip’ instrumental,
I would’ve been with it.” Rob Markman: He just said Full Clip, so he
know. DJ Premier: Yeah. It’s still saved in my phone. I’ll show you after we finish this. He goes, “Don’t let them separate us like
this, big bro. Don’t let them do this. I’m from Philly. You think I don’t know all Royce and Boom
and all these records you did?” All that’s in my thread, I’ll show you. He was like, “We should do something.” After that, we started saying, “Let’s do it. Let’s do it.” It was just a scheduling issue. Rob Markman: That would’ve been dope. I would love to hear Uzi and Preme, what that
sounds like. Rob Markman: I say all this and I love this
story. As to you, I think a lot of people from our
generation and previous generations… There’s a generation gap going on in hip hop. DJ Premier: They hate when I say I’m down
to do work with them. “Ah, you ruining hip hop, Preme. How can you say Drake is dope?” It’s like, “What don’t you like about him? Because he gets so many girls that you want? All right. Get your own. My big ass can get girls, so if I can get
them you can get them too. Shit.” Rob Markman: Right. But it’s so dope that you don’t let that hinder
and I think that’s why… DJ Premier: Nah. Music is music, man. Rob Markman: I think that’s why we’ve been
talking and dancing and celebrating to DJ Premier for 30 years, 30+ years now, in hip
hop, and we’re going to continue. DJ Premier: I’m going to stick to what works
for me, you know what I’m saying? I appreciate that. Rob Markman: You know what I mean? DJ Premier: Sure enough. Rob Markman: Is there another Gang Starr album
in the works? How much material…? Is this the last Gang Starr album, or…? DJ Premier: I don’t know what the future holds. All I know is that there’s still other tracks
available. I don’t know. Like I said, some of them are not as good
as I would want them to be, but I still own them. You might hear a song pop up out of nowhere
or something of that nature. It’s just not planned to say another album
or anything like that. Rob Markman: Okay, dope. Rob Markman: Last question, man. I’m going to put you on the spot. You’ve been all this time working to get this
album. Been dealing with a lot of Guru acapellas
and we miss him. But really concentrating on the rhymes, what’s
your favorite Guru verse ever, if you had to pick one? DJ Premier: Ever? Definitely from “You Know My Steez.” Just the way he even came in. I told him, every session, I’m never not there,
because I am very meticulous about coaching the vocal to be right, or I might say, “Hey,
you sound like you’re losing the momentum right here. Let’s fix that line.” That one, I literally was going to see my
family for I don’t know if it was Thanksgiving or whatever, but I was leaving that day. DJ Premier: He goes, “I can do it without
you.” I’m like, “You sure? Because we’ve never done it without each other.” He goes, “I’ll do it. Then Eddie, Sandra, leave you a copy and if
you don’t like it we’ll recut it when you get back.” I was like, “All right, just don’t forget
when it goes, ‘I think right now we start the show,’ wait a bar and then start on bum,
bum bum.” But he goes, “Bum, who’s this suspicious…” When he goes, “Dun, dun dun.” That’s when he came in. He was supposed to wait another bar. But he came in… “Who’s this suspicious character strapped
with the sound profound?”… I was like, “Damn, this sounds dope.” DJ Premier: I was like, “You good. We ain’t got to fix nothing.” It’s perfect. Rob Markman: And ‘One of the Best Yet,’
that line, that sample, that scratch comes from “You Know My Steez.” DJ Premier: Yeah, on my microphone. It’s on “One of the Best Yet.” And then we used it on “Full Clip.” To this very day, whenever we perform… even
when Guru was alive… when we go, “Do you want to mess with this Gang Starr?” We cut the music and the whole crowd goes,
“One of the best yet!” And they still do it. That’s why I was like, “That’s the perfect
title for this album.” Rob Markman: Full circle. DJ Premier: Full circle. Rob Markman: Well, Preme. Thank you. It’s always a pleasure talking to you. I could talk to you for two more hours because
I know it’s a vast wealth of knowledge that you have. DJ Premier: No doubt. Rob Markman: But very glad to have you here. Very glad that we have a new Gang Starr album. DJ Premier: Me too, man. Rob Markman: It is time to celebrate you and
celebrate the life and the memory of Guru. DJ Premier: Yeah. His family gonna eat off the proceeds. Rob Markman: Beautiful. That’s important. Rob Markman: And thank y’all for watching. Definitely check out that new Gang Starr album,
‘One of the Best Yet.’ Tell me your favorite tracks in the comments:
your favorite rhymes, your favorite beats. I’m going to be in there with you. We’re going to chop it up all week in the
comments. Rob Markman: Until next time, check us out. Peace.

27 thoughts on “DJ Premier Talks Lil Uzi Vert Freestyle & Wanting Drake On “Family And Loyalty” | For The Record

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