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DJ Premier

Background information
Birth name Christopher Edward Martin
Born March 21, 1966 (1966-03-21) (age 43)
Houston, Texas, United States
Origin Brooklyn, New York, United States
Genres Hip hop
Occupations record producer, DJ
Instruments Drum machine
Keyboard
Sampler
Turntable
Years active 1987  – present
Labels Wild Pitch/EMI (1987–1990)
Chrysalis/EMI (1991–1998)
Virgin/EMI (1998–2003)
Year Round (2003–)
Website DJ Premier at MySpace

Christopher Edward Martin (born March 21, 1966[1] in Houston, Texas), better known by his stage name DJ Premier (also known as Preem, Premo, or Primo for short), is an American record producer and DJ, and the instrumental half of the duo Gang Starr, together with emcee Guru. Born in Houston, he has lived in Brooklyn, New York, for much of his life since childhood and professional career. Premier is hailed as an architect of "East Coast hip-hop known by its heavy drums and sparse loops."[2]

The Source magazine named DJ Premier one of the five greatest producers in hip-hop history, while editors from About.com ranked him as #1 in its Top-50 Hip-Hop Producers list.[3]

Contents

Productions

Some of Premier's most lauded non-Gang Starr productions have been his collaborations with lesser-known artists. With MC Jeru the Damaja, Premier crafted one of the East Coast's landmark albums in The Sun Rises in the East, released in 1994, as well as the 1996 follow-up, Wrath of the Math.[1] Also from the Gang Starr Foundation, Premier would produce and supervise Group Home's Livin' Proof; although overlooked at the time of its 1995 release, the album has since come to find similar acclaim.[1] Many Hip-Hop enthusiasts talk of Premier as a legend because of his contribution to Hip-Hop music.

Samples

DJ Premier's style of production epitomizes the New York sound of his earlier peers. He is known for sampling jazz, funk, and soul artists, as well as sampling an artist's past work when creating a new track for that same artist. In addition, his encyclopedic memory of hip-hop lyrics allows him to distinctively speak with his hands by scratching in lyrics from several different songs to construct new phrases.[4] Premier's non-Gang Starr collaborations are known for his oft-imitated combinations of short vocal samples, often from multiple artists, to create a chorus. For example, in the chorus of Mos Def's "Mathematics," Premier cuts the following in quick succession:

"The Mighty Mos Def" (from Mos Def's "Body Rock"),
"It's simple mathematics" (from Fat Joe's "John Blaze"),
"Check it out" (Lady of Rage from Snoop Dogg's "For All My Niggaz & Bitches"),
"I revolve around science" (from Ghostface Killah's verse on Raekwon's "Criminology"),
"What are we talking about here" (from the movie Ghostbusters Said by William Atherton's Character),
"Do your math" (from Erykah Badu's "On & On"), and
"One, two, three, four" (from James Brown's "Funky Drummer")

Note, however, that Premier has experimented extensively with atonal samples that are not confined to soul, jazz, and funk. For example, he sampled chopped up seminal electro-acoustic music from the 1960s on the track “Mental Stamina” by Jeru the Damaja.

While producing Biggie Small's "The Ten Crack Commandments", Sean "Ditty" Combs used DJ Premier's scratches of the first three notes of "Valantra" by Les McCann continuously throughout the track. As CEO of Bad Boy Records, Combs felt he had unlimited clearance not only to the masters of DJ Premier's scratches of the first three notes of Les McCann's "Valantra" but the song "Valantra" as well. Comb's failed to seek proper clearance of "Valantra" and Les McCann has yet to be compensated for the use of his music.

Influences

In an interview with XXL Magazine, DJ Premier was asked how his sound evolved, to which he replied, "Marley Marl is my number one inspiration. Jam Master Jay, Mixmaster Ice and UTFO. Grandmaster D and Whodini. DJ Cheese, Grandmaster Flash, Kool Herc, Afrika Bambaataa. Jazzy Jay, even Cut Creator. Seeing them do what they do. It’s black music, it’s black culture, it comes from the ghetto. How can you not relate to ghetto people when that’s the rawest form of blackness? Even though it’s not a good place in regards to the economy and how bad people have it in the neighborhood, the realism’s there, and that’s what we were born out of. So I very much pay respect by doing the same type of music in return." DJ Premier attended Prairie View A & M University of Texas and may have been influenced by the legendary musical atmosphere at the university.[5]

Relationships with artists

The early line-up of the Gang Starr Foundation in the mid-90's included Jeru The Damaja, Group Home, Big Shug and Gang Starr. DJ Premier was fully responsible for the production of Jeru the Damaja's first two albums, The Sun Rises in the East and Wrath of the Math. Jeru released three albums since then, with Premier having nothing to do with any of them.[1] The supposed reason that the two are no longer affiliates is that there was apparently a financial dispute between them, and Jeru felt that Premier was cheating him out of his fair share.

As far as Group Home was concerned, Premier commented, "They don't respect what fed them," in a 2003 interview, going on to say that the only reason he produced a track on their second album was because Guru said he would rhyme on it.[6]

Besides the Gang Starr Foundation, Premier is closely affiliated with M.O.P., which he names as one of his all-time favorite groups. The relationship started with the remix of Rugged Neva Smoove in 1994, a single from the group's first album, which also included the exclsusive B-side Downtown Swinga. From then, Premier produced about 1/3 of the songs from each album as well as overseeing and mixing the projects. On its upcoming album Foundation, DJ Premier provided only one track, called "What I Wanna B."

DJ Premier has announced he plans on producing heavily on the 2009 released Royce Da 5'9" album Street Hop. He also is planning on launching his own Web site and is open to the idea of a Gang Starr reunion if Guru is willing as well.[7]

Premier has developed a close relationship with Christina Aguilera after producing five cuts for her third album, Back to Basics, which includes the Grammy Award-winning single "Ain't No Other Man." He mentions her being like a little sister to him. Although he produced nine tracks for her fourth album, Bionic, none of his work will be featured on the final product. He is currently working with Aguilera on the soundtrack of her debut musical-film, Burlesque.

Discography

References

External links


DJ Premier
Birth name Christopher Edward Martin
Born March 21, 1966 (1966-03-21) (age 44)
Houston, Texas, United States
Origin Brooklyn, New York, United States
Genres Hip hop
Occupations Record producer, DJ
Instruments Drum machine
Keyboard
Sampler
Turntable
Years active 1984  – present
Labels Wild Pitch/EMI (1987–1990)
Chrysalis/EMI (1991–1998)
Virgin/EMI (1998–2003)
Year Round (2003–)
Website DJ Premier at MySpace

Christopher Edward Martin (born March 21, 1966[1] in Houston, Texas), better known by his stage name DJ Premier (also known as Preem, Premo, or Primo for short), is an American record producer and DJ, and was the instrumental half of the hip hop duo Gang Starr, together with the late MC Guru. Born and raised in Houston, he has lived in Brooklyn, New York, for much of his professional career. Rolling Stone magazine identified Premier as arguably Hip Hop's greatest producer of all time.[2]

The Source magazine named DJ Premier one of the five greatest producers in hip-hop history, while editors from About.com ranked him as #1 in its Top-50 Hip-Hop Producers list.[3]

Contents

Productions

Premier is known for producing the majority of Gang Starr's songs as well as many of the Gang Starr Foundation's songs as well. Premier has collaborated with MC Jeru the Damaja, and the album The Sun Rises in the East, released in 1994, as well as the 1996 follow-up, Wrath of the Math.[1] Also from the Gang Starr Foundation, Premier produced and supervised Group Home's Livin' Proof; although overlooked at the time of its 1995 release, the album has since come to find similar acclaim.[clarification needed][1] Among others in that are closely tied to the Gang Starr Foundation who have worked with DJ Premier include Afu Ra, Krumb Snatcha, Big Shug, Smiley the Ghetto Child, and NYGz.

Samples

DJ Premier's style of production epitomizes the New York sound of his earlier peers. He is known for sampling jazz, funk, and soul artists, as well as sampling an artist's past work when creating a new track for that same artist. In addition, his encyclopedic memory of hip-hop lyrics allows him to distinctively speak with his hands by scratching in lyrics from several different songs to construct new phrases.[4] Premier's beats are known for his oft-imitated combinations of short vocal samples, often from multiple artists, to create a chorus. For example, in the chorus of Mos Def's "Mathematics," Premier cuts the following in quick succession:

"The Mighty Mos Def" (from Mos Def's "Body Rock"),
"It's simple mathematics" (Fat Joe from Big Pun's "John Blaze"),
"Check it out" (Lady of Rage from Snoop Dogg's "For All My Niggaz & Bitches"),
"I revolve around science" (from Ghostface Killah's verse on Raekwon's "Criminology"),
"What are we talking about here" (from the movie Ghostbusters Said by William Atherton's Character),
"Do your math" (from Erykah Badu's "On & On"), and
"One, two, three, four" (from James Brown's "Funky Drummer")

Note, however, that Premier has experimented extensively with atonal samples that are not confined to soul, jazz, and funk. For example, he sampled chopped up seminal electro-acoustic music from the 1960s on the track “Mental Stamina” by Jeru the Damaja.

Influences

In an interview with XXL Magazine, DJ Premier was asked how his sound evolved, to which he replied, "Marley Marl is my number one inspiration. Jam Master Jay, Mixmaster Ice and UTFO. Grandmaster D and Whodini. DJ Cheese, Grandmaster Flash, Kool Herc, Afrika Bambaataa. Jazzy Jay, even Cut Creator. Seeing them do what they do. It’s black music, it’s black culture, it comes from the ghetto. How can you not relate to ghetto people when that’s the rawest form of blackness? Even though it’s not a good place in regards to the economy and how bad people have it in the neighborhood, the realism’s there, and that’s what we were born out of. So I very much pay respect by doing the same type of music in return." DJ Premier attended Prairie View A & M University of Texas and may have been influenced by the musical atmosphere at the university.[5]

Relationships with artists

The early line-up of the Gang Starr Foundation in the mid-'90s included Jeru The Damaja, Group Home, Big Shug and Gang Starr. DJ Premier was fully responsible for the production of Jeru the Damaja's first two albums, The Sun Rises in the East and Wrath of the Math. Jeru released three albums since then, with Premier having nothing to do with any of them.[1]

As far as Group Home was concerned, Premier commented, "They don't respect what fed them," in a 2003 interview, going on to say that the only reason he produced a track on their second album was because Guru said he would rhyme on it.[6]

Besides the Gang Starr Foundation, Premier is closely affiliated with M.O.P., which he names as one of his all-time favorite groups. The relationship started with the remix of Rugged Neva Smoove in 1994, a single from the group's first album, which also included the exclusive B-side Downtown Swinga. From then, Premier produced about 1/3 of the songs from each album as well as overseeing and mixing the projects. On M.O.P.'s 2009 released Foundation album, DJ Premier provided only one track, called "What I Wanna B."

Recent Projects

He mentioned that he would be open to a Gang Starr reunion, but Guru died a few months later.[7]

DJ Premier has his own record company named Year Round Records. Among its artists are New York group NYGz, New Jersey rapper Nick Javas, New York rapper Blaq Poet, and Houston rapper Khaleel. The most recent album released was Tha Blaqprint by Blaq Poet which has thirteen Premier productions. At the moment Year Round plans to release an album fully produced by DJ Premier with the NYGz tenatively called Hustla's Union: Local NYG along with an Nick Javas album named Destination Unknown.

DJ Premier hosts a weekly 2 hour show Live From HeadQCourterz on SIRIUS Satellite Radio's Hip-Hop Nation.

Collaborative projects with KRS-One (Return of the Boom Bip) and Pete Rock are also expected for a 2010 release. Premier also confirmed that one of his beats will appear on Kanye West's Dark Twisted Fantasy album and Kanye may seek out two more.[1]

Discography

References

External links








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