No introduction needed for one of the best to do it, DJ Premier !  His signature sound has helped define Hip-Hop and inspired the DJ Community World Wide. Rhettmatic recently had the chance to get caught up with our good friend DJ Premier/ Preemo after his show at the Yost Theater in Santa Ana.  Shout out to Keebler, Jeff, and the whole team at Headquarters.  Special big up to the Man himself Preemo, for giving us a ton of exclusive music for the Record Pool.  Make sure you go to our Record Pool section for the latest releases from DJ Premier’s own record label “Year Round”, and that Classic Premier Sound.


When did you know you wanted to be a producer?

DJ Premier: I knew I wanted to be a producer actually when I started reading the James Brown produced music. It always had a James Brown production. I did not know what a producer was, but it seemed like it fit what I thought it was once I became one. They must be the ones who are setting the whole tone how it is suppose to go down. He may not be playing everything; he may not even be playing any instrument; but he is going to be like “do it like this, or no no no, do it like that.” That is how I am, “put that there, and no that is in the wrong spot,” and it does not always have to be Hook/Rhyme, Hook/Rhyme or Verse/Hook, Verse Hook. Sometimes it can be unorthodox. You can do it any way, if you just feel it a certain way. That is why I like how James Brown says, “If it feels good, then it is good.” You do not want to follow a certain pattern; how does it feel when you do it? And that is how I do it! I do all my stuff organically and on the spot. I never knew about making beat tapes and stuff like that, and that just wasn’t me. Him (James Brown), Quincy Jones, Marley Marl is my all time Idol. I feel like he is the James Brown of Hip Hop production. It was just so funky with the records he made. It was just like, Yo there is so many great records, but he just had a style like so unexplainable. That is what made me say, “I got to do it!” Where somebody like him would say “I’m doing it right without being a biter!” No biting! We’re from the era where biting (pauses).. MAN!!! We saw many fights where people were going, “you bit my shit!” We witnessed beat downs over biting. Now you can sound the same and everybody will be like “yah, yah, just turn it up” and it’s like nah, nah, sound like your own self, so I can like your shit or otherwise your like a loaf of bread that doesn’t have a brand, you know what I am saying and I already got Wonder Bread.

Out of all the songs that you produced for Biggie, Jay-Z and Nas, which one is your favorite?

DJ Premier: (Exhales) Man! I like them all the same in different ways. I mean there were certain scenarios that gave birth to certain records. Certain Nas records were amazing, when we did New York State of Mind. Showbiz was there when I was cutting it.   Showbiz was the one who put me into D&D. He was doing a session with Lord Finesse remixing “Return of the Funky Man Remix” and wanted me to scratch. So I went there to lay my scratches and they had to leave. So he was like “Yo when they finish the mix, make me a CASSETTE” and I made me one.   So I hopped in my Mazda MPV and popped it in and it was just thumping. So I said “this is where I am going to make the next Gang Starr album “Daily Operation” at D&D, which is now Headquarters Studios.

How did you connect with Biggie for “Unbelievable?” 

DJ Premier: Unbelievable came about by, I don’t want to say luck. Ummmm it was by him (Biggie) catching me at the right time. I was really busy at that time. You know Pete Rock, Large Professor, Showbiz, and me. We were all so heavily busy. We would all see each other and be in the same circles of music. Diamond D you know. The whole D.I.T.C crew, all that stuff. We were around all that, Tribe and De La (Soul) you know even Mr. Cee and (Big Daddy) Kane. We were all in the same circle of parties and events of things going on. So we all talked to each other about what we were doing next.

So it was like a fraternity?

DJ Premier: Yeah, yeah! Like all the time. So BIG and them were younger dudes. Even Jay-Z was a younger dude to us, not a lot younger, but young enough where we were glad to see them be next chapter of them bringing it in right. And then they did it, and I’m so happy for their careers. All that stuff there was a time when you had to do it right to be given a thumbs up everywhere you go and a salute. Street music man! It could go as mainstream as you want it to, but it had an origin. And I like the origin of the purest form, which is dope beats, dope rhymes, and scratching.

You’re pretty much the innovator of the Hook Scratch?

DJ Premier: That is just from watching people. When Terminator X did stuff, when Jam Master Jay and Cut Creator and Bobcat and Joe Cooley and you know what I’m saying. Even (Dr.) Dre was cutting shit up back in the N.W.A, ahh the Arabian Prince, and World Class Wreckin Cru days.

Are there any young producers right now catching your ear?

DJ Premier:   On the young producer side, not really. Even though I study every one of them to see what they’re doing. I like the effort they put into staying in the game like the way we do it. The sound just does not grab me like the sound I was influenced by. I’m not being selfish or anything like that. It is just that I like what I like. So the newer stuff just doesn’t grab me.   I like some of the artists, I like J.Cole, I like Drake, I like….ah some of Big Sean’s stuff.   I’m not always into the production, but they got lyrics. So if we ever click, let’s get it in and I will give you a dirty one, but you know I just like raw lyrics. I’m from a certain funk! I’m a descendent of the funk! Like George Clinton and James Brown.

What is one song you wished you produced?

DJ Premier: I always say I wish I produced “The Bridge”  by MC Shan. That record with just the drum roll, the echoes, just everything about that record as simple as it was. I remember hearing it at a RUN-D.M.C concert at my college Prairie View. Dana Dane and Clark Kent opened up and RUN-D.M.C was at the ‘apex of apex’ and they came to my school during the “Raising Hell” time.   Like that was one of the most amazing things to witness, especially down there. It was one of the illest things; and when they were switching turntables to set it up and make sure the sound was right they were playing a 98.7Kiss mix from Red Alert, and I just started hearing, “Ladies and Gentlemen (beat boxing), we got MC Shan and Marley Marl in the house tonight (tonight) (echoes). They just came from off tour and they want to tell you a story about where they come from.” I was like, “what the hell is that?” I thought they were saying, “the breaks, the breaks, the breaks, the breaks,” and Kurtis Blow was already popular with “The Breaks” six years prior.   And I was like, “what is like ‘the breaks, the breaks, the breaks?’” I went to New York for the summer and went to a record store and I was like, “what is that record ‘the breaks, the breaks?’ and the guy was like, “nah it is ‘the bridge, the bridge’ and it was on Bridge Records.” It looked like a ghetto, gutter, hard record, the green label and Bridge Records. And then I already knew Marley Marl from Dimples D and Roxanne Shante‘s early music. So to see that I was like, “he got another one, but it don’t sound like a drum machine programmed record.” It sounded like the record (Impeach the President, by Honey Drippers), but how is he making the record loop like that? I did not understand that and I was like, “I got to learn that science. Whatever that science is I got to learn that because that is dope!” And that is what made me start doing it.


In Remembrance of Aaliyah Dana Haughton…

In remembrance of Aaliyah Dana Haughton, we have released a special “select” edit pack in our record pool.  Although her life was cut short in a tragic plane crash.  Her beautiful soul and angelic voice will live through her timeless music.   In 2008 “The Fader” magazine did a piece on Aaliyah by interviewing those who were very close to her.  Below is an excerpt from that article through the eyes of Missy Elliot.

Rest In Peace Aaliyah. 1-16.1979-8.25.2001


Me and Timbaland flew to Detroit. They was testing us out to see if we could make a hit record for Aaliyah, because she was coming off the project for R Kelly and I guess they wanted to try some new producers. We was kinda nervous because we hadn’t done records for any artists of that caliber, but when we first met her, she treated us like she knew us for years, like we grew up with her. She was always very sweet, always smiling and she made us feel like we was big producers when we didn’t have no record out. Even coming off a big album, she never once treated us like we were beneath her.

Me and Tim, our sound was so far left that it was kinda hard for people. They liked it, but they didn’t know if they really liked it, because it was so different from everything else on the radio. But the weird thing was, as soon as we did “One in a Million,” she immediately thought it was a hit. We didn’t have to convince her, she was like, “I’m telling you, this is hot.” I knew then there was a chemistry. She wasn’t close-minded. She was an artist that got it.

After that, we became family. She was my little sister and Tim was my brother. And we became the Super Friends! We felt like we was gonna save the world. We was gonna change music every chance that we got. We felt like we was gonna always be family. Forever.

I think when “If Your Girl Only Knew” first came out, people kinda said, Oh, she got a new sound. But then when “One in a Million” came out, the beat and the melody were so different from anything. I was in a club one night, the DJ took it back TEN TIMES, no lie. And this was in the middle of him playing, like, Biggie records and Tupac records, and here goes “One in a Million” in the middle of all this street rap! That’s when I said, OK, this is something different—we are going somewhere else, we are kind of switching the sound.

Sometimes when I’m talking to Ciara, we’ll bring Aaliyah into the conversation. I know that she would be somewhere in outerspace at this moment, because she grabbed onto the same mentality that we had: be risky. We always said we don’t want somebody else to do it before we do it, so let’s just take it there. How do you know that people are gonna like it or not if you don’t at least try it?

I never seen Aaliyah get mad. She was always so relaxed and reserved. I remember one time at an awards show, me and her and Tim went and got these outfits. I ain’t dressed like somebody else since junior high school, but we all got these Pony burgundy outfits. We was so mad cause we felt like she’s gonna win, and she didn’t get anything! And she was like, It’s cool. But us, we was like, “Nah, man, that One in a Million album was a classic!” But she was like, I’m just happy to be nominated. I never seen her go out of character. She was always sweet and caring and compassionate. Just a good person.

With the sunglasses, I think it was just persona. I mean, she was always a star, but when people can’t see your eyes, they really don’t know how you looking. Your eyes tell a lot, and by her covering them, they really never knew what her personality was. I think once she took the sunglasses off and got into her girl clothes, it was like, Wow, she’s grown. I think people started to feel like they knew her.

Even though she had the big baggy pants on, there was still like a sex appeal. She was like that round the way girl, cause at that time, you had a lot of females dressing in baggy clothes. She kind of related to the regular chicks but at the same time she had a sex appeal to her, so I think it translated. It was a mystique, and it gave her room to keep growing each album.

I still get guys that are like, I used to love me some Aaliyah or I got her on my screensaver. I think every guy had a crush on Aaliyah. If a guy tried to approach her, she was always nice, but you know, it wasn’t like, OK, I’m gonna call you in an hour! But she was always like, Thank you so much, and that was that. She was very focused on her music and her family, so I don’t think she really took to anything they said, until her third album, when she was like, “OK, I’m grown now. Maybe I’ll give you a call.”

Right before she did Queen of the Damned, she came to my hotel and she had these huge gold teeth from one of those comedy stores. I kept begging her to do the lines, and she was doin’ them with these big teeth that was sticking out of her mouth. And we just laughed and laughed and laughed, over and over again. That was my last, greatest memory because, like, she’s a clown! She liked to have fun.

I was in Jamaica when I found out she passed. Somebody called me, but there were so many different rumors on other artists like Luther [Vandross] and Whitney [Houston] at the time that I really cursed another artist out cause I thought they were playin. People were calling cause they thought me and Tim was with her. Then when they started saying this person was with her and this person and this person, I kept hanging up on people. But when I called Tim I could tell something was wrong.

It’s like losing a family member. It’s not like Aaliyah the superstar, the celebrity. It’s like my little sister. You feel empty, you feel in shock, you feel angry. That’s a feeling I can’t even really explain.

Most people look at her as an angel. That’s what she was. I’m not saying that because people feel like they have to say great things because somebody passed away. It is what it is. She was a sweet person with great, incredible talent who didn’t compromise who she was for the world. It was like: I’m gonna be a trendsetter, I’m gonna be an icon, even when I’m gone, you gonna always remember me.




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Peace Everyone,

You may have noticed in recent months that we’ve been very active on social media with our videos and merchandise. We’ve been working hard behind the scenes for quite some time….we know that you’re curious to see what the Beat Junkies have been up to. Well folks, here it is……..

We’d like to welcome you to our newly designed, revamped website. It took us awhile to restructure, as we’ve been working very diligently for well over year to get everything ready. As you can see, we are back with a sleek new design along with several new additions to the site….but for the most part it’s business as usual, Beat Junkie Style!

One of the new features here at that we are proud to share is the Beat Junkies Digital Record Pool. Yes. The Beat Junkies started an mp3 record pool, personally curated by us for the DJ community and music enthusiasts alike. Collectively, we decided to combine our experience as DJs and tastemakers to provide a quality music service for DJs apart from existing record pools in the industry. As avid record collectors, we are definitely looking to fill in the gaps and share some of our most prized vinyl records with the public – custom edited in a DJ friendly format exclusively for you! Our digital record pool is a monthly subscription service, and was carefully designed for Professional DJ’s looking to expand their collection and deliver quality multi-genre DJ sets.

For official Beat Junkies product and apparel, be sure and check out our merchandise store!

We’d like to extend our thanks to our contributors, web design, and our web development teams for their creative effort and dedication to producing a quality website on behalf of the Beat Junkies. And of course, a very extra special thanks to you, our loyal friends and followers for your continued love and support. We encourage you to browse through our site at your discretion, and as always, your feedback is appreciated!

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