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DJ Premier | Interview

DJ Premier is arguably one of the most influential figures in hip hop history. Originally from Houston, TX, Premo is best known as a monster producer and one half of the rap duo Gang Starr. He has produced nearly all of Gang Starr’s tracks as well as tracks for countless groups and solo artists since the 1990s. Spending time between Brooklyn and Houston while growing up, Premier had learned to play a variety of instruments and also managed a record store. In 1988, he came into contact with Guru, a Boston native who founded Gang Starr a few years earlier and established a working relationship with Wild Pitch Records. The partnership of Guru and Premier as Gang Starr led to a formative debut album in 1989 called No More Mr. Nice Guy, with the featured single “Words I Manifest”. In 1991, the group released their sophomore album called Step In The Arena, followed by a third album in 1992 called Daily Operation. DJ Premier’s status as one of the best producers around was solidified after his production on Lord Finesse’ 1990 album Funky Technician. In 1994, Guru and Premier recorded their fourth album, Hard To Earn, spawning the duo’s biggest hit, “Mass Appeal”. In 1995, Premier produced the majority of Livin’ Proof by Group Home. Premier also produced three tracks on KRS-One’s sophomore solo album and two tracks on Hold It Down by Das EFX. In 1996, Premier produced the entirety of Jeru The Damaja’s sophomore album Wrath Of The Math, five tracks on Bahamadia’s debut album Kollage, six tracks on M.O.P.’s sophomore album Firing Squad, three tracks on Jay-Z’s debut album Reasonable Doubt, and one track on Nas’ sophomore album It Was Written. In 2007, Premier produced two tracks on Jay-Z’s sophomore album In My Lifetime, Vol. 1, two tracks on The Notorious B.I.G.’s sophomore album Life After Death, four tracks on O.C.’s sophomore album Jewelz, two tracks on Rakim’s solo debut album The 18th Letter, two tracks on Lady Of Rage’s debut album Necessary Roughness, and many more. In 1998, Gang Starr returned with Moment Of Truth, with guest appearances from Inspectah Deck, Scarface, G. Dep, K-Ci & JoJo, and M.O.P. A double-disc retrospective, Full Clip: A Decade of Gang Starr, marked 1999 as their ten year anniversary. Premier production with Jay-Z, Nas, Common, Royce Da 5’9″, Termanology, NYG’z, and even Christina Aguilera. In 2003, reunited with the album The Ownerz. DJ Premier continues to DJ and produce for top industry artists as well as many underground talents. In 2012, he released an album with Bumpy Knuckles called KoleXXXion as a follow-up to their 2003 collaborative album, KoneXion.

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