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Producer In The Spotlight: DJ Premier
By Clayton Ruley

When asked about who is the best producer in the rap game most would say the Neptunes, Mannie Fresh, Kanye West, and Just Blaze among others. These are the guys with heavy rotation on the radio wave and heavy demand on the market right now. For me thought I’d be unrealistic if I didn’t say DJ Premier of Gangstarr. Besides producing all of Gangstarr albums, Premier has executive produced albums acts like Group Home, M.O.P., and Jeru The Damaja. When you add that with the multiple hot tracks he did for people like The Notorious B. I. G., Big L, Jay Z, and Nas you know he is considered one of the best. Premier beats are similar in style but never the same: the thumping beat followed usually by the trademark scratching of a significant phrase, hook or the artist name. He usually produces for the so called “underground artists”, those who talk more about the struggle and how to get by it than those who glorify it on a daily basis, but recently he has worked outside his core of usual rappers working with among other groups: alternate rock band Limp Bizkit and Los Angeles rappers Dilated Peoples. So for those who want to catch up with the World of Mart and DJ Premier’s signature style go cop all the Gangstarr albums (Hard To Earn being my favorite) and if you have the time, do some investigation and listen to these songs.

• Unbelievable, Notorious B. I. G., Ready To Die: “Biggie Smalls is the illest!”
• Ebonics, Big L, The Big Picture: “It just the way that I talk yo, vocabulary skills I’m ill”
• The Sixth Sense, Common, Like Water For Chocolate: “this is rap for the real people”
• Success, Fat Joe, Jealous One’s Envy: “hustlin’ is the key to success”
• Mathematics, Mos Def, Black On Both Sides: “It’s simple mathematics, check it out”
• Outta Here, KRS-One, Return Of The Boom Bap: “down wit the sound called BDP”
• D’Evils, Jay Z, Reasonable Doubt: “a secret society trying to keep their eyes on me”
• I Gave You Power, Nas, It Was Written: “I gave you power, I made you buckwild”
• Come Clean, Jeru the Damaja, The Sun Rises In The East: “heads up, cuz we dropping some s__t”
• War Games, O. C., Jewelz: says it all
• Seen It All, Screwball, Y2K: “Basically over”
• Pass The Mic, Rakim, The 18th Letter: Two of the illest ever collaborate for one banger

Of course this is just the beginning in finding out about Premier. There are many more songs to look for including work done for the LOX, Diggin In The Crates, and several more seldom heard and slept on MCs.

Any songs I should have put on the list any questions, comments, and suggestions. Feel free to email me at, One!

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