Pete Rock & DJ Premier Compare Stories On Producing Jay Z, Nas & Biggie (Video)
DJ Premier and Pete Rock are reportedly working on a joint album. The two producers have shared credits, each producing classic singles for Nas’ Illmatic. They’ve also positioned tracks alongside one another on LPs by Heavy D & The Boyz, Rakim, and Non-Phixion, among others. Even when they compete, the respect is deep. When DJ Premier enlisted a remix for Jeru The Damaja’s “You Can’t Stop The Prophet,” Pete Rock was his choice.
Often performing shows together (themed as battles), Pete Rock and DJ Premier appeared on Drink Champs. N.O.R.E. & DJ EFN (who have each worked with these artists) interviewed the two icons of production, DJ’ing, and album-making for two hours.
The casual discussion over shots spans highlights from each man’s career. At 1:09:00, Preemo explains why there is a flaw-turned-flare in the instrumental to Gang Starr’s “DWYCK.” Early in the discussion, he recalls the story of meeting Guru. Right after, P.R. details being captivated by the voice of his group partner, C.L. Smooth.
Around the 20:00 mark, Pete explains working with Kanye West in recent years. He remembers getting pulled over by police (and let go) while speeding through the islands with ‘Ye and Kid Cudi in 2010. Moreover, Pete admits he had to pull him self over when Young Guru played him Jay Z’s verse on the Watch The Throne version of “The Joy.” Elsewhere, Preemo details his mid-1990s work with Hov’.
At 1:04:00, N.O.R.E. asks the guests if they ever did production for the money above the love of the art. Preemo recalls being reluctant to work with Limp Bizkit when asked. He says hearing Method Man on “N 2 Gether Now” raised an eyebrow. Then, learning that band front man Fred Durst was willing to do as many takes, accept all guidance, and come to D&D Studios (alone) sealed the deal. The Gang Starr artist also reveals that the Interscope Records check was one of the largest he ever received.
On the subject of recruiting, Pete Rock opens up about Biggie. For those who have thought the official “Juicy (Remix),” the B-side to the Preemo-helmed “Unbelievable” was the “demo” original, think again. Pete admits that Biggie selected several joints when he and Puffy visited his basement pre-production studio in the early ’90s (one beat became 1994’s “In The Flesh” by Pete and C.L.). However, the only collaboration was Pete’s remix, made after the Puffy-produced original. “The Chocolate Boy Wonder” does however confirm that he played Biggie a track that was built around Mtume’s “Juicy Fruit” (the same sample). Following last week’s The Breakfast Club interview, Preemo details his own early dealings with The Notorious B.I.G.
These two living legends have more than 50 years of mastery combined. This discussion is a rare opportunity to see four music industry peers kick it, and reminisce.