Devin The Dude Reveals How DJ Premier Prevented “Doobie” From Burning Out (Video)

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Fifteen years ago, Texas MC/singer Devin The Dude released one of his most important albums, Just Tryin’ ta Live. From Rap-A-Lot Records, the album reunited Devin with Dr. Dre following a 2001 collaboration. Additionally, one of Hip-Hop’s other most revered producers, DJ Premier worked with The Dude on single “Doobie Ashtray.”

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In a conversation around Preemo’, Devin reveals how the Texas-born producer/DJ saved the record, which has since become one of Devin’s most beloved tracks. “[DJ Premier] heard the [Just Tryin’ ta Live] album before it came out. ‘Doobie Ashtray’ was a part of the album before it came out. And he heard it, and he liked the song. I actually originally produced the song [and] I used a sample in it,” says Devin about the demo version.

The two artists reconnected in late 2001, just weeks ahead of release. “About a month before the album was about to come out, he gave me a call [and said], ‘The album’s coming out? … is “Doobie Ashtray” on it?’ I was like, ‘Man, I can’t use ‘Doobie Ashtray’ man, because it got the sample in it. They won’t clear the sample.’ He was like, ‘WHAT!? Man, send me an acapella to this!’ So I sent him an acapella to it. Man, couple days [later he made a demo] and let me hear some stuff over the phone. I heard it, I was like ‘Ooh, it sounds cool! But…I don’t have no cuts. Where my cuts at, man?’ He was like, ‘Yo, you want cuts on that joint?'” The Odd Squad front man, who says Preemo had ties to his band-mates, challenged the Gang Starr legend. “He went back in the lab, and [made some incredible scratching].”

The resulting song would feature some of those trademark cuts that Preemo used with Guru, Nas, Jay Z, Biggie and others.

Just Trynin’ ta Live would debut at #61. Devin has never released the aforementioned demo version of the song.

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Earlier this year, Devin released Acoustic Levitation.