D’Angelo & DJ Premier Cooked Up This Remix Years Before They Made Devil’s Pie (Audio)
In 1998, D’Angelo cut up a slice of “Devil’s Pie” with Gang Starr’s DJ Premier. The metaphoric groove appeared in Belly (and its soundtrack), and also on the Virginia singer’s sophomore LP, Voodoo. The beat that Canibus reportedly passed on became just the injection the man born Michael Archer hoped to score.
However, while that moment may have been some catalytic magic in Jimi Hendrix’s old Electric Ladyland Studios in Manhattan (as DJ Premier detailed for Ambrosia For Heads in 2016), it was not the first time the pair were attached by song. Following D’Angelo’s 1995 debut, Brown Sugar, a plethora of remixes were recorded. From Erick Sermon to Da Beatminerz, Tribe’s Ali Shaheed Muhammad to Erick Sermon, lots of Hip-Hop giants were getting down with the EMI Records artist. Gang Starr was also on that record label. DJ Premier was called upon to remix video single “Me And Those Dreamin’ Eyes Of Mine.” The producer who had recently jammed with Jazz offshoot Buckshot Lefonque agreed. Although the “Two Way Street Mix” was a universe apart from Preem’s work with Guru, Biggie, or Nas, it still has those drums that were the perfect filthy juxtaposition to D’Angelo’s cool croon.
In fast time, D’Angelo was Hip-Hop’s go-to male feature. He would rock with Method Man, Slum Village, Common, and A Tribe Called Quest, among others. He also became a Soulquarians fixture in the years that followed.
As part of the extensive reissue to Brown Sugar (releasing August 25), the first remix received proper online release. Two masters of the art make an early connection that set the table for great things to come.
#BonusBeats: “Cruisin’ (Who’s Foolin’ Who Remix)”:
“Brown Sugar (Incognito Molasses Remix)”: