DJ Premier Recalls Nas & Big L Signing Their Record Deals Together (Video)
DJ Premier has been a part of many albums that are considered classics by Heads. However, few can equal the importance of Nas’ 1994 debut Illmatic. Mass Appeal recently launched a new video series where producers behind this magnum opus detail its creation and importance, leading up to the LP’s 25th anniversary tomorrow (April 19).
DJ Premier’s installment and the segment starts with the iconic producer disclosing that he was there when Nas signed the Columbia/Sony Records contract. “The eyes were on Nas at that time…big time. It was on him, and Big L too. Nas [was] obviously on a different scale, but Big L too.” Nas had appeared alongside Main Source on Breaking Atoms and released “Halftime,” and a few other features leading up to his debut. Meanwhile, Big L had worked with Showbiz & A.G. and appeared on his mentor, Lord Finesse’s “Yes You May (Remix).”
Preemo continues, “They had both gotten signed at the same time. I was there when they were both signing their contracts just [because] I was going to CBS [Records] just to pick up vinyl, ‘cause I was on the radio at the time. I was picking up my promos to find stuff to play for the mix show. So, they happened to be in the conference room signing their contracts.”
Big L’s debut, Lifestyles Ov The Poor & Dangerous was released on Columbia/Sony Records in 1995, nearly one year after Illmatic. A posthumous album titled The Big Picture came out on Rawkus Records, and subsequently went gold. Tragically, Big L was killed in Harlem the year before the gold-certified LP. Like Illmatic, It Was Written, and I Am…, DJ Premier worked on that album, as well as other efforts alongside L through Diggin’ In The Crates.
In the “Architects Of Illmatic” feature, Premier also divulges that the version of “Represent” on Illmatic is actually a remix. Preem’ admits that after hearing “Life’s A B*tch” and “One Love” (produced by L.E.S. and Q-Tip, respectively), he had to “update” the fan-favorite track. One half of Gang Starr then moves on to “N.Y. State Of Mind” beat, which he reminds that Nas had a hand in making.
Earlier this week, Nas and Mary J. Blige announced a co-headling 2019 North American tour.
At AFH TV a 1997 interview with Phat Phillie alongside D.I.T.C. band-mate O.C., there is that also finds the two MCs rhyming. We are currently offering free 30-day trials.
#BonusBeat: An alternative, “1993” mix of “Represent” credited to DJ Premier has circulated online for years: