Common & DJ Premier Reunite On A New Song

Over the last quarter-century, Common and DJ Premier have made magic together. In 2000, Premier was a guest within The Soulquarians ensemble for Comm’s benchmark Like Water For Chocolate album. On Comm’s fourth LP, Preemo produced the masterful “The 6th Sense,” which featured Bilal. The video single showed new range for the Chicago veteran as he was diversifying his sound and mainstream appeal.

In the years that followed, Premier and Common linked for a Sway & King Tech joint and a PRhyme collabo (alongside Royce 5’9). Preemo lent scratches to Finding Forever, on a song produced by Kanye West. That same 2007, ‘Ye also pointed out that his “Everything I Am” was originally intended for Comm’—which also featured the Gang Starr sound.

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In 2023, nearly a decade after their last encounter, Common links with Premier for “In Moe (Speculation).” The beat stems from Preemo’s Beats That Collected Dust, Vol. 3 collection from earlier this year. “In October, I posted a clip of me playing the “In Moe” [instrumental] vinyl on Instagram, and the comments went crazy. It’s currently at 4.4 million views. Artists like Busta Rhymes, Action Bronson, and Common said they would love to rhyme on it” DJ Premier noted in a press statement. “Common delivered a dope verse that same week. On the night of the Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame event, Chaka Khan went on her IG Live during her induction and brought Common onstage during her performance to do the Melle Mel verse of ‘I Feel For You.’ I called him the next morning to see if we could do a video at my studio while he was still in New York. We only had a short window, due to me going to 45 King’s funeral, and then to another wake later that night for my co-manager’s father-in-law. The energy was very positive that day, and we accomplished the mission.”

The video loosie (also included below on the Ambrosia For Heads playlist) released through Preemo’s To The Top imprint, finds Comm’ borrowing a flow and cadence reserved for another Premier production—JAY-Z’s In My Lifetime…Vol. 1 intro.

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A lotta speculation about the things that I said / Is he comin’ off the head? Is he that high level that his third eyes red? / I know we used to love it, is is true we really cared? / Did he become a great actor when Hip-Hop was dead? / A hungry Hip-Hop junkie, does he keep his people fed? / With a seat at the table, will he be like Chairman Fred? / Charge into the game or give Chicago crash / Our n___as get dough, is that just how they bred? / Carryin’ toast like a celebration / Why do they hate he, like a undeveloped nation? / It’s levels to this, mines is elevation / I excel, LL acceleration / My melanin is the fifth element, a gift to relevance / In the room like elephants,” Common raps.

Still in the song’s lone verse, Common also slides into a cadence he used over a quarter-century ago, on One Day It’ll All Make Sense and “Invocation.”Envisionin’ the here-after / Listenin’ to Lauryn Hill, on some Fugee s__t, I’m still scorin’ steel / Deep in the game, I want a KRS-One to know my name / My philosophy was prophecy before the fame.”

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The video features a mural by another esteemed Hip-Hop vet, DJ JS-1 as well as Topaz One. Common is currently at work in another reunion project, an album with Pete Rock.

AFH‘s playlist also features a Common collaboration with Vic Mensa, as well as new music by Mick Jenkins, NoName, Statik Selektah, and Griselda.

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#BonusBeat: Ambrosia For Heads‘ in-studio interview with DJ Premier for the 20th anniversary of Gang Starr’s Moment Of Truth: