When you ask hip-hop heads who the greatest producer of all time, there are certain names that never fail to come up. Dr. Dre. RZA. The Neptunes. Timbaland. And of course, DJ Premier. The king of the turntables has enjoyed a long, successful and acclaimed career, working with more artists than one can keep track of. While he never strays too far from his signature sound, there’s something undeniable about that classic Primo vibe, with scratches, samples, and boom-bap drums. Boasting a catalog of collaborations with Jay-Z, Biggie, Nas, Royce Da 5’9″, Gang Starr, The Lox, and dozens more, it’s no surprise that Primo has as many stories as he does beats.
In an in-depth interview with Genius, DJ Premier went in depth about his career, coming through with some cool anecdotes and insight. The conversation kicks off with a tough question – what’s the greatest Premier beat? And while his disciples will no doubt swear by different answers, the man himself gave special mention to Gang Star’s “Mass Appeal,” Mos Def’s “Mathematics,” and Jeru’s “Come Clean.” However, he makes it clear that the majority of his tracks have memories attached to them, which might influence his verdict.
About halfway through, Premier talks about his history working with Jay-Z, dishing on a few of the Reasonable Doubt sessions and reflecting on a time when Jay-Z was an up-and-coming, independent artist. He also reveals that Jay originally enlisted Primo to handle the entirety of the production on The Black Album, but that idea was eventually scrapped.
One of the more interesting tidbits comes from when Primo talks about his current group PRhyme, including his reaction to hearing Royce 5’9″ rap while sober for the first time ever. Somehow, it all began with Joaquin Phoenix inviting Primo to one of P. Diddy’s parties, and culminates in Premier having his mind blown by Royce’s take on the song “Phryme.” He also teases that PRhyme 2 is in the mixing stages, which bodes well for fans.
Check out the entire video below, and even if you aren’t big on Primo, it’s an exciting watch for anyone interested in hip-hop anecdotes.