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DJ Premier (Gangstarr) - conducted by James Campbell  

DJ Premier (Gangstarr)

July 2005

There is no denying DJ Premier’s status as a living legend of Hip-Hop. His collaborations with Guru, Notorious B.I.G. and Nas, amongst various others, have been fondly adopted as New York’s urban soundtrack for over a decade. And after all his time, Premier maintains that Hip-Hop is still “Viagra.”

MVRemix: You’re coming out to Australia in September for the Bugg’n tour, are you looking forward to the trip?

DJ Premier: No doubt, I’ve been just that one time with Gangstarr [to Australia] and it was a really beautiful experience to see the crowd so into Hip-Hop, it was really dope!

MVRemix: For the people that haven’t witnessed you live before, what can they expect when they see you perform on the tour?

DJ Premier: I just give them real music man, I do classic hip hop and I also do a session of classic records that I grew up on. I was inspired by all the great ones when I was a kid; Al Green, Aretha Franklin and Run DMC.

MVRemix: Do you still enjoy touring around the world or has it taken its toll?

DJ Premier: Nah, you got to love what you do. I’m inspired by seeing the rest of the world and seeing how far our music has gone. I’m used to the crowds here in the US but to go to Australia and get the same type of love from the crowds is a beautiful feeling.

MVRemix: What’s going on with you and Guru, is there a future for Gangstarr?

DJ Premier: Gangstarr’s always going to be Gangstarr. We’ve always taken what you call “creative space” where we each do side projects and we’ve always done that. After we did Hard To Earn it took four years to do Moment of Truth. Then we did Full Clip for our ten year anniversary and then boom! We took another four years to put out The Owners. Right now we’re at a point where Guru wants to break-off and showcase projects, and I’m the same. Doing Gangstarr is a very easy thing and it’s also necessary because we’re a major part of the staple of Hip-Hop. It’s very important for us to keep doing our thing.

MVRemix: There is a rumour going around that you might be entirely producing Nas’s next album, is there any truth to that?

DJ Premier: I’m actually starting up with him, we’re going into the studio in a couple of weeks to work on his album. He asked me to do this album but I don’t know what his latest mind state is with that project. I’m going to start the project; I’ll do the first couple of songs to get the ball rolling and then the rest is up to Nas.

MVRemix: You have worked with some amazing artists over the years including Nas, Biggie and Jay-Z. Which artists have you enjoyed working with most?

DJ Premier: I’ve enjoyed working with Guru the most because we have a formula that can’t be matched by any group. We always make amazing records. Working with Notorious B.I.G. was fun and so was working with Nas. Before we do anything we already know how great it’s going to come out, so that’s the fun right there.

MVRemix: Is there anyone left in the Hip-Hop scene that you would like to work with?

DJ Premier: I wouldn’t mind working with Busta Rhymes on a joint. We’ve been saying that we’re going to do something. I might be able to get with him on this new album that he’s doing with Aftermath. I would like to work with DMX, too.

MVRemix: You’re regarded as one of the all time great producers and have made many classic tracks, is there anything left for you to achieve in Hip-Hop?

DJ Premier: Everyday I step into the studio there is something else to achieve, just the art of keeping it going. It’s like Viagra. People take Viagra to keep their dick hard. I just keep making beats to keep me excited [laughs]. Hip-Hop is my Viagra.

MVRemix: You bought D&D studios, what are your reasons for buying the legendary studio?

DJ Premier: For one, now I don’t have to pay for studio time because I spend a lot of hours in the studio which adds up to a lot of money. Now that I have the studio it makes me want to do more songs and more and more hours. 2006 belongs to me!

MVRemix: You have seen Hip-Hop change over the years. Are you happy with the current state of the scene?

DJ Premier: No, the current state of Hip-Hop isn’t that good. When things are not strong it takes someone like me to fix it. That’s what I’m doing right now. The studio was the first thing to do; open that and get some new equipment. The next stage is to put out a lot of music that can’t be touched by most artists that are selling records and taking our money from us. I have a lot of work to do and again that keeps me fresh and hungry, and ready to play the game. I’m not ready to take my uniform off.

Originally printed in "Rhyme & Reason" Magazine.

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"The studio was the first thing to do; open that and get some new equipment. The next stage is to put out a lot of music that can’t be touched by most artists that are selling records and..."