Happy 50th Birthday DJ Premier!
For March 21st I can’t think of a more suitable day to celebrate the legacy of Hip Hop because today is the golden 50th birthday to one of the founders of Hip Hop’s golden era. More than a musician DJ Premier has been an embodiment for pushing Hip Hop’s culture to new limits and influencing his peers to new heights.
Originally from Houston DJ Premier moved to New York in 1987 and met an Emcee from Roxbury,MA named Guru and through their mutual respect for each other they became the group known as Gang Starr. In 1987 they released their first single “Words I Manifest” which featured an early DJ Premier with his signature jazzy vibe and cuts while Guru educates the listener that Gangstarr is not to be messed with.
“I suggest you take a breath for the words I manifest they will scold you and mold you, while I impress upon you” – Guru
With the success of their first single Gang Starr was able to drop their first album “No More Mr. Nice Guy” in 1988 which brought insightful lyrics and a jazzy boom bap sound that engraved Gang Starr’s lane within Hip Hop. As each album came out Guru and DJ Premier were able to find their lane by elevating their rhyme style and style of beats that produced 5 highly respected classing which including Step In the Arena (1990), Daily Operation (1992), Hard To Earn (1994), Moment of Truth (1998), and Ownerz (2003). While Gangstarr’s sound hey lay the foundation for Hip Hop’s Golden Era they also were able to give back to the community by building the Gangstarr foundation which allowed other east coast emcees to grow their careers. Through Gangstarr’s foundation DJ Premier was able to personally produce classic albums for artists like Jeru The Damaja, Group Home, Big Shug, Bumpy Knuckles, and many more.
As Preemo’s influence grew he was able to become one of the most in-demand producers and worked with with a who’s who in the Hip Hop world that included artists like Nas, Notorious B.I.G. Common, KRS-One, Jay-Z, Rakim, and much much more. While some might say that Hip Hop is a young man’s sport Premier has proven that it’s anything but. He’s been able to grow outside of Hip Hop with artists like Christina Aguilera, Alicia Keys and D’Angelo while still maintaining his roots by blossoming the young careers of artists like Joey Bada$$ and A-F-R-O, Mac Miller, and others. He’s also recently teamed up with Royce Da 5’9 to create the group Phryme which has received high accolades throughout the industry and he collaborated with Dr Dre on his most recent album, Compton.
“And this is for the real hip-hop niggas Who will never ever ever ask me am I here to replace Guru” – Royce Da 5’9
Because of DJ Premier’s talent and ambition he’s become a legend in an industry that’s more unstable then being the Cleveland Browns starting QB, More importantly, he’s been even more selfless in giving back to the culture by establishing dozens of legends their own careers,
a countless amount of Emcees their instrumentals for the demo tapes, and an inspiration to music producers to always push their boundaries.
I for one can’t be more thankful to Christopher Martin aka DJ Premier here’s to another 50!
What are your Top 5 DJ Premier produced tracks??
Happy 50th Birthday DJ Premier!