What's good guys? This is My My for Hip Hop since 1987. We are uptown at La Marina for the Remy Martin producer's event and right here with me is the legendary DJ Premier. How are you doing Primo? There are a lot of up and producers here today. What is the one piece of advice you would give to these up and coming producers?
Premier: We always like to, at least speaking for myself and everybody that I've been with in the beginning of my career with Guru and Gangsta, [inaudible 00:00:54] Guru is to compare yourself to the people that you like. Everybody that I liked in the business, I wanted them to say I want to buy your record. You know what I'm saying? I feel like if I make it to the level where they want to buy my record, I've made it to a point of respect because I respect their music. Age doesn't matter. It is just about respecting how it touches my soul. When I did it in hip hop, to make a name as a hip hop producer, all the artists that I wanted to like what I was doing recognized me and told me they liked my stuff and wanted to work with me. That was the sigh of approval but that's how much people respect the music and the art of creating originality. We all borrow from everybody but at the end of the day, there's something that makes you stand out out of other people and I focus on that.
Maria Myraine:What is one piece of advice that has stuck with you throughout all your 20 plus years in the industry?
Premier: Be original and don't always worry about if everybody doesn't like it. Just, if you really feel it in your heart that it's right, and I think I have a very good ear, not everybody's trained for that but I have, then you do it and believe in it and eventually it will jump off. And if it doesn't, make another one and another one and another one and another one. Something's going to jump off.
Maria Myraine: Now the Remy producers event is in different cities around the US. New York in particular, I want to discuss New York hip hop. What do you think it would take for New York hip hop to get back to its own sounds rather than taking from the trash, down south music?
Premier: That is what I do. I'm not aga ... I'm from the south, but when I came into the business, the New York sound was what motivated me to want to do it. Then when I moved here, I wanted the music to still sound like the way the city feels and looks, so I still do that. That type of a theme music for the background of a track for the emcees or singers just to do their thing to. I'm still rooted in that era but again, I was raised on a lot of music before I rapped. I'm 50 years old, so I've been around before their was any rap records, any scratching, so I have a different respect for even what came before rap. A lot of kids now are born into rap and they miss studying the people that opened the door for them.
We studied everybody that opened the door for us and we respect everybody that opens the door for us. The only difference is, if you're from the old school or whatever school that came earlier and you want to stay relevant, still doing stuff, do stuff that your audience already appreciates and that will pop it off as long as you aim it to the people that made you hot. The people that made me hot, I still make it for them. Anybody else comes on from there, we welcome them too, but I don't do it for the ones I don't now, I do it for the ones I do know.
Maria Myraine: I think for me, a lot of the new up and coming producers, they don't use a lot of samples, and for me, I love a good sample in a hip hop beat. What are your thoughts on that because a lot of people say the art of sampling is dead?
Premier: We just came from the era of sampling. I mean, live instrumentation too was also involved, but it was just the records were just so pure and good that they couldn't front on it if it was just done right. Now the instrumentation is back in the forefront which is dope because we should all know how to play instruments if you're going to be in music. That is something to it but the sampling that I do is an art form. It is just not understood by everybody that doesn't do it. We pay homage to the ones that gave it to us, to be able to sample, but it's deeper than that but it would take way longer [inaudible 00:04:12] them. I'll explain when we do the Q & A.
Maria Myraine: I was going to say. Now, on the technical side, do you use a lot more of the drum samples or do you program your own drums?
Premier: I program my own drums but I get them from somewhere. Girl, you know I play the drum, but my own is just a sample of a kick snare high or look for sounds from records. Anything, just vintage or just something like a scratch in your ear where it's like, I think I can turn that into something. You just gotta kinda experiment and then kind of know. My whole mentality is I'm DJ-ing a job so that's why as a DJ I have a different approach than other people. Maybe some people approach it the same way and not as DJ's, but for me, everything is from a DJ mentality first. I make it the way it's something that I'd want to cut up, something I'd want to play it at a party or even if it's not a party, something that's geared to the audience that already appreciates what we do. True, hip hop a lot like Dave East a lot.
Maria Myraine:I read this thing he's bringing a lot of that New York stuff but he's also missing a lot of that down south.
Premier: He does a little of everything and there's nothing wrong with that because that's the sound of the day. I just don't do that style. I can do it with my eyes closed.
Maria Myraine: I am sure you can.
Premier: But I stick to what works for me.
Maria Myraine: This is a question that I always ask [inaudible 00:05:28]. If hip hop were a person, what would you say to her?
Premier: If hip hop was a person ...
Maria Myraine: What would you say to her?
Premier: Say to her. It's a girl?
Maria Myraine: Yeah, yeah. Didn't you have the [inaudible 00:05:34] song? [inaudible 00:05:38].
Premier: Okay, thank you so much sweetheart. I love you baby.
Maria Myraine: All right, thank you.
Premier: A big old smooch.
Maria Myraine: Thank you so much.
Gang Starr was founded in 1986 by Keith Elam (then known as MC Keithy E.) along with DJ 1, 2 B-Down (Mike Dee) and various producers. However, after putting out a trio of 12" singles on vinyl, the group's destiny quickly took on a different form —with the original line-up disbanding. Following the initial break-up, Elam then assumed the name Guru (Gifted Unlimited Rhymes Universal) and was sent a demo tape first introducing him to the raw talents of DJ Premier. The two began collaborating the same year they first met, with their 1989 debut record No More Mr. Nice Guy being created in a matter of 10 days and allowing them to begin securing their legacy as one of the most influential emcee-producer partnerships of all time. Following the release of their critically acclaimed debut, Spike Lee got wind of their track "Manifest" and promptly tracked the duo down, enlisting them to recreate a special cut of a jazz tribute poem by Lotis Eli over a hip-hop beat, with their track "Jazz Thing" featured on the soundtrack to the iconic director's film Mo' Better Blues. Gang Starr's catalog grew to seven studio albums over the course of 14 years, with each release consistently met with high praise, all while each artist further solidified their own respective careers. Gang Starr's classic tracks including “Mass Appeal,” “DWYCK,” “Full Clip,” “Royalty” and many more, remain an integral part of hip-hop's sonic history. In 2010, Guru passed away at the age of 43 after suffering from a heart attack, a full decade after being privately diagnosed with myeloma. From popularizing their jazz-rap style to helping solidify the beloved East Coast hardcore hip-hop sound, Gang Starr's authority as groundbreaking pioneers is permanently etched in the history books.