DJ Premier’s catalog is incredible. If he was only known for his work with Gangstarr, he’d still be considered a Top 3 producer of all time, easily. But the fact that he’s worked with everyone from Biggie to Jay-Z to Nas to KRS-One makes his discography pretty much incomparable. And we’re not talking about obscure cuts that lost their appeal years ago. These are timeless songs! So for today’s edition of The 10s, we present Primo Treats: 10 Classic Non-Gangstarr Primo Joints. We’ll probably have to do a part two and three to this because dude has worked with everyone we love and always comes correct. All praises due to DJ Premier, thank you for all the music you’ve given us. It’s our pleasure to celebrate the work you’ve put in. I guess right now we should start the show.
1. Group Home “Supa Star”
Album: Livin’ Proof
Sample Source: Cameo “Hanging Downtown”
Breakdown: Gangstarr Foundation duo Lil’ Dap and Melachi the Nutcracker release the realness on the first single from their first album (which was entirely produced by DJ Premier). All you punks, hear this.
UNT Quotable: "You can’t take money wit’cha when ya die." -Melachi the Nutcracker
2. Notorious B.I.G. “Unbelievable”
Album: Ready To Die
Sample Source: The Honey Drippers “Impeach The President”
Breakdown: Supposedly Biggie personally requested that Primo flip this sample, and even recommended the R. Kelly scratches on the hook. Who knew B.I.G. had such a good ear for production?
UNT Quotable: “If I said it I meant it, bite my tongue for no one.” -Notorious B.I.G.
3. Nas “I Gave You Power”
Album: It Was Written
Sample Source: Ahmad Jamal “Theme Bahamas”
Breakdown: Premier contributed one beat to Nas’ sophomore album, and he definitely delivered. And so did Esco, as he portrays the life of a gun and sets a new standard for concept records.
UNT Quotable: “Always I’m in some shit, my abdomen is the clip, the barrel’s my dick, uncircumcised, pull my skin back and cock me, I bust off when they unlock me.” -Nas
4. Jay-Z “D’Evils”
Album: Reasonable Doubt
Sample Source: Allen Toussaint “Go Back Home”
Breakdown: Signature scratches and a perfect sample structure give Jigga just what he needs to tell his story of how having money and power changes everything.
UNT Quotable: “We used to fight for building blocks, now we fight for blocks with buildings that make a killing.” -Jay-Z
5. D’Angelo “Devil’s Pie”
Album: Belly (Soundtrack)
Sample Source: Teddy Pendergrass “And if I Had”
Breakdown: This song first appeared in the movie Belly, and later on D’s second album Voodoo. It’s actually pretty cool to hear Primo produce a hard R & B record. We’re not mad at this at all.
UNT Quotable: “WIth 85 dumb and blind, there can be no compromise.” -D’Angelo
6. CNN “Invincible”
Album: The Reunion
Sample Source: Jimmie and Vella “Hey Boy Over There”
Breakdown: The invincible, untouchable, CNN return (after Capone’s bid) to make their second album together. And with Premier on the boards for their first single, it’s clear that this Queens tag team is still in tact.
UNT Quotable: “Spit gutter on a Primo beat, for the love of the street.” -Capone
7. The LOX “Recognize”
Album: We Are The Streets
Sample Source: Edwin Starr and Blinky “Sweet Joy of Life”
Breakdown: The hardest rap group in the streets links with the hardest producer on the beats. Don’t get it twisted, y’all.
UNT Quotable: “I know y’all couldn’t wait to hear ‘Kiss over Premier, kill you on tape then watch it over a beer.” -Jadakiss
8. O.C. “My World”
Sample Source: Barry White “Killer’s Lullaby”
Breakdown: O.C. drops jewels for his competitors and foes to due the knowledge to.
UNT Quotable: “Microphone fiend, I make beats do backflips.” -O.C.
9. Devin The Dude “Doobie Ashtray”
Album: Just Tryin’ ta Live
Sample Source: Miriam Makeba “Quit It”
Breakdown: Damn, someone did Devin dirty and dipped off with his doobage.
UNT Quotable: "Somebody had the nerve to take the herb up out my doobie ashtray, why’d they do me that way?" -Devin The Dude
10. KRS-One “Rappaz R. In Dainja”
Sample Source: Jaco Pastorius and Bob Herzog “Come On, Come Over”
Breakdown: Primo did six songs on KRS-One’s first solo LP Return of the Boom Bap, and contributed a few more to his follow-up self titled album, including this one which sets it off. When KRS is in house, oh my god, danger!
UNT Quotable: “Kickin’ rhymes ‘til I wrinkle, and my brown eyes twinkle, God-core hip hop for the nine-cinco.” -KRS-One
words by @stanipcus / mix by @unitedcrates