DJ Premier Presents... Year Round Records - Get Used To Us

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Premier more than holds up his end of adapting his "street deejay mentality" to the boardroom.

For someone like DJ Premier, releasing a project after 21 years in the game is a seemingly no-win proposition. Avid fans from the No More Mr. Nice Guy era can’t be blamed for having a difficult time appreciating anything that doesn’t remind them of vintage Premo. Younger fans may associate Premier’s name with Guru for their Gang Starr catalogue, and some may even recognize his more recent work with Common and Kanye West (“Chi City”) or Cee-Lo (“Evening News”). But the game has changed so much that they can’t necessarily be faulted for not gravitating toward a sound that may be older than them.

By most accounts, the goal of Get Used To Us was supposed to provide an outlet for Premo to take the “street deejay” mentality he perfected during decades with Gang Starr and at D&D Studios and bring it to the boardroom without having to cater to the Pop charts. It’s a difficult task, but Premier more than holds up his end of the bargain. His signature heavy basslines and custom drum kits are present along with the expected horns and even a few brooding organs for good measure. While tracks like “Policy” and “5%” purposely have a vintage, analog sound, nothing on the album seems dated. For audiophiles, it’s a welcome change of pace from synthesizer heavy, over-produced singles that aim to fuse Hip Hop with Pop. In fact, when you watch viral clips of Premier explaining how people such as 50 Cent and Jay-Z passed up his recent offerings, it makes you wonder what they found that was better than “Life Time Membership.”

Like any album that celebrates counterculture, you come in expecting a critique of all things mainstream. Yet it’s refreshing that veterans such as MC Eiht, KRS-One and Freddie Foxxx have better things to do than bitch about the current state of Hip Hop. Instead of a Stakes Is High approach to pointing out what segments of the current generation are doing wrong, you find the emcees celebrating what their generation did right. At its best, no one executes this strategy better than Foxxx on the nostalgic track “The Gang Starr Bus.” Even the eternally pissed Blaq Poet leans more toward self-reflection than chastising on “Bang Dis” rhyming, “I turn on my radio / I cover my ears I can’t have it / Where the fuck is Red Alert / Where the fuck is Mr. Magic / Shit I guess I gotta get with the times / My mindstate is ’88 / But my style is ’09…” It’s up to the listener to draw any conclusions about which approach is better.

One of Premier’s greatest strengths was always his uncanny ability to make pedestrian east coast emcees sound 10 times better than they did over other beats. While Khaleel and Young Maylay are respectively light years ahead of Big Shug and Lil Dap, it’s not an insult to say that Premo has given them a platform and a canvas better than any of the previous ones listeners have heard them on before. On an album that represents a brand of Hip Hop that has essentially become a niche market, they bring some intricate rhyme patterns and unique regional flows while still maintaining the overall theme.

Strangely, it’s not the emcees that are long in the tooth throwing things off balance by casting a critical glare at the new school. On “Sing Like Bilal,” Joell Ortiz rails against big label politics and the cooler than thou aesthetic of many current artists, yet he spends a majority of the song using the technique popularized by Drake of dropping similes which substitute an intentional pause for the word “like.” The irony, of course, is that Drake is the one often (and rightfully) criticized for his cooler than thou aura, and Ortiz is soon to also be entrenched in the “big label politics” of the Shady/Aftermath/Interscope conglomerate. None of this makes the music any less enjoyable. But it points out the difficulty in trying to recreate a bygone era in Hip Hop music, when listeners are seemingly bombarded by a new subgenre every six months.

If you’re a fan of the brand of tri-state area Rap made between 1990 and 1998, then one of the pleasant surprises of this album is that while Hip Hop music and culture has largely been about showmanship, the values of that time period seem strangely conservative by today’s standards. Premo sticks to a simple, but winning formula because he can, and having a label (and presumably a ton of leftover Christina Aguilera money) gives him the means to. It’s ironic that “Not A Game” finds Premier sampling Allen Iverson’s infamous practice rant. An inability to adapt his skill set to modern standards currently finds A.I. trying to execute his crossover on third-tier Turkish players. Meanwhile, Premier hasn’t blatantly crossed over, but he’s clearly been able to adapt his sound and remain relevant for the over two decades.

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39 Comments

  • Michael

    This is clearly an infinite gravitational time cycle formula, due to an operational A.I. explaining the chemical mentality of ghetto blacks.

  • Gold

    When is the cd/dvd gonna be released for this supposed to have dropped in Jan'11

  • Tidomann

    Preeeeeemooooo!!!!!!!!!!

  • jtruth

    "we have certain formulas but we update them with the times. the rhyme style is elevated, the style of beats is elevated, but it's still guru and premier. and there's always a message involved." -Guru, intro to "You Know My Steez" i think this is what the reviewer is trying to get at in his review of primo's latest compilation. but in typical hhdx review fashion, the crux gets a bit lost in meandering and muddled analysis (the a.i. analogy is especially forced & misguided; dude's in turkey bc his body and mind have been ravished by excess). if the reviewer wants to give the reader context, explain the appeal: to many heads of a certain generation, primo's clipped, chopped, and layered beats epitomize hip-hop's ability to create a sonic landscape that captures the dynamic and unpredictable rhythm of the street. and how it affects emcees: the emcees that rap over primo-produced tracks must confront that challenges that radio rap beats and choruses obscure. the rawness of the beats forces emcees to alter their delivery and upgrade their content (Freddie the Foxxx breaks this down on the "Lazy"). this forced adaptation explains why "pedestrian east coast emcees sound 10 times better than they did over other beats" (see: Terminology). these elements in the album under review: in the most important and critically valuable sense, this project remains true to the sonic hallmarks that have distinguished primo's impressive 20 year beat-making career. it doesn't aim to break new ground, but rather to provide a perfect set-up for the emcee who is skilled enough to deliver a perfected punch of boom bap. Verdict: The shit hits hard.

  • calibeatbox420

    Dope, nuff said. I HEARD THROUGH ANOTHER SITE THAT PREMO HAS GURU VOCALS AND SAYS THAT HE IS WORKING ON A NEW GANGSTAAR ALBUM........IS THAT WRONG OR IS DX LATE ON THIS NEWS?

    • AMAru

      it is true, preem stated that he got like 5 unfinished tracks, plus people from europe reached out to him and told him that they got some guru material that he recorded durin his 7 grand rec. days...

    • RiPGuRu

      Damn if that is true im going to flippppp thheee fuuuckkk outt

  • Tyrone

    I purchased it off of amazon. No record store markup, and all those damn middlemen to push the price up, and you can burn it to a cd. If I really like an artist I purchase their stuff. Can't wait for J Cole!

  • balls

    Another thing...DJ Premier is the MUTHAFUCKIN' MAN..You know why?? This dude has NOT CHANGED FOR FUCKING NOTHING!! His sound is the exact same as it was in the 90's. Fuckin amazing. Dude has stayed true the whole goddamn time. Now that shows true love for the art! Dude is crazy!!

  • balls

    Hahaha..DX calling this type of hip hop a niche market. And this type of hip hop, is the "real hip hop." Sadly, real hip hop is now a niche market. What a joke! To me, DJ Premier is the essence of real hip hop. His sound defines hip hop music to me. Without this dude, hip hop wouldn't be the same at all. Im tryin to find this shit on CD!!! Stop downloadin and go buy the music!

  • Tyrone

    This is real hiphop. Not worried about radio spins at high noon just straight fire. I prefer this over Kanyes' album. Don't sleep on this!

  • lonestar playa

    man fuck copin dis from itunes on sum real shit! im gittin the physical copy damn dis internet downloadin mess

  • cardan

    i like that real raw shit so i gotta wait n get this when the cd comes out. PREEMO'S THE BEST EVER. I NEED THAT NYG'Z ALBUM!!!!!

    • AMAru

      no doubt, the nygz album gonna be bananas, i'm excited for nick javas' debut too, the pete rock vs premo album will be insane as well...

  • DJJJ

    OHHH YESSSSS! PREMO is the GREATEST! Thank you for all your efforts in this hip-hop culture! FIRE!

  • DMV Dave

    Correction: Premo scratched on Ye's "Everything I Am" and Common's "The Game"[not to mention Black Milk's "The Matrix"] but did nothing on "Chi City". Best producer of all-time. Dre's the best album delay man of all time - so he gets the #3 spot. Marley Marl gets #2 [go google my expertise, ya booger eating brats!]

  • jack johnson

    Young Maylays Temptation, NYGz's Policy, Dynasty's Epic Dynasty and KRS 5% were the best songs

  • guru4eva

    is this in stores?? i cant find it at bestbuy!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Chase

    DOPE! when will people just respect hot music 4 what it is. doesnt matter what subgenre or what era the sound is. if its DOPE its DOPE. period. take of your blinders!!

  • ignitemindz

    listening to preemo on laptop speakers is a crime so ill wait til i can put this in the ride. My all time favorite producer.

  • S

    Premier is top 5 All-Time.....this official studio cd is well put together and truly needed because hip hop has been on the respirator for years!!!

  • Anonymous

    Here's some REAL hip-hop.

  • Articulate1

    The reason 'Preme has been relevant for over 20 years and is hands-down the greatest producer in the genre's history, is because his formula was light years ahead of everyone when he perfected it in '94, and he has stayed true to his role as the ambassador for raw, pure Hip-Hop ever since. On a diff note, the amount of typos and misinformation on this site is appalling. "Chi-City" was produced by Kanye and the cuts were done by A-Trak.

  • AMAru

    can't wait for the studio albums of YR's artists... this is just a lil' foretaste

  • ASEE

    Album is dope. Just listened through it - not a weak track nor a weak emcee. Premo keeps it in the streets. Respect.

  • ASEE

    So iTunes just updated this weeks album releases, and this record is not on there! What the fuck?!

  • FINESTMC

    Whens the new MC Eiht album dropping ? which way is west was suppose to be out what happen ? anyway dope

  • the.watcher

    damn I'm anxious for this album, Preemo brings the heat.

  • 718rob

    Dre and Premoer are the greatest ever. I like Nick Javas, but I think that Premier's best stuff is always with veterans. I'm going to buy this.

  • McNulty

    Primo is the greatest Hip-Hop artist alive, hands down

  • claaa7

    "Chi city"?? preemo had nothing to do with that song, he did some cuts on "the game" though but did not produce it. it seems like this won't really be released at all, rumours says that it's gonna be an exclusive on DJ Premier's european tour. fucked up the way it's been promoted but what you gonna do? at least we're getting to download it tomorrow according to premier's twitter.

  • Caucasian Rockwell

    can't wait for tomorrow.

  • Blanco

    Where can I buy it ? Release date tomorrow and still no pre-orders etc available...!?!? Is it even phsyical release or just download ?